Fashion Film Fun: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Clint Eastwood's legendary cowboy performance and wardrobe in this spaghetti Western have made him the epitome of Hollywood's depiction of the wild, wild west.
The 1966 film, directed by Sergio Leone, not only broke new ground for the Western genre in set design, cinematography, and costume, but one cannot even think of the film without hearing the strains of Ennio Morricone's legendary soundtrack. In fact, SO much great talent and vision went into the production of this movie that it will forever hold its place on anyone's top ten list for the Western canon.
Plot: The storyline revolves around three characters that individually represent The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Blondie, played by Clint Eastwood embodies the stigma of “the Good”; he is a professional gunslinger attempting to make a few extra dollars. Angel Eyes, played by Lee Van Cleef, is another character interested in making money, but he represents “the bad” considering he is willing to go to any means necessary to accomplish this task. And Tuco, played by Eli Wallach, is an outlaw on the run, and the embodiment of “the Ugly”. Tuco and Blondie had been working together profiting off of the bounty reward offered above Tuco’s wanted picture, as a way to generate income. When Blondie retracts on the partnership, Tuco sets out to rekindle a former alliance. During the search, the two stumble across a horse carriage loaded with dead bodies, and some insight as to where $200,000 worth of gold is buried. However, circumstances are such that the two must continue to work together order to find the jackpot. To make matters worse, Angel Eyes gleans what they are up to, and is determined to beat them to the fortune. This leaves the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly all battling to be the first to discover the riches.
The official trailer of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly...
Style: The costumes, masterfully created by Carlo Simi, have been able to withstand the test of time. He went beyond simply depicting a certain place in time; in fact he can be credited with establishing an aesthetic that has come to symbolize that very place and time. The neutral tones mixed with deep shades of warm colors match the bare mid-western terrain in which the plot unfolds. Blondie himself is correlation between action and appearance. The most attractive actor portrays the “good” of the divergent trio, whereas the other two characters' appearances also embody their persona labels. The brightest spotlight shines on Blondie and places him in a position to be admired and idolized. Clint Eastwood did not allow this opportunity go to waste. Today, he is still appreciated as an icon in western film, not only for his acting abilities, but also for his part in defining the Midwestern look.
Throughout the film Eastwood is dressed as a laid-back cowboy; in time this even became part of his off-screen style. At the beginning of the film, Blondie appears wearing a duster and a wide brim straw hat, yet as the storyline untangles and the character further evolves, so does his appearance. As confidence builds, his outfit develops into the iconic western ensemble: a tan felt had with a leather band, a dark blue button up shirt with white designs which is covered by a sheepskin jacket, a embellished leather belt and black worn pants. At this point Eastwood begins to embody the classic cowboy persona. Yet, the most prototypical article of clothing in the entire film is the olive green poncho that Blondie begins to sport following a blatant display of decency. His poncho becomes emblematic of a superhero's cape, and cements his role as the "Good". The poncho is a fashion silhouette that has endured, and has enjoyed periods of resurrection in decades since. Modern day designers as well as their predecessors have incorporated ponchos into their collections paying obvious homage to western fashions.
Today: The style of this film still stands as an perfect representative of western film and fashion. As western style continues to reoccur in fashion, icons such as Eastwood remain relevant. Though The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was a film scarce in female representation, the story, the actors, and the costumes inspire designers for both men and women, and fashionistas throughout the seasons pay homage (however unwittingly) to the style of this film. The natural color schemes, oversized belts, furs, suede and leather textiles, thin cotton blouses, and western inspired prints have recently been making bold appearances on runways, city streets, and magazine covers. In fact our own trend projection for Spring/ Summer 2018, Wild West, is greatly influenced by some of the same style sensibilities and motifs that can be found in classic spaghetti Westerns like this one.
Check out some modern, western inspired fashions below...
Check out some of our western inspired prints below...
What is your favorite western film? Does it influence your wardrobe? Let us know below!
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