Introducing: “Off the Cuff”

armsrevolution-

Greetings readers!

 

It’s been quite some time since I made a post, however I am returning to the blog to announce an exciting new series. Due to increasing constraints on my time, I am starting a series called “Off the Cuff.” This series will focus on individual outfits or characters from film and TV instead of taking a broad view of the entire work. Through this series I’ll be able to make posts more frequently than I would otherwise be able to.

But don’t fear!

“Off the Cuff” will not take the place of my normal posts! Rather, I’ll be able to better polish and perfect my normal posts, making them more detailed and more informative.

That’s all for now! Make sure to keep your eyes open for new “Off the Cuff” posts!

As always,

Take care and dress well.

 

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Introducing: “Off the Cuff”

Bond 24: Spectre

spectre 3.jpg

I swore I wouldn’t do it. As deep as my love for James Bond is, I swore that I would not review the clothing of his most recent film. Yet, in celebration of the DVD release of the 24th James Bond film, I break my oath and begin begin to write.

As some may know, I do not have a high opinion of the clothing from the 23rd Bond film, 2012’s Skyfall. The shrunken suits did nothing for Craig besides make him look old and haggard which, although that may have been the theme of the film, is no way for Bond to look. I had hoped that three years later, costume designer Jany Temime had come to her senses and decided to dress Bond like an adult. However, my spirits fell when I watched the film. Although the clothing is a marked improvement over the disaster of 2012, they still fall quite far from the near perfection of 2008’s Quantum of Solace.

Designer Tom Ford returns in this film for his third collaboration with the Bond franchise. Starting in 2008 with Quantum of Solace, under costume designer Louise Frogley, Tom Ford became truly noticeable in the Bond franchise with Skyfall. Now in Spectre, Tom Ford collaborated with Jany Temime as well as Daniel Craig to design and produce suits and casual wear for Craig’s fourth Bond film.

PTS suit 1

Just like the previous two films, the suits of Spectre are all identical in design and cut. However, Spectre sees Craig’s Bond wearing a three-piece suit for the first time since the tail-end of Casino Royale in 2006. Like Skyfall, the suits still suffer from being too small, but the error is much less noticeable in this film. From Skyfall to Spectre, the cut of the suit’s chest has changed. In Skyfall, the chests of the suits were much to small, resulting in the chest ‘gaping’ (example below). In Spectre, the chest  fits Craig’s physique very well and the ‘gaping’ is avoided. Aiding in this is the change in the buttoning style of the jacket. While Skyfall‘s jackets looked like a 2-button cut just because of how bad they fit (the suits were in fact three-button), the jackets of Spectre, like Quantum of Solace, are cut in a three-roll-two style. What this means is that although the jacket is made with three buttons on the front, the lapel is intentionally rolled to the middle button, which is the only one meant to fasten. The slideshow below shows the difference in the cut of the chest.

In addition, the shoulders of the Spectre suits fit much better than their 2012 counterparts. The shoulders of the suits in Skyfall were simply to small for Craig’s muscular build and, rather than making him look powerful or dominant as his build should, made him look weak and washed-out (again, maybe it was an intentional choice for the film). Conversely, the shoulders of the suits in Spectre are wider than those in Skyfall, making Craig appear more healthy and in-shape and, in my opinion, much more Bond-like. The slideshow below shows the difference in the cut of the chest and shoulders.

Another aspect to note is the change in collar style from Skyfall to Spectre. To accentuate Bond’s old and haggard look, Jany Temime chose a tab collar for Skyfall. Because Craig already has a slightly square jaw, the narrow tab collar does nothing for his face and,in my opinion, makes his head look just a little too large for his body. For Spectre, Jany Temime chose a more traditional collar much closer in appearance to those from Quantum of Solace, which were specially made just for Craig’s face. These new collars are a welcome improvement from those in Skyfall and contribute to the image of a Bond who’s back on top of his game.

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While Spectre‘s suits still suffer from too much waist suppression, which creates unsightly wrinkles, the quarters of the jacket are also more cut away than the jackets from Skyfall. This better accentuates the dramatic silhouette of the jacket without making it seem like the jacket is just pulled in too much in the waist. Unfortunately, due to the low rise of the trousers, a triangle of shirt shows beneath the jacket button and the pant’s waistband. While some sartorial purists consider this to be blasphemy, I don’t mind it so much. Like narrow lapels and skinny cuts, I think the trend for low rise trousers will leave in time. Until then, I don’t mind a small triangle of shirt.

