We all love movies because we like to look at our own likeness, and we’re all voyeurs deep down inside. But movies also give so many people in life a sense of purpose, because we go and inject drama or maybe comedy into your veins, and into your brains. And we walk out, and we talk about the movies, and we think about the movies, and the good ones last for a long time, and the bad ones barely last the run-time.
Josh Safdie – The Dissolve, interview by Josh Tobias
It is a hard job for an actor to shake off previous works, especially when you have played the whitest of white vampires, in a five film series that grossed over $3billion in a span of a meagre four years. For Robert Pattinson he has always seemed to carry his Twilight experiences as a burden that weighs him down. He might not completely regret doing the films (Every actor has to eat right?), but he clearly shudders every time they’re brought up. Looking at his filmography, it is clear that both during the making of the series and after it, he is doing everything in his power to shake off the tween ‘hot vampire’ mantle. Since the Twilight series started, he’s played Salvador Dali in Little Ashes; it was critically panned. He had some mixed chemistry with Reese Witherspoon in Water for Elephants. And then said ‘Fuck it’ and did two films with body horror expert David Cronenberg. But none of these roles have come close to disintegrating the spectre of Edward; that is until this years Good Time. Barely recognisable as Connie Nikas, Pattinson is absorbing, playing a character whose day goes from bad to worse and then two steps further. Hard to empathise with and even harder to like, it is a character who really needed to be disassociated with it’s actor. It makes no sense then that it would work with Pattinson in the lead role, which makes his enthralling performance all the more impressive.
Good Time is a film which holds nothing back, it’s confidence evident from the opening act which attacks all of the senses; a pulsating soundtrack accompanies a botched bank robbery that sets you up for a return to the gritty New York films of the seventies. It’s frenzied, kinetic, and agitated in the best possible way. You won’t find any lingering aerial shots over Manhattan, there is no sense of scale here, it is a contained New York film set mostly in Queens; the glitz and the glamour is far away, our protagonists don’t even acknowledge it. This is the cities underbelly, and our characters know no better. Whether it be a shady neon light soaked bail bondsman’ office, or a night time visit to a Long Island amusement park; this is not the New York filmgoers are accustomed to. It is a visceral odyssey that is anchored by Pattinson’s brilliant performance, alongside a superb Ben Safdie who alternates between being behind and in front of the camera (could this be one of the better actor/director performances?). Good Time is a brillaint follow up to the Safdie brothers previous lauded film Heaven Knows What, and with it they have both reinvented Robert Pattinson and made one of the best New York films ever, no mean feat.
The brothers seem to deal with a certain level of authenticity in their works. Heaven Knows What used a real heroin addict, Arielle Holmes, as their star (she’s superb) and they work extremely hard in nailing the aesthetic of a gritty New York. Where they nail this best is in the fashion of their characters. It helps to both define their characters whilst also giving you a sense of time and place. Both Connie and Nick look like they have been plucked from the streets of Queens and placed in a film, for example when we are introduced to Nick he’s in a reversible Southpole puffer jacket, a brand which started out in Queens in the 80s. Very few films pay this level of detail to the clothing choices of their characters, the brilliance in Good Time is that the level of detail doesn’t filter into the characters mindset. These characters won’t be in the queue at Supreme, they don’t give a shit about the new Palace store and the only Opening Ceremony they care about is when the Knicks take to the floor of the garden. The brands they wear are distinctively behind the times: Ecko, Southpole, Avirex are all brands that don’t belong to trends, and these characters wear them because they don’t care. It’s streetwear. It’s workwear. Its not Manhattan, it’s Queens. The Safdie brothers were not alone in sourcing these looks however, calling upon the talented Miyako Belizzi and street style legend Mordechai Rubinstein aka ‘Mister Mort’. 2017 has been quite the year for Belizzi. On top of her brilliant work here, she also worked on another impressively styled film; Pattie Cake$.
It is easy to see in the 90s fashion choices that a lot of research went into capturing the characters look, without this authenticity i wonder what the film and Pattinson’ performance would have been like. It isn’t often that this much importance can be placed on the style choices of a film, but Good Time has it ingrained into its characters. Which is why it was interesting to see that this went as far as transcending the screen, producing a collaboration with streetwear brand Know Wave. Founded in 2012 by Moran Bondaroff, an LA art gallery from Alberto Moran and Aaron Bondaroff, Know Wave is a well respected streetwear brand whose foundations are in art and music (They regularly drop new radio shows). Comprising of a collection of tees, the Know Wave x Good Time collaboration was dropped in line with its release in theatres in the States and featured a lookbook with two of its stars. There is somewhat of a depressing irony given that the characters in the film do not care about fashion, yet the collection dropped in both Supreme and Dover Street Market, when it perhaps would have been a better fit for a K Mart launch, inline with the films aesthetics. But such is fashion nowadays that if it ain’t limited, and you don’t have to queue, or risk not being able to get it online (Bots), it isn’t really worth purchasing.
