style brick road: Brokeback Mountain

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Brokeback Mountain

Most of the times a piece of music/film/photography inspires my outfit, but this time it was a single piece of clothing that got the whole story rolling. As soon as I got my hands on this wonderful, one-of-a-kind looking polar bear shearling coat (because doesn't everyone need a polar bear shearling coat in their lives?) - I was having all kinds of different thoughts going through my mind on how to present it - and as everything happens for a reason, I was accidentally obsessively changing the channels on my living room tv (as I always do), and stumbled upon a scene from Brokeback Mountain where a stunning beige shearling coat was worn by miss Michelle Williams as Alma in the 2006 romantic drama Brokeback Mountain.

It's absolutely not the place and I am definitely not the person to talk about the wonderful things this film did to the society, how it brought up the closeted gay theme to the mainstream level of media and how more people started to talk about it. It's the time to talk about the magic of the costume design the great (yet deceased) Marit Allen achieved in a film that could have easily been a cliché of many aspects, but ended up being an epic visual story that will be remembered forever. That particular coat Michelle Williams wore may have appeared for not more than 5 seconds in feature film that is 134-minutes-long, though it's absolutely significant for the story in total. Shearling coats may have been a staple for the mid-century countryside crew, but in Brokeback Mountain - it brings a point of an iconic piece that is used for a recognition factor. Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) wore it throughout the film, while stopping to wear it just as the romance between him and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) has escalated and broke. Alma was the other characters that wore several variations of the jacket, while another symbol of the movie was definitely the cowboy hat - in a variety of 2 basic colours for men. The opening saw the black one being worn by Jack while the beige one was on Ennis' head, and throughout the film it almost became a symbol of homosexuality and relationship  roles (you could see them wearing the same coloured hat only once, at the point where their love was the most powerful).

I could mention even more objects (like an all-denim look or the last scene that shows clothes being used as stand-ins for characters)  all of which have a specific meaning, but the most interesting out of the bunch was the colour red. As always (see: Jaws 1), it is being used as a dramatic turn-point moment, a symbol of change and action, and Brokeback mountain is no difference. From Lureen (Anne Hathaway) who wears an all-red (including the hat!) outfit at the moment where Jack meets her at the rodeo and instantly sees her as the wife, through Alma's red printed dress from the kitchen scene where she admits to her ex-husband that she knows his true sexuality. All of those moments are turning points, specific timeline dots that interfere with the romance of the two protagonists. Marit Allen was a pro in using colour (which is not an regular case), which is not only shown in this particular piece of film but also in other collaborations with the wonderful Ang Lee including Hulk (green) and Ride with the devil (earth tones).

In my own set of eyes, it was extremely difficult recapturing the spirit of this film that is both simplistic and extremely strong in its costume department. Details were the most important bits, while incorporating the highest-ranking symbols (double denim, cowboy boots, big hat) was a challenge to avoid going into pastiche mode, and transporting it into hommage. Did I succeed? Well, you be the judge... And watch the film!
Wearing vintage polar bear shearling coat, H&M jeans and hat, vintage denim shirt, Isabel Marant x H&M boots and Daniel Wellington boots