Unlike the suits in Skyfall, the Spectre suits have four buttons on the cuff. In both films, Craig leaves the last cuff button undone. It’s a flashy practice that some abhor, but I often find myself giving in to its temptation. The trousers of the two films also differ. Although I thought the pants in Skyfall were verging on too short, Spectre must see Bond expecting a sudden flood. When Bond is standing sill, the pants barely brush the tops of his shoes. Any movement of his legs at all prominently displays his socks. The 2″ cuff on the pants is a double edged sword. While it does weigh down the hem is an attempt to prevent them from creeping up the leg, they also visually shorten the pants even more, something which they certainly suffer from.

 

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Two suits in the film stood out to me. While on a mission in Rome, Bond must disguise himself as an Italian gangster. Jany Temime chose Tom Ford’s Windsor cut for this costume. Perhaps the most striking aspects of this suit are the wide peak lapels, which starkly contrast with the slim lapels of the other suits in the film. In addition, the shoulder of the Windsor model are much stronger than those of Bond’s other suits. This gives Bond a very aggressive and commanding look as well as a strictly formal appearance. This is the only two-button suit in the film as well as the only suit without cuffs on the trousers, which was perhaps done to give bond a more formal look.

This is the first three-piece suit we see Bond wear in the film. The vest has six buttons with five to button and it has four barchetta pockets on the front. The suit is complimented by wide flap pockets to match the lapel, a ticket pocket, five cuff buttons (with the last left undone), and a single vent. He wears the suit with a white shirt with a collar bar and cocktail cuffs and black double-monk strap boots. The boots are a good choice to compliment the pants as their taller height prevents as much sock from shoeing when moving or sitting down. There is a white handkerchief in the breast pocket.

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About the suit, Jany Temime said, “Bond is in disguise and has to fit in with gangsters, moving in a daring way. The details in the shirt, the collar is more Italian style: it is Bond in disguise.” While her sentiment may be well meant, it is not entirely accurate. A collar bar is really more American than Italian and the shoulders of the suit are much more British than Neapolitan. However, the addition of the cocktail cuffs to the shirt is a welcome treat after they had been absent from the series for thirty-six years.

Sean Connery first began the tradition of wearing cocktail cuffs. Throughout his six Bond films, we wore them almost exclusively with all his lounge suits and odd jackets. Cocktail cuffs were utilized heavily by Sean Connery and Roger Moore during their time as Bond, but after 1979’s Moonraker they weren’t seen again. It is refreshing to see that Jany Temime decided to use the cocktail cuff in at least one ensemble in Spectre.

Bond later pairs this suit with a black bridge coat, driving gloves, a black tie, sunglasses, and an Aston Martin DB10.

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The second unique outfit that I’d like to take a closer look at is the Tuxedo of the film. For fifty fifty four years Bond has worn black tie in every film, however Spectre sees the return of a classic. One of the most iconic suits from the series is Sean Connery’s white dinner jacket from Goldfinger. Since then, we have seen white dinner jackets in six Bond films, the last being 1985’s A View to a Kill. Now, after a hiatus of thirty years, Bond has once again donned the white dinner jacket.

Jany Temime commented on this jacket saying,

“I told Sam [Mendes] I couldn’t do a better tuxedo than Skyfall. But then I thought Morocco deserved that colonial touch, a feeling of Casablanca where time stops and everything is so iconic….It was very hard to do better than the Skyfall blue tuxedo but I took my inspiration from Humphrey Bogart in the film Casablanca and Morocco. Daniel added the red carnation buttonhole and it looked absolutely sublime.”

The influence of Casablanca is obvious in the scene not only because of Craig’s costume, but also due to Madeleine Swann’s (Lea Seydoux) dress. I think this scene is among the best in the film not only for its content but also for its sheer visual appeal. The jacket is cut in Tom Ford’s Windsor Model (the same model as the previously mentioned Rome suit). The cut offers a close, clean cut with wide, bellied lapels and a slightly short length. To my eye, it also seems that this jacket is cut a bit fuller in the waist resulting in less wrinkles. However, we only see the jacket briefly before Bond sits down and engages in a fight so it’s very possible that I am mistaken.

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However, despite being overjoyed at the reappearance of the white dinner jacket,the jacket its self is not devoid of fault. First and foremost is the amount of buttons on the front of the jacket. A single-breasted dinner jacket should only have one button, however this jacket has two. It is not very noticeable in the film as Bond is seated for much of the film, but if this jacket were worn outside of the film the two button front would be quite apparent.

