News Article

Back to Old School

High fashion and the movies go back in time -- Clothes inspired by the '30s, '40s, and '50s invade closets and film

Save for the perfect hemline, there are few things designers love more than blasting to the past for sartorial inspiration. As four of this season's high-profile star vehicles prove, glam garb of the '30s, '40s, and '50s continues to resonate. Below, our handy guide to achieving a retro-licious look.

HOLLYWOODLAND
The plot follows the rumored 1959 murder of onetime Superman George Reeves, but it's Diane Lane's wardrobe that has us intrigued. In the Sept. 8 film, she dons era-specific cocktail hats ($450 at Lola, 212-279-9093) and (fur shrugs ($4,500, jmendel.com for retailers). Still, animal coats aren't exactly retro: They're in Marc Jacobs' and Alexander McQueen's fall lines.

THE BLACK DAHLIA
Brian De Palma's adaptation of James Ellroy's novel (out Sept. 15) is classic 1940s noir, and so are the clothes. ''I would say 90 percent of what we used was original,'' says costume designer Jenny Beavan, who outfitted Scarlett Johansson in slim pencil skirts ($198, neimanmarcus.com for retailers) and fitted peplum jackets ($495, diane vonfurstenberg.com).

IDLEWILD
Big Boi and André 3000 don't skimp on the dandy duds in their Prohibition-era musical movie (out Aug. 25). Fans who want to ape their style can snap up these Brooks Brothers braces, add a jaunty paisley pocket square ($59.50, faconnable.com for retailers), and top it all off with a modern take on the trilby hat ($685 at Rod Keenan New York, 212-678-9275).

BACK TO BASICS
From 'Dirrty' to demure, the once X-rated Christina Aguilera goes midcentury pinup for her latest album and video. If hair snoods and support garments as outerwear are too costumey for your everyday wear, try a flirty Louboutin peep-toe pump ($710, christianlouboutin.fr for retailers) or, for ladies on a budget, a bold matte lip color — the redder the better.

Originally posted Aug 18, 2006 Published in issue #893 Aug 25, 2006 Order article reprints