Catching up with "Carol" - Retro never looked so Good

Earlier this year I wrote a piece for CURVE magazine, highlighting the classic looks of the 50s as seen in Carol, the 2015 Todd Haynes movie based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel. As noted in Curve’s November/December issue, both the movie and the book are not to be missed. Carol received Oscar nominations for costumes (natch), acting, cinematography, and screenplay. Nominated but not ordained as winner in any of those Oscar categories, as revealed in late February. In addition to critical acclaim by myriad reviewers, the film also earned accolades from a variety of prestigious places,  best cinematography prize at the Film Independent Spirit Awards,  best film, best director, best screenplay and best cinematography at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in December, and best actress award for Rooney Mara during the Cannes Film Festival.

Fashion sketch of Therese, played by Mara

Sandy Powell’s elegant translations of mid-century fashion can be caught on the film’s trailer, and I'm including sketches of a couple of the most iconic outfits in this post. After acknowledging that Cate and Rooney likely look great in most styles, what are the takeaways for dressing in 2016?

  • Attention to detail wins the day. It needn't be the endless row of buttons running up the back of Blanchett's dress - it could be something as simple as a fine line of stitching. Details communicate a look that stands apart.
  • Bold and coordinated colors work to make a certain statement (see: Carol's coral gloves and matching lips.)
  • Generous skirts and wide-legged pants help carry the wearer to ultimate freedom of expression. Just see where it took these two.
Fashion Sketch of Carol, played by Cate Blanchett