Although black and midnight blue dinner jackets are required to have faced lapels, usually in grosgrain or silk, white dinner jackets should be self-faced (no contrasting facing). However, the jacket from Spectre goes against this practice and faces the lapels in grosgrain silk. Again, due to the lighting of the scene this is not very noticeable, but in real like the silk lapels make this jacket look quite gaudy. You can see an example of this in the slideshow above. The host talking to Craig is wearing the same model of Jacket as used in the film.

The last complaint I have with the jacket is the vent. Traditionally, dinner jackets should have no vents. However, in the past seventy or eighty years it has become acceptable for the jackets to have double vents. This jacket has a single vent. Single vents are the most casual type of vent, originally coming from hunting clothes, and are therefore unfit for a dinner jacket. This mistake was also on the Tuxedo from Skyfall and I am beginning to think that Jany Temime likes the way a single vent fits Craig’s body or worse, she thinks it’s the correct vent for a tuxedo.

 

Overall, the tailored clothing in Spectre, although not as good as it could have been, is miles better than that of Skyfall. The give Bond a modern look and yet at the same time are still classic enough to fit in. The fabric and color selections throughout the film are, in my opinion, an excellent fit for the scenes. I think the clothes of this film greatly enhance its visual appeal and I hope that the costume designer for Bond 25 can keep moving in the same direction that this film started.

 

Bond 24: Spectre

Hannibal: Season Two

hannibal 2

This is my third post in a series of posts in which I analyze the clothing of the NBC series Hannibal. If you haven’t already read it, here is a link to my first post. In this post I will go over the changes of the suits from season one to season two. Please read my first post as it more fully details the styling of the suits, most of which is unchanged in the second season.

It’s been quite a while since my last Hannibal post, but fear not, I return now with my comprehensive analysis of the fantastic second season of NBC’s gruesome horror masterpiece. As you already know if you follow this blog, I recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. Antonio Pensato, the founder and owner of the bespoke clothier Antonio Valente. Antonio Valente is a little-publicized tailoring house in Toronto, Canada and in addition to many other film and TV projects, has provided clothing for the first and second seasons of Hannibal. My interview with Mr. Pensato was instrumental in allowing me to now speak with near-certain authority on many of the clothing pieces of Hannibal.

However, in addition to Antonio Valente, costume designer Christopher Hargadon also commission a couple items of clothing from the Toronto house Garrison Bespoke for the second season of Hannibal before switching over to them completely for the third season. Therefore, some of the suits in this post will have been made by Antonio Valente, and some will have been made by Garrison Bespoke.

I don’t plan on doing a detailed second part to this post as I did with season one. I doubt anyone other than myself was very interested in the fabrics and screenshots of the show are so dark it strains the eye to look at them. However, if you have any specific questions, just sound off in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. So, without further adieu….

The Suits of Antonio Valente

cream windowpane 1(Kaiseki)   grey check suit

red check flannel 1   orange flannel 2

Most of the styling of the suits in season two remain unchanged from the previous season. However some details have come to light due to the information provided by Mr. Pensato. While the basic styling of the suits remains the same (double vents, peak lapels, 2-button front, flapped pockets with a ticket pocket, single breasted vest), some details do fluctuate. For example, some suits in both seasons one and two have four cuff buttons, whereas other suits have five cuff buttons. Also, some suits were made with straight pockets and others with slanted pockets.  Although the reasoning behind these decisions is beyond me, Mr. Pensato explained that the decision can be based on any number of factors, from the fabric of the suit to the lighting of the scene, to the height of the other actors.

Season two brings us a new design of waistcoat from Antonio Valente. Altough the five button vests seen in season one do make many appearances, there are three suits that are made with a double breasted vest.

tartan suit 4    tartan suit 3

The vests are made in a 6×3 fastening pattern where the buttons are angled outward creating a “V” formation. A unique aspect of these vests is that they are made with what appears to be a shawl collar. However, upon closer inspection, there is actually a small notch near the shoulder seam (see the photo above). I wish these vests were made with a true shawl collar, but since the notch is only visible when worn sans-jacket, I don’t mind it too terribly. The vests are cut with a straight bottom.

With the exception of the peak lapels, an almost identical vest to the one Mikklesen wears throughout season two.

