In my opinion, very few pieces of contemporary cinema fit the criteria of the FashionBeans Celluloid Style series more than 2009’s A Single Man. Starring Colin Firth, Nicholas Hoult, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and with an over-sexed cameo from Spanish super model Jon Kortajarena; the film is a treat for the eyes, whatever your persuasion.
Directed by menswear heavyweight Tom Ford and based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood, this film is a gloriously romanticised and beautifully crafted example of 1960s American West Coast nostalgia. It portrays a day in the life of George Falconer, played by Colin Firth. A man consumed by the death of his partner Jim, with an immaculate and considered appearance that masks misery and loneliness.
The movie itself is visually stunning, with carefully constructed shots and a wonderfully polished wardrobe. It is a costume drama unlike any other. Men’s fashion (as you expect from Tom Ford) is at the very forefront of the production, from Colin Firth’s suits through to Nicholas Hoult’s white mohair jumper. Every cast member, it seems, has been painstakingly costumed. Even in the scenes at the college where George works, there doesn’t seem to be a badly dressed nerd in the bunch.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, I recommend picking up a copy of this film immediately. To set the tone for the rest of this article, the official trailer for the film is below:
Of course, you can buy this masterpiece at Amazon on DVD or Blu-Ray: Tom Ford’s A Single Man
In order to focus this discussion I have decided to point the spotlight – like I did in my previous article on The Talented Mr Ripley – on the two key male style protagonists of the film. I shall to attempt to dissect and explain the looks of George Falconer (Colin Firth) and Kenny (Nicholas Hoult).
There is also a very notable nod of approval to the brief yet uber-stylish role played by Jon Kortajarena [pictured above in a classic white tee and blue jeans combination alongside Colin Firth] – who, as I have mentioned in my opening, is one of the most famous male models in the world, and has graced the FashionBeans pages before in his very own style icon breakdown.
Despite the movie being set in the 1960s, the men’s silhouettes and key pieces are very relevant to us now. As we have exhausted time and time again on the pages of FashionBeans, style is timeless. When sartorial classicism is being exercised as well as this – by someone as relevant as Tom Ford – it’s hard not to stand up and take notice.
“It takes time in the morning for me to become George, time to adjust to what is expected of George and how he is to behave. By the time I have dressed and put the final layer of polish on the now slightly stiff but quite perfect George I know fully what part I’m suppose to play.”
In attempting the style of Colin Firth’s George Falconer one must consider a simple, classic elegance. As I’m sure most of us would attest, a Tom Ford bespoke suit is pretty tough to get hold of. Panic not. Like I said, it’s about remembering those timeless style tips that have been written about on these pages on numerous occasions.
Clean 1960s slim tailoring is the key to achieving the look. Adding a few nice touches of formal flair – Firth’s tie clip, black rimmed glasses and gold ring spring to mind immediately.
There is an immaculate flawlessness to George Falconer’s appearance in this film that matches his restrained personality after the death of his partner. However, do not mistake style restraint for dullness, because there is something very majestic about this look.
Classic tailoring, a crisp white shirt, simple accessories and a good haircut are all you have ever needed!
In contrast to Colin Firth’s character and style, there is a kind of youthful exuberance and colour to Nicholas Hoult’s Kenny. Compared to the darker colours worn by George, Kenny wears lighter more vibrant shades and the palette is brighter when he is on screen. This is perhaps a tool used by director Tom Ford to highlight the oppositional outlooks of both men in the film at this point in their lives and how Kenny provides a bit of pure spirit to George’s unfulfilled life.
The key pieces worn by Nicholas Hoult in A Single Man are the slim white jeans, desert boots, white mohair jumper and brown corduroy jacket. This ensemble is as much about colour and texture as it is about individual garments. The combination of white with brown tones, and in complimentary textures and layers, is a great look heading in to the spring/summer season.
If you cannot source mohair then knitwear variations can definitely work if you want to achieve this look. The key point here is to consider the tonal value of the outfit when you construct it, just as much as the pieces and colours your coordinate. Texture played a huge part within all the major trends for autumn/winter 2011, and a tactile influence is set to stick around through spring/summer 2012 as well. It is an often unconsidered factor that can take any outfit to the next level.
For any self-respecting men’s fashion or cinematography enthusiast, this is a film that just has to be seen. The performances of both Colin Firth and Julianne Moore are truly outstanding within there own right, whilst the costumes developed and created under the direction of Tom Ford are spot on – and everything you would expect from a man who continues to build upon his own legacy within the industry.
Obviously, A Single Man does have that sense of historical romanticism rather than realism, but who minds wearing the rose tinted spectacles when things look this good.
The perfect fusion of fashion and cinema.
As always, let us know in the comments section below whether you have watched the film yet and what you thought of it. We are also taking requests for films you would like to see covered in our Celluloid Style series…
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