x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Made to Measure: Men's fashion inspired by The Great Gatsby

Although written 87 years ago this week, The Great Gatsby continues to inspire audiences, not least through the fashions created for its 1974 film adaptation.

During this time, 87 years ago, F Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby, about the birth, life and death of one man’s dream. A poor runaway from the American midwest, Jay Gatsby worked his way up to New York’s high society, all the while dressed not unlike the manner in which Fitzgerald wrote: with elegant precision.

The book has been translated into 35 languages and continues to sell a million copies a year. A big-screen adaptation, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is currently being filmed and is set for a December release. Clearly, Gatsby endures.

In celebration of the book’s anniversary this week, select theatres in New York screened the 1974 film adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola which starred Robert Redford. As a first-time viewer, I was struck by the costumes designed by Ralph Lauren.

The designer wrapped Redford in classic 1920s clothing and added surprising touches consistent with Gatsby’s “new money” idiosyncrasies: suits in white, pale pink and pinstripes, candy-coloured ties, patterned silk scarves. Redford looked like a Fitzgeraldian fantasy.

Lauren captured the Gatsby of my teenage imagination, when I first picked up the book in high school and formed a precise image of the character in my head. After all, Gatsby “always looks so cool”, the character Daisy says.

Look 1

?Something Modern Gats would wear to the Côte d’Azure: a light cotton jacket and a bright orange sweater over a denim shirt with a matching tie. Complex but complementary.
Style tip: don’t be afraid to inject some colour, even when wearing business attire.
Get the look from: Paul Smith

Look 2

He’d throw jazz-fuelled parties in a pink striped monochrome number.
Style tip: go a shade darker as you layer one piece over another.
Get the look from: Simon Spurr

Look 3

In the film, Redford wore wide trousers, unacceptable in this age of slim-cut everything. Today, Gatsby would choose a subtle green trouser, paired with shoes that speak splendour.
Style tip: white always works.
Get the look from: Gant Rugger