Baz Luhrmann‘s 2013 interpretation of the classic book ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. is maybe not completely historically accurate but despite that, The Great Gatsby portrays the glamour and debauchery of the 1920s perfectly. Its an interpretation, so understanding that and accepting that its a more theatrical and elaborate depiction I think Baz Luhrmann delivers.
Listed below are a few points about the fashion in the film:
-The women’s dresses in the film are too closely fitted to the body for original 1920s style. But surprisingly the necklines should be lower and square and the back of the dress should be fairly plunging.
– Slingback shoes were worn in the film, however they were not a style originally from the 1920s.
– The character of Myrtle Wilson (played by Isla Fisher) frequently has a lot of cleavage shown in her outfits. However this would not have been popular in the 1920s, more the 1950s. The hemlines of her outfits are also slightly more 1910s as well.
– Elaborate evening wear and beaded headpieces are a visual feast in the film. Staying very accurate to the glamour of the 1920s. However the colour choices in the film are richer and somewhat sexier than true 1920s fashion, but I think this is to create a more theatrical cinematography and to appeal to a 21st century audience.
– The mens fashion in the film is very authentic to the 1920s. In a cultural and social context, clothes were used to define social class. The characters of Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway are from ‘old money’ therefore their choice of outfits reflect that. I researched into the clothes designer for the film and they even went as far as not using synthetic materials for the clothing as this wasn’t available until the 1940s. However from an audience point of view you would not be able to notice this small detail in the film.
– In the party scenes in the film, with the choice of costumes being to some extent pretty accurate to the decade. The guests are not. There is a very diverse range of partygoers at Gatsby’s parties – interracial couples, drag queens, black dancers. Simply to the fact, this much diversity in culture was just not around in the 1920s.
However taking that all in to consideration, I do think Baz Luhrmann does a fantastic job in interpreting the classic book for a modern audience.
words by Tegan Gallacher