style brick road: Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Monday, 29 December 2014

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Just before we're welcoming 2015, here's something completely new, fresh & a literal twist on the whole concept of the blog!

After realising analysing trends in-depth on the blog became quite expected and stopped being an excitement for me (at least on a sole base it was), a new concept that has been in my head for a long, long time arose as a perfect opportunity to change the whole story up a bit, but still attaining the detailed approach that became of a somewhat trademark of mine. So, after figuring out the logistics and long consideration (not so much), the new deal is - simply put - taking films I've just watched (because I realised hours of watching both vintage and new films replaced hours of scrolling through and interpreting them into an outfit, maybe even two of them. Instead of it being banal, I'll chat about the film, which part of the costume design got my attention and why exactly I chose that movie at that particular moment. As everything in (my) life - every bit, every word, every detail has meaning and is chosen meticulously. Costume design is a huge love of mine, and currently replaced runway fashion on my imaginary list of interests, so it obviously deserves a bigger spot on the blog that is supposed to represent all of me. I would also love to introduce music as part of the content more intensively/extensively so that is to be expected, plus my runway/fashion obsessions are going to be continued. Sounds like a good variety of New Year resolutions (which I don't always pursue) - so let's get it going...

After this not-so-short disclosure, as a very persistent and not extremely patient person - I will start early with my NY resolution and present the first movie chosen as a SBR feature. It was an internal fight between two titles, but very symbolically and absolutely appropriately - it was the recent re-watching of the film that pushed me into reconsidering the title and giving it another chance after not liking it the first time around (which was a long time ago), and finally realising it's possibly on my top something films of all time. It may not be everybody's cup of the (as most movies), but that's nothing Ferris Bueller himself would be interested in.

A film whose visuals are as memorable as the plot and the cast itself, it means a costume designer did a damn good job. That wasn't anything new for Marilyn Vance, an award-winning costume designer that was a go-to girl for all of John Hughes' movies - most of which are extremely eye-catching and recognisable solely on the character development through clothes (see: The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink). I'm positive I'll be taking on some other Hughes' and/or Vance's work and giving it a Style Brick Road treatment, but Ferris Bueller was probably the one of the first notable moments a focal character developed through style was a male (trying not to call F. Bueller a man - because he truly wasn't one). Marilyn Vance later continued to work on extremely different films - she was giving Bruce Willis the white biceps-baring shirt in Die Hard and was responsible for the makeover of the decade aka Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. 

But back to the movie itself - Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a privileged, clueless, audacious yet a class-love, 'a righteous dude'. Delusional, pushy with a 'you can never go too far' attitude, Ferris gets on just a few people's nerves - his sister Jeannie (Jennifer Grey) and principle Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) are the ones that can't keep up with Ferris' never-in-trouble tenacity. Bueller has an extremely distinguished style - slightly varying from privileged prepster to a cool teenage guy. His character has most wardrobe changes in the whole film (probably the only one who switches outfits in this one-day comedy) and the result of those are a constant switch between adulthood and childhood - obnoxiously adult-like sandals worn with Hawaii trunks or a full-on suit were flipped with the striped bathrobe and the most-recognisable (and most-worn throughout the 103 mins of the film) outfit - a white shirt, cheetah-printed wool vest, gray pressed trousers, a pair of white brogues and a black-white-gray leather jacket. At moments he added a military cap or a pair of sunglasses - an item that stylistically plays a huge role in the division of characters between kids and adults. Hughes and Vance used glasses (both sun & eye ones) as almost a tag for telling the audience who's who - the protagonist group of friends that included Ferris, his comrade Cameron (Alan Ruck) and passionate girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) put them on when they want to be grown-up, and teachers wear them in the classroom - to stand out and look 'smart', while Jeannie & Rooney put them on when they get on their revenge face on. 

If we consider other characters, the only one that can compete with Ferris in terms of a style depth - it's his posse consisting of Cameron and Sloane who both have symbolics carrying on themselves. For Cameron it's the red&white jersey (while red is a colour used intensely throughout the feature) that ties in both of his sides reminiscing an inner fight of his old white BMW and a shiny red Ferrari they stole from his dad, and for Sloane it's that significant Cartier watch which tells you she's a privileged girl that falls for cute, rebellious guys like Ferris and enjoys being a Bonnie to her Clyde. Both of those items serve as anarchistic symbols which make them a perfect entourage of Ferris Bueller, an '86 version of Justin Bieber, eternally a douchebag that somehow ends up being loved by many many many (most?) people. He's a bit of a goodie and a bit of a baddie - being a perfect mix between his sister and the not-named Charlie Sheen character at the police station is what makes him never-guilty yet always fidgety. The most famous sequence and the one that makes the whole film recogniseable is the American-German float singalong My favourite sequence of the whole film is definitely the one from the Chicago Institute of Arts (the film in total acts like a Chicago postcard) where it's so geometrically and frame-wise composed in such a superb way that it serves as a school example - especially with perfect sound effects and editing as a background (both funny and intense, depending on which part you take - but nothing less than ideal throughout).

Taking a bit of every character, I decided to imagine how Ferris would look in a 21st century version of the film - the white brogues would become a pair of trainers, the white tee would be switched with a turtleneck, and the leather jacket? Well, let's say his preppy self would prefer a classic coat over the whole thing, just because a statement vest is a statement vest - whether it's in a cheetah print or a red lurex material... And of course - it would be topped off with a pair of sunglasses.

Is Ferris Bueller's Day Off just another coming-off age comedy that plays with cliques and defines high-school? I'd rather call it a sci-fi fantasy for do-gooders with a rebellious spirit - such as me.

Wearing a McNeal coat, vintage lurex vest, Max Calvin turtleneck, Pierre Cardin trousers & Daniel Wellington watch