This blog-post started life as a semi-frivolous but lavishly illustrated selection of men’s style movies for GQ (UK edition) in 1994. Since all ten films on this list are stone-cold classics, I don’t see any reason to update it, but I might add to the also-ran titles from time to time, if and when the fancy takes me.
10. TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (1971)
Take to the tarmac in ROAD MOVIE style. Go-go grunge in anti-design anoraks, too short trousers and Tex-Mex textiles, teamed with wild and woolly hats and the wonderful Warren Oates. See also: My Own Private Idaho, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Rebel Without a Cause, Drugstore Cowboy.
9. ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (1960)
Nothing like a bit of Italian NEO-REALISM. Alain Delon and co show those city-slicker Milanese what blue-collar country boys are made of: vests, sweatshirts, rugged knitwear, patched elbows, berets and yet more vests. See also: On the Waterfront, Ossessione, The Wild One.
8. AMERICAN GIGOLO (1980)
Richard Gere as the NEW WORLD DANDY. Come on down and show us your shirts! This is the movie that launched Giorgio Armani in the US. See also: Saturday Night Fever, A Single Man, The Great Gatsby.
7. BLADE RUNNER (1982)
Trip the future light fantastic in CYBERPUNK style: opt for replicant leather à la Rutger Hauer, or the Harrison Ford rundown raincoat. See also: Mad Max 2, The Terminator, Tetsuo, Highlander, The Matrix.
6. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1969)
Say howdy pardner to MARLBORO MAN in the original duster coat movie, and one of Ennio Morricone’s (many) finest hours. Black-hatted Henry Fonda strides out of the sagebrush to show off his rough, tough textiles and shoot a little kiddy in the head. See also: The Wild Bunch, The Long Riders, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Gunfighter.
5. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
Check out Cary Grant’s LITTLE GREY SUIT. Multi-purpose, crease-free, crush-proof and go-anywhere: spend a night dead-drunk in the cells, dodge crop-dusting planes, run away from exploding trucks, crawl across the face of Mount Rushmore and emerge unrumpled! For the little black equivalent, see The Blues Brothers, Reservoir Dogs and Inception.
4. A BOUT DE SOUFFLE (1960)
Go-go EXISTENTIAL with Jean-Paul Belmondo and his omnipresent cigarette. Let’s hear it for the jump cut, the chequered tie, the New York Herald Tribune and the fashion gospel according to the Nouvelle Vague: “You’re wearing silk socks with a tweed jacket?” See also: Le Samouraï, Orphée, Pierrot le Fou, The Rebel, Funny Face.
3. KING OF NEW YORK (1990)
Christopher Walken in Cerruti presides over killer-diller STREET STYLE: superdudes decked out in pimpwear, featuring chunky gold chains, baggy black leather, and sunglasses after dark. For extra pizzazz, pile on the ponytails and porkpie hats, gold teeth and a brace of pneumatic babe bodyguards, plus that all-important touch of sleaze. See also: 48 HRS, New Jack City.
2. THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957)
POWER DRESSING personified in the square-cut shoulders of Burt Lancaster as scumbag gossip columnist JJ Hunsecker. Prime accessories include pocket handkerchiefs, a manual typewriter, endless cups of coffee and a grovelling lackey (Tony Curtis) to light cigarettes. Heavy horn rims a bonus. Plus, of course, a possessive thing about your little sister. See also: Wall Street, The Godfather, Scarface, Casino.
1. THE CONFORMIST (1971)
Architecture and immorality. The incomparable Jean-Louis Trintignant models the essence of RETRO CHIC: fascism meets Art Deco and erupts in an orgy of spivvy Italian coats, sharp-cut suits and black leather gloves. See also: The Godfather, The Untouchables, Swann in Love, Chinatown, The Great Gatsby, Wings of Desire, The Fountainhead, In the Mood for Love.