Good Time is not the first film to do this however, and it won’t be the last either. One of my favourite film x fashion collaborations is Spike Jonze’s rather strange relationship with Opening Ceremony. They are somewhat of a New York institution for fashion, one of the must see stores, in a city that is full of them. Opening Ceremony often refer to Jonze as a good friend, and so they should, as Jonze has shot numerous videos for them including their 2015 lookbook. In 2009 they collaborated with him on a collection to launch in line with his underrated adaptation of Where the Wild Things are. Apart from some solid jewellery pieces by Pamela Love, the line was pretty awful, .
However, his next collaboration with the high fashion store was much more successful. Curated around arguably his best film; Her, the collection took direct references from the film such as the phone pocket and paper clips, adapting them to create high price garms. The film itself is specifically stylised, a hue of a utopian colour-scheme has a constant presence in the film and the brilliant Joaquin Phoenix wears the colours that sit in line with this, along with awkward fits worn with naturalistic aplomb. The high waisted pants worn by Phoenix were once a laughing stock, but now are a staple piece down the menswear runways. The films costume designer; Casey Storm, has collaborated on many projects with Spike Jonze, but Her is by far and away his strongest work. The collection by Opening Ceremony stayed true to the work of Casey, and it would seem that Casey himself was extremely happy with the results.
Spike Jonze wouldn’t be the only director to have an Opening Ceremony collaboration however. Harmony Korine also had a collection made out of his tedious and shallow film; Spring Breakers. In line with the nature of the film, the collection featured friendship bracelets, glow in the dark prints and hoodies with DTF emblazoned on them. Much like the film, it was far from subtle.
Wes Anderson is another director who has collaborated with many fashion brands; albeit not on a direct collection. In 2016 he directed the high budget Christmas advert for H&M starring Adrian Brody sporting a Peter Sellars moustache. It is probably Anderson’ worst piece of work. But by far one of my favourite collaborations is from my personal favourite Anderson film; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Collaborating with Adidas, all members of Team Zissou wear a customised pair of Rom trainers. A silhouette which barely registers existence in Adidas’ back catalog. Featuring a gum sole, yellow laces, a mixed blue three stripe and a gold Zissou embroidered name tag on them, the shoes are a glorious tribute to one of Anderson’s best characters. Up until this year, they actually did not exist, made solely (excuse the pun) for the film. Adidas manufactured 100 pairs that were sold at the concert of regular Anderson collaborator Seu Jorge. Shed a tear, unless you were one of the lucky 100. And be prepared to stump up the cash if you want to buy a resell pair.
One of the more curious collaborations comes from a more bespoke angle. Mr Porter, the online high fashion powerhouse chose the $80m James Bond spoof Kingsman as the perfect film to collaborate with. Utilising the expertise of the films costume designer Arianne Phillips, Mr Porter called upon British heritage brands for productions such as Turnbull & Asser and Drake’s. With other brands creating exclusive pieces for the range, such as Smythson and Mackintosh. The thing about Kingsman however, is that the sartorial elegance of its characters are mostly at surface level, Eggsy is far from a ‘gentleman’ and this antithesis produces the majority of the plot and its comedy. It seems like an odd collaboration, did the buyers at Mr Porter really watch this scene and think “It seems like we are on the same wavelength”. Anal sex jokes aside, clearly the collaboration has been a massive success, as this year saw the release of the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle and the new collection even got it’s own trailer, Which is probably a good idea considering the film was widely panned.
It would almost be impossible to write about film clothing collaborations without even the slightest mention of Supreme. The pinnacle streetwear brand (possibly even clothing brand) in the world has done numerous film collaborations which now demand stupid amounts of money on any resale site. Whether it is the recent garish Scarface pieces, or the Akira collaboration that has been rumoured for years, or an ode to another Akira with the Seven Samurai t-shirt, Supreme have always shown a certain level of film knowledge that most of the time is lost on its customer base. Streetwear site Highsnobiety even felt the need to explain what Seven Samurai is, fearful that the many Supreme customers would have no idea. There has also been Blue Velvet, E.T, Taxi Driver and Speed. By far my favourite of these has to be their collaboration with the controversial director Larry Clark and his film Kids. Of all of the collaborations, this one feels the most authentic in line with the brands New York origins. I’m sure there are many more to come from them, not that you’ll ever be able to get your hands on them; unless you can bare standing in queues with these guys.