The Great Gatsby (1974)

Director: Jack Clayton

Costume designer : Barbara Matera

Hats : Woody Shelp

Jewels : Cartier

To start off, I haven’t read the book -yet-. It’s been on my reading list since my childhood.  This is the sort of book that is somewhat sacred to me because I clearly remember the first time I saw the cover. I was about 5 years old and not quite able to read yet and obsessed with finally being able to read a full text in my learning book. Fascinated by books in general, I was instantly smitten by the distant elegance of the Farrow/Redford couple.

Clearly I wasn’t to post about the Lurhman’s version. The moment I heard Toby Maguire’s lifeless boring voice going on the introductory monologue, that was just enough to put me off. Let’s not even get into the Di Caprio and Beyoncé mess. Just as much I loved R&J and Moulin Rouge, I also think that one ought to know when to stop side tracking.

Edit: I finally got a chance to watch Luhrman’s version today. What I suspected was unfortunately confirmed. It was just horrendous. However, I’ll post an entry about the film. This is about fashion in films not movie reviews after all. On that note,  I must say that the job done by the costume designer is spectacular-spectacular indeed.


Poor little rich girl Daisy Buchanan. Most of her outfits are white (even if it sounds like a cliché, it does convey a feeling of innocence and purity) throughout the movie. And two other colours come to my mind : Sunny yellow (commonly known as the colour of infidelity) when she throws roses to Gatsby and lilac (apparently symbol of peace and true feelings) when she meets up with him again for the first time.

gatsby4bKaren Black as Myrtle, Tom Buchanan (Bruce Dern)’s mistress, wearing a pale orange silk dress with embroidery and feathered shoulders and matching headband. Flamboyance that will end up in tears…

gatsby4dA closer look

gatsby4gMyrtle sister (Kathryn Lee Scott) wearing a red luxury embroidered peasant top

gatsbybraceletsA closer look at the stack of her chunky bracelets à la Nancy Cunard

gatsby6Jordan (Lois Chiles), my favourite character wearing one of these geometrical dresses that remind me of Vionnet’s work, especially her “robe 4 mouchoirs” :

robe 4 mouchoirs

gatsby7aSame dress from the back with a gazillion of buttons

gatsby9Classic Daisy look: Wide brim strawish hat, silk flowing dress, scarf tied with a brooch at the nape of the neck and a glass of Champagne (what else?!)

gatsby11Elegant twins in yellow flapper dress with inverted Eiffel Tower detail in the back at the party where Gatsby and Daisy vanish together in the haze…

gatsby12 Jordan trying to get off with Nick (Sam Waterston) (or the other way round) wearing a beaded zig-zag headband, strands of white pearls and icy blue necklace

gatsby13That’s one of the greatest pleasures you get from visually scrutinizing a movie. You get to see what no one else can see. Here is lovely Ingrid Boulting in the extras wearing a printed one-shoulder dress with a black sequined headband and a poppy flower scarf. But wait there’s more to come…

gatsby15Daisy in her bath doing her “Daisy Daaaarling in the bath” wearing a silk orange sherbet printed headscarf.

gatsby18Myrtle has just been given a new silk kimono by Tom. Funnily enough, in that context, the purple bedspread doesn’t convey an idea of peace and truth but more the one of a bordello.


A closer look at the silk kimono print

gatsby19A dress that verges on the negligee, all this in Gatsby’s house

gatsby20bDaisy arriving at the third party given by Gatsby. That huge lamé cocoon coat feels a bit like a Poiret. The interesting detail is in the fabric although almost imperceptible : It’s covered in pink and blue dots:

gatsby20b2gatsby22That’s really the feel of the 20’s full on. A dazzling beaded cloche-kind hat that must be weighing 3 cats and 2 dogs. Amazing nonetheless.

gatsby23Ingrid Boulting again. She would have made a great Daisy. She’s not even credited (like most of the non essential cast in fact).

gatsby24Detail of Daisy’s dress (mola style) that unfortunately will not be seen in full. I suppose hand caressing funny shaped cake tins has to be the sexiest moment of the film (not so much as Faye Dunaway in ‘The Thomas Crown affair’ though).

gatsby27Daisy the tainted, true to her (possibly) real self  in fur coat and velvet turban

gatsby26A closer look at the turban


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