(This post originally appeared on the author’s blog)
Throughout much of Wall Street (1987), Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko dresses as sharp as a tack, wearing perhaps two really great shirts: the renowned ‘Gekko shirt’ in blue with white contrast collars and cuffs and an appealing variation on the Gekko, a pink and white Vichy check – again with white collars and cuffs.
Both embody the corrupting authority of a 1980s power outfit: immaculate and comfortable, yet loud and in your face. Disrespectful.
Let’s take a look at the fashions that icons like Gordon Gekko and Bud Fox wore in Oliver Stone’s masterpiece Wall Street.
Both embody the corrupting authority of a 1980s power outfit: immaculate and comfortable, yet loud and in your face. Disrespectful. Douglas adopts the former signature look for his first big reveal as Gekko.
Med blue shirt with white contrast turn-down collar and white French cuffs. Two-tone blue narrow stripe braces.
During the mid-section of the film Douglas wears a more playful variation on the Gekko. It is a dandyish look harking back to the origins of contrast collars/cuffs shirts in the 19th century.
Pink gingham shirt with white rounded pin collar and matching French cuffs. Gold tie chain. Dark grey and red 'Brooks Brothers' striped silk tie, black crush-folded silk handkerchief.
This is arguably the more chic masculine style, if not as identifiable as the 'Wall Street look'. A plainer version recently popped up in the TV series Mad Men.
Notice the turn-back cuff on the jacket?
Gimmicky? Inspired? Just plain odd? It is certainly a 1970s retro look for such a forward thinking character. Then again, Gekko is really just a City College boy done good; his style is influenced as much as it is influential.
Ellen Mirojnick is credited costume designer for the film, with several names contributing to the finished result. In the context of the story, Morty Sills is acknowledged with making Gekko's clothes, but in actual fact Alan Flusser cut and fit the suits, working of course alongside Alex Kabbaz for the shirts.
Charlie Sheen's ambitious yet gullible trader Bud Fox begins the film dressed in muted suits and button-down shirts.
As his confidence and wealth grows; as he becomes the mini-Gekko he thinks he aspires to be, the red braces and horizontal stripe shirts come out. If truth be told they look even better on young Mr. Sheen than Michael Douglas.
Blood red and wide; these braces (or suspenders in the U.S.) are almost comically brash. Moreover one of Douglas' later outfits in Wall Street is worthy of mention simply because it is so of its time regrettable.
Light blue four on two double breasted linen jacket with white buttons. Black short sleeved polo shirt with top button fastened. White loose fitting slacks.
This shocking 'Casual Gekko' get up makes him look somewhat like Don Johnson in Miami Vice.
When Terrance Stamp's Sir Larry Wildman strolls into the scene wearing a sharp Prince of Wales check single breasted jacket and white pocket square, he owns the room.
Gordon Gekko is suddenly reduced to the role of rich chump (despite his authority at this point in the story) while Wildman adopts a typically class orientated British arrogance. You cannot buy class either, as Gekko proves by dressing akin to a Rio nightclub owner.
Movies and television were highly influential on fashion during the 1980s. American Gigolo (1980) had Giorgio Armani's flannel pants and deconstructed suits, 9½ Weeks (1986) had Kim Basinger in a tuxedo and black and white asymmetric jersey dress. The aforementioned Miami Vice TV show was probably the most influential of all.
It is impossible to roll up your jacket sleeves without thinking of Johnson's Crocket, just as you cannot wear stripes, contrast collars and cuffs without 'doing a Gekko'.
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