Growing Up with GQ — Part 2:
Either You’ve Got or You Haven’t Got STYLE!
This is the second PC Pop blog post in a series called Growing Up with GQ. As you know from previous PC Pop blog post (Growing Up with GQ), I grew up surrounded by men who took great pride in how they looked, smelled, and were proud to be one step ahead of the latest fashion. Every man in my family was voted “Best Dressed” in high school; and someone in our family has continuously subscribed to GQ magazine since the early 70′s. We were metro before there was a word for it.
Recently I have realized that my son is the sole heir of this marvelous legacy. He’s the only Malavenda male in his generation. That’s a lot of pressure on him — and me. I have been looking for inspiration in many places and searching for opportunities to make the point without triggering the “oh, dad” so typical these days. Not sure if you have noticed but men are dressing better in movies and TV — and men and fashion is once again acceptable. And thanks to shows like Mad Men and characters like Don Draper there is a renewed interest in the classic fashion styles of the past — even the ’60’s. One thing my son and I do have in common is our love of “black and white” movies and TV — classic cinema and television. He and I (to the dread of my wife and daughter) watch a lot of the Dick Van Dyke Show and movies on the classic movie channels. He loves the George Clooney – Ocean’s movies; so, we watched the original from 1960. Last weekend, we stumbled on a movie similar to the original Ocean’s 11 that featured amazing fashion — Robin and the 7 Hoods starring the Rat Pack.
Robbo played by Frank Sinatra is a mobster from Indiana who is now in control of Chicago’s north side during pre-prohibition times. Robbo and his band of thieves which features Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin are different from the other gangsters (Peter Falk) and corrupt Sheriff (Victor Buono). With some of his money Robbo with the help of an orphanage director (Bing Crosby) creates a nonprofit social services initiative. In addition to the orphanage, they run a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. The movie is a great vehicle for the Rat Pack with great music, dancing — and great costume design. The movie score features some of the most memorable Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen songs like “My Kind of Town,” “Bang! Bang!,” “Any Man Who Loves His Mother,” and “Don’t Be a Do-Badder.”
Ole Blue Eyes, Bing, Dino and Sammy are also dressed to kill the entire movie. The fashion and style of this movie are classic, mobster, glamorous 1910’s style with a Technicolor – 1960’s – Vegas – Rat Pack swagger. More importantly the fashion in this movie has helped me make sense of my family. I forgot about the connection between the appreciation of GQ style with the men in my family — and the Rat Pack. The song and dance routine, “Style,” from this movie says it better than I. As the song goes, “Either you’ve got – or you haven’t got – style.” It would even inspire Don Draper.
Watch this clip from Robin and the 7 Hoods. I think it speaks for itself.
Today, with the recent fascination with everything Mad Men and Don Draper — perhaps there is hope for my son to be more conscious about fashion and how he looks, smells, and dresses. A father could hope for a kid whose “got it” — yes?