Posted on 3rd November, by Colin Chapman in Film and fashion. 5 Comments

As ever, the moving image is a source of fashion inspiration. And as the past continues to keep us furled in its kid-gloved fist, there’s a steady stream of period inspired visuals to feed our interest.

First up is Tom Ford‘s A Single Man which I saw at the London Film Festival a couple of weeks ago. Predictably gorgeous to look at, from the mid-century interiors in California valley homes to the fashion styling, it also manages to affect and engage emotionally. Of course, starting out with a Christopher Isherwood story means working with the very best quality of raw materials.

Of particular note is an outfit worn by Nicholas Hoult (of Skins fame). An off-white mohair sweater with slash neckline over a Tattersal check shirt (one of my favourites) and WHITE jeans. Given the 50’s setting, there was something very prescient about the combination, of a certain European coolness, yes but also of Warhol‘s Factory-era bohemianism.

White jeans for winter are making so much sense to me right now!

The image here is the best I could find until the film is on more general release, (mohair sweater and checked shirt just seen). The mohair in particular had the front row hissing about “THAT mohair sweater” as the credits rolled. If you have a granny (or equivalent) get her knitting one for you right now.

Second up is also Isherwood-related: Alan Cumming‘s recent The Real Cabaret documentary shown recently as part of BBC4s recent and excellent Art Deco era season of films and factual programmes. In the telling of the story of the real Jean Ross, the inspiration for Isherwood’s Sally Bowles a gorgeous image showed Ms Ross in some amazing wide-legged pants. I’ve grown out of finding inspiration for menswear in womenswear but this was an androgynous exception. With her direct stare-you-out stance and rakish manner, this is about attitude not fashion details.

Finally, more haunting images from the same BBC4 season. After watching Beautiful and Damned I am now completely obsessed with Stephen Tennant and The Bright Young Things, having already loved Stephen Fry‘s earlier film of the same name.

This coke-toking, party obsessed, fashionable milieu is definitely in need of further investigation, looking like they’ve stepped out of a current fashion editorial, the men’s hairstyles in particular.

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5 Responses to “Screenspiration”

  1. Colin says:

    Hi Colin
    I Produced the Beautiful and the Damned programme for BBC 4. I am glad you got how 'now' the whole Stephen Tennant look is – I am a fashion-nut and was completely caught up by the 1920's androgynous-Dandy thing. Stephen Tennant is an incredible icon and has directly or perhaps even subliminally influenced so much of the most exciting menswear trends of the last 3 or 4 decades.

    I dug out some recent TopMan campaign photographs and the styling, and even the models looked almost exactly like Stephen. Definitely worth deeper fashion investigation that set, and that era!
    Cheers Colin Lennox

  2. Colin Chapman says:

    Hi Colin, firstly congratulations on producing a fantastic programme. It was evident from the whole production that the team involved completely understood Stephen's relevance and the show had such great energy.

    And as your TopMan finds show his look is definitely influential.

    Thanks for your comments – its always good to hear from fellow fashion and culture enthusiasts. I look forward to seeing more of your work,


  3. Isabelle says:

    Ooh, must watch this thanks for the link. I'm currently reading Harry Gordon Selfridge's biography. In it they describe some of the Bright Young Things having a treasure hunt, leaping across counters and going up and down in lift in Selfridges.

  4. Colin Chapman says:

    Hey Isabelle, yes I'm sure they had the BEST fun. In the programme there's a party host who was carried into their own fancy dress party in a coffin! Its long gone from iPlayer but sure you'll find it.. x

  5. E Wright says:

    I saw the Bright Young Things (Beautiful and Damned) last night on iPlayer. It was fascinating — a really well-made documentary. I really loved the music that was chosen for it, and wondered if Colin Lennox, or anyone else, could let me know what band plays the lovely slow song, with a beautiful, haunting trumpet solo, exactly halfway through the programme (around 30.15). I think the song is Stardust, but I don’t who is playing it — it isn’t Louis Armstrong, I don’t think. The tempo is too slow.
    Many thanks

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