bal harbour blog

Remaking a Classic

Culture Watch
The Great Gatsby's leading men: Toby Maguire (Nick Carraway) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby).

By Tali Jaffe

The buzz surrounding Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby is seemingly endless—and for good reason! Many a runway collection was influenced by the 1920s-era stylings that will entrance audiences come December when the film is released. Everyone from Gucci to Prada were tickled by period’s drop-waist dresses, fringe and beading. And there’s more to come this fall, judging by the looks of certain pre-fall ad campaigns we’ve peaked at.

But, there’s only one fashion label that can be credited with truly capturing the essence of The Great Gatsby: Brooks Brothers. America’s oldest apparel retailer has collaborated with two-time Academy Award-winning costume and production designer Catherine Martin to produce more than 500 evening and day ensembles for the leading male roles—Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby), Toby Maguire (Nick Carraway) and Joel Edgerton (Tom Buchanan) and background casts.

Catherine Martin worked closely with the Brooks Brothers’ archivist, designers and merchants to research the company’s history, studying artifacts popular during the 1920s as well as specific merchandise introduced by the brand to America. Martin has interpreted this historical research to create a look that both encapsulates the Jazz Age but also specifically addresses the storytelling needs of Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

In a recent interview, Martin commented that, “Fitzgerald was a Brooks Brothers customer. It is this most basic and fundamental connection that has made our collaboration so authentic. Brooks Brothers is mentioned numerous times in Fitzgerald’s writings as a representation of the ultimate gentleman’s purveyor of fine clothing to the American man of distinction.”

“Over the years, Brooks Brothers has also defined the collegiate style—the preppy look—which was so close to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Princeton heart. The same look was described in The Great Gatsby by narrator, Nick Carraway, as his look of choice the first time he visits Gatsby’s mansion for one of his neighbor’s extraordinary parties: ‘Dressed up in white flannels I went over to his lawn a little after seven, and wandered around rather ill-at-ease among swirls and eddies of people I didn’t know—though here and there was a face I had noticed on the commuting train.’ For all these reasons, Brooks Brothers seemed the obvious partner to work with on the creation of the men’s wardrobe for The Great Gatsby.

While the men’s wardrobe may be getting lots of attention, women will have plenty to swoon over as well thanks to another iconic American brand lending its artisans and archives to the film. Tiffany & Co. was tapped to produce the jewelry for the film, and as for the women’s costumes, that’s being kept under wraps for now…

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