To Catch a Thief_Cary Grant_red scarf.bmp © 2010 Lord Christopher Laverty. All rights reserved.

Be the Stylish Man at Cannes: Tips From the Movies

Jacques D’Azur is missing. So what are you going to do about it? Take his place, that’s what. Here are some tips from the flicks on how to succeed that sultan of sophistication.

Sans Tie:

First things first, ditch the tie. It’s Cannes, it’s sunny, and you need to breathe. Try following the late, great Cary Grant’s example and wear a scarf instead.

Playing cat burglar John Robie in To Catch a Thief (1955), Grant added a spotted red silk scarf to his matelot top and grey slacks ensemble after scouring boutiques along the Riviera. You won’t look as good as him, but at least they won’t send you off the beach for vagrancy.

Get Ahead, Get a Hat:

You cannot do better than a Panama to beat the rays without coming across like a 1930s gangster. Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter wears a classically ice cool example in Hannibal (2001). You can copy his style without having anyone ‘over for dinner’ and liberating their credit card by simply choosing a good quality off-the-shelf example.

Really to be called a Panama it must be made out of fine straw woven in the Republic of Ecuador, though nobody is that picky anymore. Jacques D’Azur wouldn’t make such a fuss, so take your cue from him.

White’s Alright:

Resort colours are, unsurprisingly, your best friend in Cannes. By that we mean stick to light shades that don’t reveal sweat patches as you mingle with the celebs.

Ironic considering it came from the decade that many say style forgot, but we should look to Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever (1977) for inspiration. John Travolta’s white suit is the perfect colour, if not material (polyester will suffocate you quicker than Robert Pattinson’s underpants), so you can strut your stuff on the sand, stop for an ice-cold Stella Artois 4% and pose to your ego’s content.

Show Those Shoes:

Typically we revisit Cary Grant, this time as Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest (1959). Eschewing style rules old men in sack suits no doubt lectured him on, Grant teamed his light grey single breasted number with brown shoes instead of black – dark brown to be exact, ideal contrast to the blue on charcoal hue of his suit.

Follow his lead and go brown for practically every occasion. Except playing tennis; there you will need white canvas deck shoes. Sure, they are not as comfortable as trainers but nobody cares if you win, it’s how good you look losing that matters.

Ditch the Shirt:

No, don’t go bare chested, that’s not the Riviera way. Instead you could opt for the Mark Strong as Hani Salaam cashmere polo neck sweater in Body of Lies (2008).

Commonly spotted in the South of France during the 1950s, the polo neck, or rollneck if you are so inclined, is just about the only way to get it right without a shirt (maybe a matelot is you’re slim enough). See that fella strolling around with a t-shirt under his pinstriped suit jacket? He’s wrong, and you want to be as close to him as possible because he’ll make you look like the Jacques D’Azur successor you strive to be.

Avoid Silk:

Unless you have stepped inside a time machine and journeyed back to the mid-1990s, this look is only for men with carpet hairy chests and a permanent locker at the gym.

Think on Nicolas Cage as Little Junior Brown in Kiss of Death (1995). It might be tempting when that ivory silk shirt jumps out at you from the sale rail, at least two sizes too big and screaming “You can pull it off!”. Do not take the bait. Your red carpet accreditation would be revoked before you can cut out the label.

Of course, you could just ignore all of these tips and enter THIS competition over at Stella Artois 4%. If you win you’ll be treated better than Jacques D’Azur himself with an invitation to party hearty at the Cannes Film Festival, 2010. You can be the man, even wearing sandals and socks (though please don’t).

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© 2010 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.