An exploration of men of note, dressing well.
While splitting the actor from the character is an almost impossible thing to do, probably the most obvious sartorial choice from the acting fraternity with almost 6 decades of fine-dapper-wear is Bond, with arguably the biggest well-dressed cue's coming from Connery, Brosnan and Craig.
However, for our exploration we're going a little off-piste and while offering absolute recognition to Bond, are reaching beyond the obvious models and featuring the one Bond often only in receipt of a short page when digesting a history of 007 in cinematic production.
Our Bond stands out for his dapperness not only as 007 (the first), but also very much in all his other varied roles over the years, as well as any other flawless appearance that he made. The always impeccable David Niven.
Niven harks from a different era, travelling from B&W to glorious Technicolour. An actor both pre and post WWII, while in-between seeing service as a Lieutenant in the Commando's; Niven appears to have benefitted sartorially, both in service and leisurely, from an inherited smartness given of those times. Niven though, with a true sense of debonair, just took it all to the next level.. effortlessly swinging from tails and top hat, to a flawlessly cut suit (single or double breasted), from a roll neck jumper and jacket to a neck-tie with cardigan, from a bow-tie to a cravat, to a scarf, and all the while wearing a flower in his lapel as if there was no other conceivable way of dressing.
From a hey-day in the studio era, dapperly through 60's and sophisticatedly into the 70's it's hard to think of an occasion when Niven wasn't on form.
As well as never putting a well dressed foot wrong, Niven was style and charm personified with a wry wit. When at the 1974 Oscar ceremony and introducing Liz Taylor who was to present an award, a streaker named Robert Opel ran out from the back of the stage as a stunt; unfazed and as cool as a cucumber Niven remarked, '... fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings..'.
It's hard to think of another musician who is not only as synonymous with every modern incarnation of their musical genre you can name, but also undeniably to the fashions of each of those era's.
In music and in over 5 decades of Jazz, not only was he at the forefront of each new movement, he was the inventor, the pioneer and the leader of them.
He was as important to everything that Jazz was and was to become, as he was to 20th Century music. Inventing and re-inventing musical styles and movements, breaking rules and replacing them with master-pieces.
Bop, Blue, Cool, Electric; Fast, Furious, Melodious; Harmonic, Solo, Orchestral; Rebellious, Abstract, Majestic, Soulful, Funky.
Sartorially the Be-Bop era up to the Birth to the Cool was pretty much about a style of Zoot Suit, with tie and braces. The real iconic sartorial styling came with the closer fitted single breasted suits and tapered trousers on Chelsea Boots, around the time of a Kind of Blue; a look that was shared across the Jazz fraternity, seen really nicely amongst the Blue Note artists, with a raincoat or mac added. Davis moved around this style with finesse; in more relaxed wear opting for a fitted cardigan or jumper teamed with a scarf; or just a nicely fitted shirt with cuff's and maybe a cravat, stylishly at ease with the sleeves rolled up and with horn in hand.
This rolled into the 60's Second Quintet before hitting the slightly physchedelic stylings of the Electric period. Then came the fusion 70's, with funky flared attire and big sunglasses.. to shade the colours; followed by self-imposed exile in the latter half of the 70's until a re-emergence in the 80's with some big, puffy dressing!
In each, Davis was simply marking those fashions with the presence of his legend.
Kind of Blue, Miles Davis
Colourfully spanning 50+ years of painting, printing, photography, stage design, popular culture and art movement signifier. Declared in 2011 as the most influential British artist of all time and celebrated for his cultural impact by notables in fashion, music, literature, drama and so on...
Hockney is a pretty snappy dresser; a wearer of eye-glasses, suits, ties, scarf's, hats, pocket squares, braces… and pink rugby jerseys.
As a photographic record there's only a handful of studio based shots where Hockney, brush in hand, isn't actually smartly dressed, often with complementary splashes of colour from his tie or scarf, often in red.
Still going strong in the 00's with a variety of subject matter in his work and some truly, truly beautiful landscapes of the English country-side; as Hockney has matured his penchant for apparel has gracefully grown with him.
Colour, Style, Panache.
The Road To.. David Hockney
Dress with Inspiration.