An iconic piece of cinema and one of Hitchcock’s very best, North by Northwest back in cinemas courtesy of the BFI.
While the new-wave thriller was first released back in 1959, the iconic fashion on show could still – and very often is – be worn today. Classic suits prove that class never goes out of fashion, even when you are framed for murder.
The reason the style throughout the film is so iconic is that it is timeless, but it is also an extension of the Hollywood greats acting in the film. Cary Grant chose Kilgour on Saville Row to tailor his suits, while the stupendous Eva Marie Saint chose to go through recent collections from Bergdorf Goodman’s in New York. To quote the latter herself: “Hitchcock made everybody is the picture dress in a classic style, he didn’t want the film to date because of the clothes. There’s not one outfit I couldn’t wear now without adjustments and not look stylish.”
In celebration of the film being back on screens, here are our favourite fashion moments from the seminal thriller.
The Signature Red Rose Dress
Eve Kendall’s (Eva Marie Saint) signature dress of the film comes in the shape of a red rose flower dress. It is symbolic of the time period; the perfect Dior flower silhouette dress. It could have been the perfect match for the Christian Dior AW13. With the plunging V-neck back, it adds a sense of sensuality to the character. Highlighted by her Ruby ring and ruby necklace, the dress stands out within the scene, making Eve the only woman in the room that could be precious. As Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) so memorably puts it: “she’s worth every dollar.”
Fur and Wool Tailoring
Moschino and Miu Miu called, they want their suits back. It’s almost as if it is the perfect timing for the film to be re-released, because what is worn in the film could be taken from the past season in Paris. Seriously, though – Muicca Prada would be proud of this outfit. As the foreboding mother of Roger, Clara Thornhill is a bright light within the film and her sense of out-wordily different style shows that she is the fun-factor. Not just this, but even though her style is different from other classical pieces within the film, it can be worn again through this day and age. She is stylish, but with a sense of humour.
Roger O. Tornhill’s Suit
As the saying goes, “if she wears the right shoes, she can conquer the world.” The same could be said about a man and his suit. With the wardrobe provided by Savile Row tailors Kilgour, Cary Grant picked the devices to his own ensembles – he made sure that his contract stated he could keep all of the suits that wear created for his roles. Roger O. Thornhill’s style quite frankly set the tone for the future of on-screen suits. Oh, he‘s a well-tailored one, isn’t he.
The Pearl Necklace
Both the romantic reunion of Roger and Eve and running theme of death and murder continue through this outfit. Eva’s choice is reminiscent of an outfit worn to a funeral. As many of the women in the film, the character accessorised her outfits with necklaces that highlighted the colour or moment. The Pearl necklace is a symbol of class and status, and it is a statement that Eve has finally become the woman she wants to be. After being given the option by Hitchcock to choose her pieces from Bergdorf Goodman’s, Eva Marie Saint joked that Hitchcock was her only ‘sugar daddy’.
Eve’s Orange Wool Suit
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s not just the men who got to wear the suits in North by Northwest. Throughout the film, Eve showcases an abundance of skirt suits, but it’s the iconic, Orange Wool Suit that wins the trophy. Teamed with crème gloves, her orange suit is the only highlight to the morbid dark scene of her possible impending death. Because what is better than climbing up Mount Rushmore for your life in an orange skirt suit. Practicality is overrated.
Like this? You’ll love tmrw #21.
Words by Daisy Scott