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KLUTE, EPIC FASHION MOMENT

Posted on April 14, 2014 by Marco Maggetto

I have been seeing “Klute” (1971) for years and since the very first time I was enchanted by Costume Designer Ann Roth and her famous skills in developing a story. In this film Jane Fonda looks absolutely “in the part” and needless to say,  you can judge a book by its cover in here. Roth started to mold young call girl “Bree” from her haircut. She took Fonda down the streets of Lower East Side pushed her into a local no fuzz no glam hairdresser, and there,  she started the transformation. The character of Bree needed to be real and contemporary, a modern girl who was dynamic, sexually free and single. A Park Avenue girl that was living downtown. In few words, an Ante Litteram Carrie Bradshaw except for the call girl factor. Inside this film there are several fashion moments that really point out: fringes, suede -off course, chunky jewelry, brown tones. There are t-shirts worn with no bra under (so 70ies), a precious leather outlined trench that fits Fonda in the most perfect way and serve her as a blanket when, tormented by the stalker, she decide to spend the night downstairs into Klute’s room located in the basement. Plenty of inspiration can be taken  from this movie, ask Style Offices around the globe. It’s a capsule of the 70ies, both for fashion and interior decoration. But the iconographic dress, the piece that says it all, it’s a dark blue mermaid sequined dress by Norman Norell, a masterpiece. A “liquid” “covering it all” dress that shine with class and help Fonda in seducing Klute.  With a coupe de fermeture à glissière she is done: it’s the longest, perfect sliding, zip moment I’ve ever seen.Norell, that studied illustration at Parsons School of Design and fashion design at Pratt Institute from 1920 to 1922, started to work for Paramount Pictures straight after graduation. He knew what glamour was and how a woman can seduce with a dress. His fashion philosophy is engraved in this memorable picture. How did they manage to do it? As usual, mixing synergies:  of Jane Fonda, that won the Oscar for his performance, costume designer Anne Roth, director A.J.Pakula, director of Photography Gordon Wills (also called “The Prince Of Darkenss”) and American designer Norell. Voilà , fashion is synergy.

The longest zipper I’ve ever seen.

A Fashion classic by Norman Norell.

Fonda receiving the Oscar for Klute.