This week we’re looking at the decade that inspired the fashion behind the film Legend (2015). Directed by Brian Helgeland, Legend is a film based on the true story of the rise and fall of the Kray twins. The infamous East London gangsters were notorious for their ruthless, though equally charismatic personas. Masters of the criminal underworld, the twins mixed with the social elite of the day and achieved celebrity status. As true today as it was then, money was power and they had both. To prove their status, the twins were always dressed for business.
Set in the 1960’s, a decade heavily associated with social change and upheaval, Men’s fashion was still, perhaps surprisingly, conservative and predominantly comprised of pieces reminiscent of the previous decade. In an interview with Caroline Harris, costume designer for the film, she tells (Legend: Interview with Costume Designer Caroline Harris)
Though it may seem like a lot of effort, achieving the super-smart looks we see in the film is easier than you might think. We’ve put together a little guide to show you how to achieve that killer style (no pun intended).
Played by the multi-talented Tom Hardy, Reg is generally presented in a more relaxed style in comparison to Ron, wearing single breasted jackets, with a generous exposure of a crisp white shirt, slim ties and with a high waist on the trousers. “Bling” also plays a key role in the overall design. Not only does the use of cuff links and jewellery add an element of individuality to the look, but is evocative of the Krays’ love for all things gold and glorious.
HOW TO: To achieve the “Reggie” look go for slim cut suits like this Polo Ralph Lauren suit. A suit should fit you like a glove, perfectly contoured to your body, so which ever suit you buy, put aside 10% for any alterations that might be needed, the investment will definitely pay off. To achieve the same level of swagger, accessories are your friend and ally. If you’re wearing a dark suit, then go for silver-toned items, these will set off your look with a touch of sophistication.
The woefully fated Francis Shea, played by Emily Browning, is portrayed in an array of simple, elegant costumes. In researching to create this collection, Harris comments on Shea’s fluid style. Though every photograph will show Shea as effortlessly glamorous, she doesn’t appear to adhere to one particular trend. The real Francis had a fashionable, yet simplistic and clean style, and Harris worked to stay true to that look using vintage pieces which were adapted with new fabrics.
The scene in which Reg and Francis go out for their first date, Browning is dressed in a stunning pebbled leather dress cut in a typical 60’s style, with 3/4 length sleeves, a flattering boat neckline and mini skirt length. The costume is accessorised with a feminine clutch bag.
HOW TO: The costume designs for Francis are all about subtle elegance to emphasise her femininity and delicate nature. To achieve that timeless look we suggest taking skirt lengths into account. The 60’s were of course the birth of the mini-skirt, so for this style we say, the shorter the better! Glam it up with some classic black heels like these from Giuseppe Zanotti and dainty accessories with a 60’s inspired twist, like these Le Specs sunglasses that feature cat-eye shaped lens.
Of course, it was important for audiences to be able to distinguish between Reg and Ron, especially as they’re played by the same actor. Without wanting to rely on camera trickery, Harris used their costumes to great effect. Portrayed as being more sinister and temperamental out of the two, Ron is typically dressed in heavier fabrics, three piece suits, double-breasted jackets and chunky knitwear. Here we’ve decided to look at Ron’s off-duty look.
HOW TO: For the more relaxed side of formal dressing, knitwear is your go to. Adding a knitted waistcoat or cardigan to your attire, like these additions from John Smedley, will not only soften your overall appearance, but will inject a touch of homely comfort. Just like Ron, you can emphasise the leisurely feel with an open spread or forward-point collar.