You know you are getting on when a ‘period film’ is set in a period you remember all too clearly. Well, at least that’s how I felt when I watched The Wolf of Wall Street, set in the late ’80s to mid ’90s.
Yes, I know. I am a bit late to this, but all those reviews about the debauchery and drug-taking kind of put me off the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio notwithstanding. But when I finally got to it last week, it wasn’t the drugs and sex – not to mention the midget throwing (don’t ask!) – that got me. It was the clothes.
There they were, the fashions of the late ’80s and early ’90s on display in all their power-shouldered wonder. Double-breasted suits worn with loud, wildly-patterned ties. Polo shirts paired with high-waisted linen trousers. Ruffles and padded shoulders for the women. This was Giorgio Armani and Chanel, all right. But not as we know it.
Except, of course, that I knew it all too well. This was the period when I came of age. The decade when I left college, began my first job, and began earning my own money, which I could spend on the fashions of the day. But now that it was being paraded before me, two decades later, all the outfits looked clunky and clumsy, over the top, and sometimes downright vulgar. Had we really dressed like that in the ’80s and early ’90s? What on earth were we thinking?
Well, now that you ask, we thought we looked pretty darn good. We loved the exaggerated silhouettes, the loud colours. The brash exuberance of that decade was perfectly articulated in the clothes. And we embraced those fashions with all the wit and style at our command.
Those padded shoulders were our armour of choice as we set out to conquer the world – until Armani gave unto us the deconstructed jacket.
From HT Brunch, December 14
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