A vest with a similar button arrangement as those in season two.

Another detail of note is the inclusion of contrasting buttonholes on some of the flannel suits in this series. Below is a photo of a flannel suit from the episode Futamono. Notice the lapel buttonhole is made in a light blue thread, which echoes the blue in the suit fabric.

tartan suit 2 (futamono)

Other than these two details, the suits remain relatively unchanged from season one. Overall, by my reckoning, Antonio Valente made twenty suits for season two, however some may have been carried over from the first season. In addition, the styling of the suits from Antonio Valente and Garrison Bespoke is very similar and in some cases it is very difficult to tell which maker made what suit. Because of this I may have accredited some suits to Antonio Valente which were made by Garrison Bespoke or vice-versa. According to Antonio Pentosa, there were a few multiples made but “just one or two.”

The Suits of Garrison Bespoke

garrison suit 1    garrison suit 2.2

medium brown suit 3 (Su-Zakana)    yellow suit 1 (yakimono)

Garrison Bespoke is another high-quality bespoke clothier located in Toronto. Brought on in the second season of Hannibal, Garrison Bespoke became the lead costume maker for the third season.  The main details of the suits are identical to the those made by Antonio Valente, but a few minor details are quite different if you know where to look.

garrisln suit 1.2    blue stripe 1 (Hassun)

As you can see in the photos above, the shape of the lapel is very different between the suits made by Garrison Bespoke (left) and the suits made by Antonio Valente (right). Antonio Valente makes a very sharp peak which extends quite far beyond the collar. Garrison Bespoke, on the other hand, makes a peak which is more rounded and barely extends beyond the collar.

Another detail, not visible in these photos, is the shape of the breast pocket. Antonio Valente makes a breast pocket that curves up at the end, sometimes called a Barchetta pocket, whereas Garrison Bespoke makes their pockets straight.

barchetta pokcet
A Barchetta pocket. Notice how it curves up toward the shoulder.
garrison suit 2
A normal straight pocket on a suit by Garrison Bespoke

One thing you may have noticed fro the previous photo is that one of the suits by Garrison Bespoke is made in a 3-roll-2 style. What this means is that the jacket is cut as if it were a 3-button suit, however when the lapel is pad stitched, it is rolled to the second button so the silhouette is that of a 2-button suit.

 The creation of this style is accredited to American Ivy League schools. When the 3-button jacket began to wane in popularity and the 2-button jacket became fashionable, many students at these universities, rather than by all new clothes, had their tailors press their 3-button jackets as if they were 2-button jackets. This lead to the creation of the 3-roll-2 style and is why you can see an exposed buttonhole on the lapels of these jackets. Recently, the 3-roll-2 has had a resurgence in popularity, especially after 2008, when Tom Ford dressed James Bond exclusively in 3-roll-2 suits in the film Quantum of Solace.

garrison suit 1    style 3 vest 2 (Ko No Mono)

A note must be made about the vests of the garrison Bespoke suits. Garrsion Bespoke, like Antonio Valente, made two styles of vests for season two. The first is almost identical to the vests from season one; single breasted, five button, standard bottom. However, Garrison Bespoke also made some single breasted, lapelled vests for this season, examples of which you can see above. Unlike typical vests, these combine a shawl lapel, usually seen on double breasted vests, with a single breasted front. Despite this unusual combination, I believe the final look to be quite elegant while still being unique.

orange flannel 1    christmas suit auction 7

The standard style of vest is also a bit unique when made by Garrison bespoke. As you can see from the photos above, albeit more clearly in the leftmost photo, the vests seem to have a border around the edge. The vest in the left photo is meant to be an odd vest and so this effect was played up a bit more. I believe this is due to the tailors pressing the vest and the facing perfectly evenly. I’ll explain what I mean by this. When a vest or any other garment is made, usually the tailor will roll the outside of the garment a little bit under when they are pressing the garment. They do this so that the lining doesn’t show on the outside when the garment is worn. However in some cases, such as when there’s a contrast lining the designer wants to be shown, the garment is pressed without rolling the outside under. This means that a viewer will be able to see both the outside and the lining simultaneously when the garment is worn. I believe this is what has been done with the vests by garrison bespoke. The reason why the lining doesn’t show as much on the suit vests compared to the odd vest is, to my eyes, because the lining so closely matches the color of the fabric, it doesn’t stick out as much.

