“Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci.” That single line from Sister Sledge’s song “He’s the Greatest Dancer” immortalized the three brands as the ultimate of Seventies fashion. It makes sense, then, that two of them — Halston and Gucci — have a significant presence in “American Hustle,” the much-anticipated film starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 13.
Directed by David O. Russell, who also directed “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Fighter,” the movie, set in 1978, tells the story about Gotham’s world of con artists, mobsters and political power brokers, inspired by the FBI’s Abscam scandal. It also tells the story of the era’s style. While the many scenes with Cooper in hair rollers scream Seventies fashion cliché, the costumes are far from it. Rather, “American Hustle” speaks to the decade’s more sophisticated, sensual edge, especially evoked by Halston’s plunging neckline-blouses and twist-front jersey dresses (the irony that much of it reads early Tom Ford-Gucci is not lost). The sentiment extends to the accessories; in one scene, Adams sports a Gucci signature python Bamboo Lady Lock handbag. She also wears a Gucci gold horse bit necklace, earrings and bracelet, and high-heeled platform loafers, as well as oversize vintage Christian Dior sunglasses and Charles Jourdan disco shoes.
Costume designer Michael Wilkinson felt particularly drawn to the script for the multifaceted nature of the four key roles. “It is about characters doing everything they can to survive,” Wilkinson says. “That included constantly reinventing themselves and dressing as the people they are aspiring to be. We have lots of different demographics. We have the high rollers of Manhattan. There’s Long Island and New Jersey. They are all across different backgrounds, and try to keep their head above the water in different ways. The clothes seemed so central to telling the story.”
Amy Adams in a vintage Halston dress with Christian Dior sunglasses and a Gucci bag and earrings, with Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper, also in vintage.
Photo by Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Productions LLC/Columbia Pictures
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