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A Wolf in Any Other Clothing…

By Lizbeth Perez

Martin Scorsese’s newest movie sensation, The Wolf of Wall Street, is a movie of excess. In this three-hour movie, be prepared to come across scenarios that include insider trading, strippers and prostitutes, heavy drug usage, and all sorts of sexual debauchery ranging from full frontal nudity to orgies; and at times, take those scenarios and combine them. Excessive, to some yes, but a movie about excess should be expected to be nothing less than just that: excessive.

Actress Margot Robbie, Actor/Producer Leonardo DiCaprio, and Producer Martin Scorsese

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
The synopsis of the movie is simple enough; it is look into the life of Jordan Belfort, who took a penny-stock firm to Wall Street prominence in the 1990s. Surprisingly, it IS a true story. Jordan Belfort REALLY did exist, and the movie follows Belfort’s actual memoirs, which were published a few years ago.  The role of Belfort goes to the suave Leonardo DiCaprio where he spends much of the movie speaking into the camera telling the audience all about his meteoric rise into wealth. He details the luxuries he experienced, his hot wife and all sorts of debauchery in between…as well as how he obtained it all: by not entirely legal practices. 

DiCaprio retells all of “Belfort’s” antics with a sly, coy smile and an “interesting” (which is probably the understatement of the year) cast of characters. Yet, with all of these entertaining characters running around, there is one thing that seems to be missing from the movie itself: WOMEN. This is no coincidence, in fact it is a pretty good representation of the fact that Wall Street back during that time frame, was an exclusive boy’s club of sorts, the kind where women played small roles (think either suckers; like Belfort’s first wife or sex objects) and had even smaller wardrobes. (Think bikinis or nothing at all…)

Since, the females of movie wore such little clothing overall there really isn’t too much that can be said about the female fashion that was present for Scorsese’s film.  But, it’s a whole different story when it comes to the men’s fashion.

De-Humanizing Females...
Scorsese is no stranger to period pieces having directed movies such as “Shutter Island” (coincidentally, also a DiCaprio movie) Casino and Aviator, just to name a few. Therefore, Scorsese had no trouble enlisting Sandy Powell - who has worked with him many times in the past, to handle wardrobe. There was just one requirement he made clear to her from the beginning: make sure “the costumes are designed to help create the characters and tell the story.”

And what an interesting story those costumes did tell.

Throughout the movie, anyone in the audience can actually measure the success that Jordan Belfort  acquires by the sheer progression of his wardrobe. At the beginning of the movie, we see him wearing obvious off the rack, ill-fitting suits yet towards the end he wears nothing but well tailored, expensive pin-striped power suits more reminiscent of the time. We all know that the 1980s was a time of utter exaggeration (much like the movie itself). You had big boxy lines and silhouettes, shoulder pads and huge hair. None of this was exactly a “pretty” look (which makes me wonder why are 80s clothing so up and coming now…) But what of the time frame after the 80s? Other than the emergence of hip hop couture and the abundant grunge trends what exactly defined 90s fashion?

You would think, being that The Wolf of Wall Street, taking place in a time period that is relatively not that long ago, would have made it much easier to style. Interestingly enough, Powell admits that that statement alone could not have been further away from the truth. Why, simply because we are not far away from the time period itself to clearly know what it did (or should) look like. Scorsese and Powell were interested in being able to correctly depict a look, that unless you lived in that era, during that time frame, not many people can actually describe.

And I tell you what, they NAILED IT! 

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