There are a few other differences between the suits by Garrison Bespoke and the suits by Antonio Valente. The suits by Garrison seem to have stronger sleeve heads and a more defined shoulder, the lining is not as loud as the suits by Antonio Valente, and the sleeves have a consistent number of buttons (four). The only other thing I’ll mention is that one of Garrison Bespoke’s suits was auctioned off on June 18, 2015. The suit was one worn in the twelfth episode, Tome-Wan. You can view the listing below.

http://propstore.auctionserver.net/view-auctions/catalog/id/23/lot/3082/?url=%2Fview-auctions%2Fcatalog%2Fid%2F23%2F%3Fpage%3D2

This concludes my third Hannibal post. I hope to round off the series with just one more post covering the third season. That post will most likely be very brief, half of the season see’s Hannibal behind bars, but I will focus on the first half of the season, which is set on Florence. Until then, good eating!

Many thanks to Screencapped.net. Their resources have proved invaluable in the composition of this article.

 

UPDATE 12/9/15: Mads Mikkelsen revealed in several interviews that he actually stole the grey and red suit from the set following the conclusion of season three. The following response is taken from an interview conducted by Paste Magazine

“In this case, I stole one of the very beautiful suits,” he said. “I stole a grey and red suit. And after a week, I got a phone call because the production really wanted to give me one of the suits as a gift and they asked me which one I would like. I said, ‘The grey and red one,’ and they said, ‘We’ll send it to you.’ I said, ‘That’s okay, I already have it.’ So, that turned out really well. I didn’t turn out to be a thief.”

Read the full article here: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/mads-mikkelsen-talked-about-a-possible-season-4-of.html

 

Hannibal: Season Two

Day 7: The Skirt Dilemma

This is part of a cross-blog collaboration to create a replica MTC uniform as seen in the British drama Foyle’s War. All previous posts can be found under the page entitled “The MTC Uniform: A Foyle’s War Costume Collaboration.”

The MTC Uniform: A Foyle's War Costume Collaboration

Good evening –– or, perhaps I should say “good morning,” since it’s 2:40 a.m.

Work has begun on the first draft of the skirt. It has been challenging to determine how it should look. The style used in original MTC uniforms varied slightly (perhaps by an inch or two) from each photo I’ve seen, but the theme among WW2 military skirt length is consistent with other vintage styles: low knee to mid-calf length with a minimum 2″ hem. The trouble is, I’m short – super short (5′ 3″) – so, when it comes to vintage clothing I have to be careful not to wear odd-length skirts/dresses to avoid looking like a gnome.

I am also a modern female, and though I have a fondness for vintage clothing and all things 40s, the women’s military skirt/jacket combination has always looked a bit odd to me. The skirts are usually slightly flared for ease of…

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Day 7: The Skirt Dilemma

Hannibal: Big Things Are Coming

hannibal 3

My Hannibal series is still up and running. I’ve just completed reviewing the second season and will now begin composing my posts regarding it. However, the major news is that Antonio Pensato, founder and owner of the Toronto bespoke clothier Antonio Valente, was gracious enough to grant me an interview. Antonio Valente produced most of the clothing for the first and second seasons of Hannibal, Garrison Bespoke only worked on the third season. I’ll be revising and re-posting my previous Hannibal articles to reflect the new information I have learned. In addition I’ll be writing a separate post solely regarding my interview with Mr. Pensato. Great things are coming.

Hannibal: Big Things Are Coming

Days 5-6: So close!

This is part of a cross-blog collaboration to create a replica MTC uniform as seen in the British drama Foyle’s War. All previous posts can be found under the page entitled “The MTC Uniform: A Foyle’s War Costume Collaboration.”

The MTC Uniform: A Foyle's War Costume Collaboration

*Unfortunately, my camera was acting up and I couldn’t get shots on day 5, BUT I have photos from day 6, and they’re pretty similar to what we accomplished the day before, so we’re covered. 

Day 5 was very productive. After making the adjustments on day 4, we recut, sewed and assembled the pattern two more times to ensure we were on the right track. The dart realignment worked out splendidly! Now we have that straight stitched look of the original, which is quite sleek and sharp-looking.
project adds0003      project adds0002
However, there was an issue needing to be addressed: an unsightly bubbling affect along the shoulder seam – likely do to a wonky angle or dart issue with the back panels.

So, we had to make another big adjustment, leading to the construction of a new bodice…
On the second time around, Suitiful decided he’d had enough of sewing, (especially…

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Days 5-6: So close!