Last week I saw The Great Gatsby in all its 3D, glittery, racing, pulsing, gorgeous glory and I really enjoyed it. I watched the film at a press screening which meant I was surrounded by sneering, cynical hacks who snorted derisively through the sentimental bits (come on people, it's melodrama, enjoy it!)
But even if you don't enjoy the story and acting, you won't be able to resist the glorious clothes. Costume designer Catherine Martin collaborated with Miuccia Prada on over 40 designs for the film's spectacular party scenes, basing them on pieces from the Miu Miu and Prada archives and fusing Twenties and 21st century elements to make them as hot as the soundtrack (the Jay Z/Gershwin mash-up is something else.)
If you're a chap, get yourself a cool, pale pink suit right this instant. If you're a lady, read on...
Now if the film had come out at Christmas as it was originally intended then we might have an excuse for buying the plethora of bugle-beaded flapper dresses that are currently cluttering up the shops. But it didn't, so I say avoid those options if you don't want to look totally fancy dress. Instead, incorporate subtle touches of Twenties style into your summertime wardrobe and look as cool as you feel (whisky cocktails optional.)
First of all: kimonos. There is no better way to evoke louche, afternoon decadence than with a silk kimono or dressing gown. When worn as outer wear during the day, it has something of the bedroom about it which makes it feel ever so slightly subversive (and nothing like popping to the shops for a pint of milk in your PJs) as well as glamorous. Topshop has an amazing selection this season - here are my favourites.
I'd happily waft around in any of these with a long silk scarf keeping my hair back and my neck cool in the Hackney Hamptons heat. Wear over a plain white tee and denim cut-offs during the days, or with crisp cotton pyjamas just like Evie in The House of Eliott - an infinitely superior fictional Twenties style icon to drippy Daisy.
I want to paint my nails absinthe-emerald-green - everything else just looks insipid. Pick something rich with a poisonous metallic gleam like these polishes (the Essie one couldn't be more appropriately named - it's called Trophy Wife!)
Carey Mulligan does a decent job as Daisy Buchanan (I still think Michelle Williams would've been better), but it's newcomer Elizabeth Debicki who really lights up the screen as her cool pro-golfer pal, Jordan Baker. Jordan is a prime example of the strong, sporty American Woman that the Met Museum devoted its 2010 costume exhibition to. In her honour, I've chosen some chic, practical summer shoes - all in white, because you're too fabulous dahling to worry about things like grass stains...
And finally, dresses. These should be drop-waisted, in a pale colour - cream, ice-green, blush pink - and either made from chiffon or cotton, with pleats. I actually have one of these! It's really old but no matter, I'll be dragging it out of storage, ironing it (maybe) and wearing it around town. If you're not a creepy hoader like me, here are some brand new options.
And there you have it - the sneaky, subtle way to try Gatsby style and nary a beaded headband in sight. Enjoy!