There is nothing better than a great movie at the brink of the fall season. But a great movie that features “fashion” in a brilliant and yet historically pleasant way, that is definitely worth talking about. Amsterdam, the star-filled movie directed by David O. Russel, debuted early October, with a storyline set in the 1930’s. According to Collider.com, “David O. Russell’s Amsterdam retells the almost-forgotten Business Plan: a shadowy operation that attempted a coup d’etat on American soil.” Though a very action packed, dramatic and suspense-filled film, the garments worn were indeed reminiscent of a time where class and sophistication helped shape the foundation of the fashion industry.
The cast of stars were unbelievable; with Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Robert De Niro, Zoe Saldaña, Taylor Swift, and Mike Myers. The era-specific fashion was absolutely stunning; showing the men in tailored suits, with vests, coordinated ties, and distinguished fedora hats. And the women, in the finest replicas of a fashionably sensational time period. Writer and Reviewer, Jael Rucker best described the fashion sense in the film in his article titled, The 1930s Style in ‘Amsterdam’ is a Must-See for Fans of Fashion History. “We (also) saw lace dresses, satin tops paired with waist high pencil skirts, long sleeve shift dresses, and vests instead of suit jackets. The velvet dresses were also a clue to this being set during the fall/winter as velvet is typically only worn during those months.”
Irma St. Clair, an attractive medical examiner, played by Zoe Saldaña, was the epitome of Black fashion and sophistication. With flattering lines, delicate touches of lace and intricate details such as buttons and sweet necklines, her character displayed the true essence and beauty of the 1930’s – especially as a Black woman.
The 1930’s was a time where in spite of the Depression, inequalities, and political uproar with wars and protests, the look of the people showed pride and dignity. Though described as minimalistic and simplistic, fashion in the 1930’s will always be viewed as stylish and classic. Both men and women wore complete ensembles from head to toe. Skirts and dresses were tailored to suit and flatter a woman’s body in such a way that was beautiful, graceful, and very appealing. Though many would claim that this era was non-expressive, many fashion historians would beg to differ. The expression was evident in the care of the garment worn. Unlike today, where we are in a constant rush and may not care if something is perfectly ironed or steamed, in the 1930’s, your name, walk and style described who you were or becoming.
The character played by Saldaña acquired the admiration of Burt Berendsen, played by Christian Bale. Burt Berendsen was a doctor who served in the U.S. military during World War I. He suffered an injury that left him with a prosthetic eye, which eventually led him to open a back alley clinic to help other veterans. His character is attracted to Irma St. Clair (Zoe Saldaña), a character worth being attracted to in such a powerful, yet feminine way. She played a medical examiner of great knowledge and poise, definitely indicative of her classic style.
Many in the fashion industry applaud the “ode to 1930’s fashion”, with this remarkable film that clearly showed the beauty of a people, especially African-Americans with Zoe Saldaña and John David Washington. Their realistic roles perfectly display the era in the walk, talk and fashion sense of the people.
Article Written by: Sabrina Espere Carrington @sabrinaespere| Born and raised in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., Sabrina Espere Carrington has always been around creatives, writers, artists and powerful women in business. As a little girl, Sabrina enjoyed writing poetry and even short stories. Little did she know that she would grow to love writing and have the desire to become a columnist/magazine writer. In addition to her writing, Sabrina is also a motivational speaker and Women’s Empowerment Coach. She has been featured on numerous podcasts, live talk shows, and radio broadcasts. Since the Pandemic, Sabrina has been a sought after expert- giving advice and encouragement to listeners around the world. She has been interviewed by some of the best hosts in the media. Read more of Sabrina’s articles here.