Have you seen The Thomas Crown Affair remake with Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan? Admittedly, the film’s not great, but Renee’s (aka Catherine Banning’s) wardrobe is killer; to the point where it alone warrants a film viewing.
When I’m in a creative slump and feel overwhelmed at “keeping up with trends” and stressing over “what to wear,” (particularly during fall!) I’ll look at a still from this film and instantly have clarity: a white button down under a black sheath dress; or a menswear-inspired pinstripe coat over all-black.
Then-head-designer-of-Celine, Michael Kors, designed her impeccably tailored wardrobe, which encapsulates the monochrome, modern simplicity and clean-cut lines his clothes are famous for (think Carolyn Bessette Kennedy or Elin Kling).
Whether a donning a chunky knit on top of a black leather pencil skirt or a loose-fitting, suede carmel coat over an all-black ensemble, Russo looks stunning and timeless in every scene. The film was made in 1999, yet the fact that each outfit is totally transferable now , fourteen years later, is a testament not only to Mr. Kors, but to the power of simplicity. Tailored, luxurious simplicity. With rare exception, I cringe at patterns, and re-watching this film reminded me why monochrome is King. Queen. It rules the world of effortless chic-dome.
But perhaps what I find most inspiring about the fashion in this film, is that your first thought in looking at Rene Russo isn’t “OMG. THE CLOTHES,” but “OMG. SHE LOOKS INCREDIBLE.” In other words, the clothes don’t wear her. She’s not restricted, or defined, by their luxury. She doesn’t wear anything that screams, “This designer made me!!” (unless you’re Celine-obsessed like me). Instead, she wears the shit out out of her clothes. You take one look at her and want to know what her secret is (at 45 nonetheless) – how a woman can look SO good, SO consistently.
The hallmark of a true style icon: you notice the person first, then the clothes (a la Rene). Reverse it, and you’re a fashion victim. It’s a seesaw, for sure. Thankfully films like this exist as a template for timeless style, at any age, any time (that’s why it’s timeless!).