It’s the rare occasion when you can say that a film director is responsible for the resurgence of Adidas track suits, but thanks to Wes Anderson, the three-stripe sweatsuit is all the rage again. The iconic auteur, mastermind behind indie favorites such as Rushmore and The Darjeeling Limited has created a visual world all his own, one that is populated by the quirkiest of characters with an even quirkier sense of style. Shrunken blazers, fluffy fur coats and various forms of headgear (including cowboy hats, berets and sweatbands) are all staples of the Anderson aesthetic, an ironic medley of looks that has slowly become de rigueur in the hippest of fashion circles. Everyone from Marc Jacobs (who collaborated with the director to produce a set of Louis Vuitton luggage for The Darjeeling Limited) to Thom Browne and Band of Outsiders has been influenced by Anderson’s geek-art-chic, and with the filmmaker slated to release two films in late 2009, his hold on the fashion community can only get that much stronger.
It all started with the ’98 release of Rushmore, the tale of a prep school flunkie (played with remarkable brilliance by Jason Schwartzman) who makes the mistake of falling in love. A ball of ironic idiosyncrasies, Max Fisher dons some memorable staples, including an unforgettable navy blue blazer and ever slightly-so-short pair of khaki slacks. With his hair parted perfectly to the right and a pair of round horn-rimmed glasses, the film’s main man became the starting point of Wes’ world. A universe where the hero exists in their own insular, absurd world and fashion becomes their unique way of making their eccentric mark in the world. After all, only in a world where fashion was your personal plaything, would wearing a velvet suit a size too small (topped with a ridiculous red beret) to 11th grade make you the big man on campus!
Wes took fashion on a wild ride in his next flick, the infamous The Royal Tenenbaums. Arguably his best known feature, the film tells the story of three brothers and sisters, all former child geniuses, who must come together when their father is stricken with a terminal illness. Anderson’s creation of the oddball characters is only enhanced by their stylistic savvy, as each sibling’s look reflects who they are in the grand scheme of things. Chas Tenenbaum (Ben Stiller), former child entrepreneur, is now an overly competative and overprotective father who dresses his little family exclusively in red Adidas track suits. Richie Tenenbaum (Luke Wilson), once a child World Champion tennis pro, still rocks the athletic sweatband on his long locks as a memoir to the only success he’ll probably ever see in his life, and famous writer Margot (a surprisingly good Gwyneth Paltrow) pairs her darkly lined eye adult eye makeup with the innocent Lacoste sport dresses of her childhood. All unhappy with their lives, Anderson’s little family uses their closet selections as a scapegoat, but in a good way! Fashion becomes the method in the mayhem, a way for the Tenenbaums to relive their nostalgic highs, the only time in their lives when they really were happy. Check out this scene from the film, where Richie and Margot meet up again after a short absence—Margot’s opulent fur coat and teeny tiny 2nd-grade style barette combo is priceless!
Anderson’s follow up films have only enhanced his rep as a the newest fashion-focused filmmaker on the block. In fact, the Anderson-designed pair of Adidas that The Life Aquatic‘s Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) rocks became so popular with fans that over 1,000 sneakerheads petitioned the brand to actually produce the Zissou Adidas, with their unique pastel blue colorway. Unfortunately, they were never put into production, but that hasn’t stopped Wes from making his outlandishly smart sense style a major part of his movies! For an inside peak at the world of Wes, make sure to watch his short film Hotel Chevalier, starring a superbly stylish Natalie Portman, below (Warning: there is a slight NSFW moment towards the end—Natalie Portman’s bum—so skip the last few minutes if you’re in the office!)
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