You say American Gigolo and it’s Richard Gere’s Armani wardrobe that inevitably springs to your mind. His style became a touchstone for menswear worldwide and launched Giorgio Armani’s career. And I will write about it in another blog post in the near future, but today it’s about Lauren Hutton’s wardrobe in the film. Gere’s character’s sartorial choices were relaxed, classic Italian, starting a revolution in tailoring, while Lauren’s, designed by Basile, were all American cool.
Just looking at her flawless colour-blocking outfit in the first two screen shots above and I want to make it my summer look. The classic jeans are indigo, the shirt is purple, the thin golden belt is just the right accessory between the two, the flats are nude and open-toed, and the red woven leather clutch is plain beautiful and it’s Bottega Veneta. It’s really impossible not to recognize the intrecciato leather that has become synonymous with the Italian fashion house and the very idea of accessory craftsmanship. The colour combo complements Lauren’s golden complexion and sun-bleached hair cut in a classic bob, and she moves with such ease and elegance. The classic American beauty and style.
The trench coat. There is no need to plea for its iconic status. And it’s Armani, by the way, the only piece by the designer Lauren wears in the movie. What I want to do is talk about its colour and cut. I’ve always loved grey (one of Giorgio Armani’s favourite colours in his designs) for trench coats, maybe because my mother has had one for years, same deep pockets, same oversized criss cross storm flap, same wide collar, same gentle slope in shoulders, only slightly more structured in shape. And I love it because it is different than all the other classic colours women usually go for. As for its tailoring, its slouchy elegance and relaxed fit is very Giorgio Armani in the ’80s, so similar to Richard Gere’s jackets in construction, or, better said, deconstruction. This is the type of trench I’ve been long looking for, the kind I’d like to invest in.
Once again, I can not overlook the styling and inspiring matching of different colours. I wish I could have had a better look at the ankle strapped shoes, another ’80s detail that I think I’m going to wear more often from now on.
I couldn’t take a full-frame shot of the black gown she is wearing at some point (very simple and with a slit in front I think, paired with silver sandals), but, as Lauren Hutton is saying in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar US, she had about a million dollars’ worth of jewellery on her, joking that she didn’t know how they let her walk around between takes. Michelle Stratton is sexy, sophisticated and enigmatic, and although the film is best known for its style, Lauren delivered her best performance in American Gigolo (1980), sensually portraying the lonely wife of a politician who falls in love with a male escort, Julian Kaye.
Lauren Hutton has always been a tomboy in real life, so it’s like she’s playing herself when she carries so well the casual looks. In fact, throughout the entire film, no matter what she’s wearing, Lauren is a study in undone elegance – the style she herself has come to embody, the very picture of American fashion sensibility. The cashmere cable-knit pullover echoes the preppy style and the bucket hat has always been one of the actress’s signature items. But it’s her in jeans and men’s shirt that I’ve always considered the pinnacle of classic American sportswear.
Above, Michelle is wearing a right below the knee skirt with pockets and styled with a camel belt. It’s the only type of skirt I want to wear right now (I think it’s safe to say that this film is one that will start to influence my personal style more than many others have). It’s so practical, but it looks so chic with clutch, heels and a feminine blouse.
As for the two-piece look below, although not something I would wear, I like its simplicity and the often underrated brown colour. But the choice of brown in this particular moment in the movie plays a much more important role. It reminds me of another character whose outfits go from bright to somber as the plot advances: Grace Kelly in Grace Kelly in “Dial M for Murder”. In Hitchcock’s film, the fading colours are used to suggest that Kelly’s innocence starts to be questioned. In American Gigolo, the brown indicates the doubt toward’s Michelle’s lover’s innocence, or it may be her own doubt of him.
photos: screen stills captured by me from this blu-ray edition of American Gigolo | Paramount Pictures