Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oxbridge fashion and elitism

Brideshead Revisited, a 1945 novel by Evelyn Waugh, premiers in UK theaters this month, a cinematic remake of the 1981 British television series.

The sartorial vision that the series offered has become a continuous inspiration to both tailors and bespoke customers, a reliable venue to revisit or reestablish a past era. Or a code to be cracked by those not fortuitously born into the fold.

Charles has lunch with Sebastian, from the original television series:

After 14 years from the book's publishing, Evelyn Waugh had this to say about Brideshead Revisited: "It was a bleak period of present privation and threatening disaster — the period of soya beans and Basic English — and in consequence the book is infused with a kind of gluttony, for food and wine, for the splendours of the recent past, and for rhetorical and ornamental language which now, with a full stomach, I find distasteful."

The art of drinking wine, from the original television series:

Reminds me of John Knowles' schoolboy classic A Separate Peace or even F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise, set in Princeton.

“Oh it isn’t that I mind the glittering caste system," admitted Amory. "I like having a bunch of hot cats on top, but gosh, Kerry, I’ve got to be one of them.”

But more than This Side of Paradise, it was Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby that inspired a complete vision for an era of men's fashion.

If I remember the novel correctly, this 9-minute clip from the 1974 movie (the story's third cinematic apperance) begins the novel:

There is a lot of talk in the beginning, but it is very symptomatic of the supposed ills of society that Jay Gatsby wanted to be free of. Watch out for Robert Redford (Gatsby) towards the end.

For both The Great Gatsby and Brideshead Revisited, it seems that impeccable dressing is a virtue merely of the affluent. But if you notice from the clips, it is actually Charles and Jay, the supposed outsiders, who carry the best clothes.

1 comment:

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Hmmm, I dunno, that ice cream suit that Sebastian sports in the Granada TV production is pretty spectacular... .