The trailer for Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby looks and sounds like the book reads. Leo DiCaprio, as the mysterious Jay Gatsby, is tough with an easy charm. Carey Mulligan is seductive as the ethereal Daisy Buchanan. The movie seems to sizzle with a pulsating soundtrack by Beyoncé, Bryan Ferry, and Jay-Z.
Ever since I can remember F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has been everyone’s favourite novel. I am exaggerating, but not by much. Only last summer, at a dinner party I attended, the mere mention of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris – and its allusions to Fitzgerald – provoked a spirited discussion. In the film, the Woody-alter ego character, Gil, is magically transported to a bygone time in Paris, and meets the American literati who inhabited Paris in the 1920s. “Hi, we’re Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald,” the characters tell the astonished screenwriter, Gil. Midnight in Paris portrayed that stylish era so electrically, that at the dinner party I attended, all the twenty- and thirty-somethings vied for the title of “biggest Gatsby fan.” That included one young man, who, I am fairly certain, never read the book.
Excitement is building for Baz Luhrman’s remake, especially among fashionistas and hipsters. Over the years many have dismissed the book as trite and simplistic. It hardly matters, as fans still adore it. What attracts generation after generation to the stylish tale is the reckless passion of Fitzgerald’s star-crossed lovers.
When another Great Gatsby, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, opened in 1974, it caused a sensation – but more for the sumptuous fashions and perfect profiles than for unbridled passion. In spite of poor reviews, 1920s fashions and parties briefly became the rage. Even at my high school for a few weeks everything was all about Gatsby. People who read neither the book nor even a syllabus were suddenly caught up in Fitzgerald fever.
I predict we are in for more of the same marvelous madness. This month the cover of Vogue features Carey Mulligan as Daisy. It makes sense; even though the Luhrman version promises to be hot and dangerous, it still all about the clothes. Tiffany and Brooks Brothers are official partners in the film. Tiffany is supplying the sumptuous pearl and diamond jewelry that Daisy wears . Jay Gatsby will be dressed in classic white flannels from Brooks Brothers.
Miuccia Prada helped to design Daisy’s wardrobe. According to Vogue UK in a story by Elle Alexander, “(Miuccia) Prada worked with costume designer Catherine Martin to create over 40 looks for the movie, each inspired by styles from the Prada and Miu Miu archive.”
So darlings, drape yourself in yards of pearls and satin, and get ready to shimmy the summer away “Gatsby Style”. The movie is scheduled to open May 10th.