Gatsby glamour

Photographs and Video by Wayne Cuddington

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Evan looks dapper in a three-piece tuxedo with tails, satin bow tie and white satin pocket square from Tip Top Tailors and Aldo shoes, $120. Gwen, centre, sparkles in a show-stopping Melanie Lyne dress, $185. The dramatic head piece, $53, and clutch, $328, are from BCBG and ring, $22 and bracelets, $35, from Le Chateau. Victoria is picture perfect in a coral Melanie Lyne dress that is fitted at the top and tiered at the bottom, $385. The bracelet, $22, earrings, $19.95, shoes, $125, and hair brooch, $25, are from Le Chateau.

You can almost hear the party, the clinking cocktail glasses and bubbling laughter. You can almost smell the intoxicating perfume and see Cole Porter singing in the background. But it is the fashion — beautiful clothing, sexy slips, ropes of pearls, sparkling pendants, smart hats and dashing men in tails — that is front and centre when one thinks of the Roaring Twenties and The Great Gatsby.

This is the fifth time F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic is being remade into a film. Director Baz Luhrmann’s version, which opened May 10, offers style, visual panache and a revived interest in retro fashions as retailers jump on the Gatsby bandwagon.

In a nod to the flapper and the film, St. Laurent Centre has turned an empty retail space into a sumptuous Gatsby Salon lavishly decorated by interior decorator and Osolee owner Leeann Lacroix. The room will serve as a backdrop to a glitzy fundraiser on May 15 in support of breast health programs at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

“I hadn’t watched the movie in 20 years. It was such an opulent era and I sought to create two vignettes in this space that were reflected in the film — a dining area and a picnic setting,” Lacroix says.

Fashion stylist Erica Wark thought she’d have her work cut out for her to piece together outfits from the mall’s stores that would speak to the Gatsby era. She was pleasantly surprised that her biggest problem was finding more than she bargained for. Stores such as BCBG, Le Château, Melanie Lyne and Hudson’s Bay Company were full of ensembles and accessories that screamed vintage glam.

Wark re-read the novel and scoured the Internet looking for anything Gatsby related. She sought inspiration from an exhibit featuring the film’s costumes designed by Miuccia Prada and Catherine Martin, which are on display at Prada’s SoHo store in New York City until May 12.

“For this fashion shoot, I took the over-the-top glamour of Gatsby — the concept of it — and played it down for every day. The wealthy in the 1920s had two distinct wardrobes for day and night.”

Daywear consisted of sleek silhouettes, drop-waist, tunic-style dresses, straw hats, bold accessories, linen blazers, khakis and loafers. At night, it was sky-high heels, hair pendants, beads, tassels, feathers, sequin-fringed tops, T-bar shoes, lace and chiffon dresses, a slick of red lipstick and three-piece tuxedos with tails, bow ties and pocket squares for men.

“Natural materials were used a lot in 1920s, like straw, linen, stone in jewelry, crochet and lace. During the day the ladies wore more muted colours such as mint and coral and the men were decked out in loafers without socks and nautical attire.”

Wark has created a day and evening look for each of the three models in the spirit of Gatsby style. It’s been almost 40 years since the 1974 Gatsby movie starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford, which won an Oscar for costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge. It will be interesting to see if Luhrmann’s film will top that.

 

Great Gatsby quotes

“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”

“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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