Why the timeless style of The Great Gatsby is a distraction

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 May, 2013, 11:43pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 May, 2017, 10:52pm

My experience watching The Great Gatsby was a rather distracting one. Somewhat unusually, I wasn’t distracted by noisy movie goers who felt the need to narrate the entire story to their partners, nor the eerie glow of Candy Crush in the dark of the cinema. Instead, I was distracted simply by the poignant beauty in the film.

This happened once before, years ago, when I watched Girl with a Pearl Earring, in which almost every scene looked like a Vermeer painting, all warm light and hushed serenity. With The Great Gatsby, however, the beauty came from the sheer amount of luxury, elegance and style. I don’t pretend to be a film critic – viewers will undoubtedly have their own opinions on Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Fitzgerald’s classic novel – but few can deny that the visual and sartorial extravagance was a pleasure to behold.

Thanks to the respective brands’ rather excellent marketing teams, I expect most people know by now that Tiffany & Co collaborated with costume designer Catherine Martin on the film’s sparkling jewellery collection, while Miuccia Prada and Brooks Brothers worked with her to design the glamorous costumes for the actors. The necklaces, earrings, headdresses and rings looked stunning against Daisy’s – and Jordan’s – sleek dresses, while Gatsby and Nick both looked every inch the dapper gentleman in their beautifully cut suits, complete with understated cuff links.

Tiffany and Brooks Brothers have timed the launches of their respective Gatsby Collections to coincide with the release of the film, while Prada unveiled an exhibition showcasing the costumes. All three launches were greeted with considerable excitement (and retail sales), proving that there is some truth to what they say – style truly is timeless. The beautifully crafted jewellery pieces, exquisite flapper dresses and sharply tailored shirts and suits have a home in today’s world, just as they did in the roaring 20s, as they bring that signature touch of glamour and almost irreverent luxury to the fast-paced, electronically controlled 21st century.

Extravagance, it seems, is as much a guilty pleasure today as it was 90 years ago, so much that it manages to steal the spotlight even from the movie narrative itself. I came out of that movie theatre preoccupied with thoughts on opulence and Daisy’s diamond and pearl studded Savoy headpiece, rather than DiCaprio’s carefully executed performance.

Sorry, Leo, old sport.