For those of you who haven’t seen the new movie Public Enemies, you are missing out on a great story and great some fashion. The film, starring Marion Cotillard, Christian Bale, and Johnny Depp, portrays the story of John Dillinger (Depp), an infamous Depression-era bank robber. Based on real events, the film is a great look at late 1920s and early 1930s fashion. Ardis Taylor, owner of Vintage Apparel by Ardis, helped create the looks for the films main actors.
When speaking about the garments choices made for the movie, Ardis says, ‘”The ’30s are the most rare, especially for menswear,” Taylor says. “‘Public Enemies’ was from around that era. It’s the hardest to locate because a lot of people within the business don’t know much about the fashion at all,” he says. “Within the ’30s, I like the textures of fabric — the herringbone tweeds and the chalk stripes they had in that period.”’
It seems as though Depression Era fashion or Depression Chic is coming back in style and is showing up in fall collections. Some might not be sure what it means when something is “Depression Chic.” “Colours…are sombre, with a lot of greys, khakis and browns. Plaid is still very important and a revival of tweeds and herringbone patterns make a comeback in re-thought classic outerwear. ‘It is all about conversational pieces’ a sales representative from Unruly Heir told WGSN.”
One designer whose Men’s Fall 09 collection was inspired by the Depression Era, is John Bartlett. His latest collection featured plenty of tweed, plaid, news-boy caps and velvet suit jackets.
Says Bartlett of his inspiration, “There’s a new depression happening right now…It’s not a financial one but an emotional depression, with every friend of mine being on Prozac. The clothes from the Depression have a real elegance and a real innocence I’d like to recapture.”
According to the New York Times reporting on Bartlett’s current line, jackets had softer shoulders, tight pants were loosened, and models all had slicked back hair. One garment included a coat that hit close to the knee, and pants were all a bit short.
This summer and fall has shown Depression Era influences in film and fashion. It is a bit fitting, considering the current state of our economy, but let’s hope that all that’s repeated is the fashion and not the Era itself.