The glamour, glitz and excitement of gambling has led to the making of many classic casino films over the years. These in turn have shaped fashion trends that have been adored by generations. We take a look at the iconic outfits that have held their own against a backdrop of blinking slots and spinning roulette wheels.
Our first casino film that wins the fashion stakes hands-down is Casino, which hit our screens in 1995. The American epic was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci. What many don’t know is that the film was based on the nonfiction book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, written by Nicholas Pileggi.
It is the story of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a skilled handicapper who manages the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas for the Chicago Outfit. The film details Ace’s operation of the casino, the difficulties he confronts in his job, the Mafia’s involvement with the casino, and the gradual breakdown of his relationship with his wife Ginger McKenna (played by Sharon Stone) as well as his reputation in the industry. Stone took home a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role in the film.
Casino packs a fashion punch
We meet Ginger for the first time at the craps table. She’s wearing an eye-catching white halter neck beaded mini dress with a keyhole neckline and her hair is classic sixties. This is the first of a series of breathtaking outfits that underline Ginger’s rising fortunes and her eventual demise. The film’s costume budget was $1 million and included 70 costume changes for De Niro and 40 unique outfits for Stone.
The design theme used to highlight Ginger as a high-roller was liberal use of the colour gold with three standout dresses: the white halter neck mini with gold keyhole neckline as well as a sparkling gold and white striped maxi, again with halter neck. The third was a nude embroidered net evening gown with a gold beaded grapevine design, created by Bob Mackie and auctioned at Christie’s New York in November 2005.
How to get the look
The halter neck keeps making a comeback and with good reason. Its dramatic back-bearing silhouette and daring vibe recalls summer holidays sipping piña colada by the sea, sun kissed shoulders and the wild spirit of the sixties. Head for your favourite casino and play slots like pro in a taupe-coloured halter neck. Pair the top with black trousers and gold jewellery, and let loose your inner Ginger!
The 2006 James Bond blockbuster, Casino Royale, was the first film to star Daniel Craig. It was also a reboot of the series, showing a less experienced and more vulnerable Bond at the beginning of his career as Agent 007. Bond is on a mission to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. The spy falls for Vesper Lynd, a treasury employee who supplies him with the money he needs for the game. This film earned £470 million at the box office and set more than a few fashion trends.
Style classics a la Casino Royale
Whether you’re into online scratchcard games, bingo or high-stakes poker, most players have a favourite item of clothing that brings them good luck or at least allows them to feel more confident at the tables.
For James Bond it’s the tuxedo. In the opening scene, 007 is at the poker table and you can cut the tension with a knife as he faces off against villain, Le Chiffre. Bond’s tuxedo not only shows off his ready-for-action physique, it tells the observer in no uncertain terms that this is a man who is extremely confident and willing to settle for nothing less than first prize. The perfectly cut, expertly worn tuxedo tells us that James Bond has no intention of losing.
How to get the look
So you play the slots and online bingo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t step out now and then to a land-based casino. As online gambling keeps soaring to new heights of popularity, more players are attracted to a night out at their local casino. So, if you have attitude and you’re cool under pressure, the classic tux is your licence to thrill. Here’s how to do it.
Only ever wear a tux after six in the evening. Stick to a clean, classic midnight blue or black tuxedo with a notch lapel, single-breasted jacket and trousers with a silk stripe down the outside of each leg; no cuff. Less is more when it comes to choosing a shirt. You can opt for either a traditional point collar or wing collar which shows the band of the bowtie around the neck. The tuxedo shirt should always have French cuffs with cufflinks to complete the look. Now all you need is a classic bowtie, a pocket square, cummerbund (pleats facing up) or vest, and highly polished Oxfords.
Lucky You came out in 2007 and stars Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore and Robert Duvall. Shot on location in Las Vegas, the film was inspired by George Stevens’ 1970 film The Only Game in Town. Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) is a young and talented poker player haunted by his relationship with his estranged father, L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall), who is a two-time World Series of Poker Champion.
Huck needs $10,000 to get a seat in the World Series of Poker Main Event and the film follows the twists and turns as Huck plays for his entry fee. When he eventually does enter the World Series, both he and his father advance to the final table of nine. Huck, in third place, deliberately folds a winning hand and his father goes out in second place, losing to Jason Keyes who had won his entry in an online satellite tournament. The film ends with father and son facing off in a one-on-one rematch, playing for loose change. Their relationship is restored and Huck patches things up with Billie (Drew Barrymore).
Mod casino wear inspiration
In real life, pretty much anything goes when it comes to casino wear. Evening events can be a glamorous affair while many patrons go with whatever’s comfy for them. If you usually play scratchcard games and you think you’d like to step up to the roulette table at your local land casino, you’re not likely to want to splurge on a whole new set of glad rags, and you don’t have to.
This is what we love about the fashions in Lucky You. Drew Barrymore’s simple silhouette is well within the reach of most budgets. One of her first outfits in the film as she watches Huck at the poker table, is a tight wine red cardigan and pencil skirt which shows off her hourglass figure to perfection. Two other winning looks are a red slit-sleeve dress with plunging neckline and a black lace dress with mandarin collar and sexy side slit.
How to get the look
You’re bound to have a cardigan in your wardrobe. Leave the top buttons open and team with skinny jeans and black pumps. If opting for a red dress, choose a simple silhouette and keep jewellery to a minimum. To complete the lacy black dress, slide on a pair of knockout black stilettos and complete with a pair of gorgeous gold earrings.
This film doesn’t need much of an introduction. You’ve probably seen it more than once. The 2001 heist film was a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film of the same name. This time it follows George Clooney (Danny Ocean), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, Bernie Mac and Julia Roberts as their characters plan a heist of $150 million from casino owner Terry Benedict (García), the lover of Ocean’s wife Tess (Roberts).
A smorgasbord of menswear
Ultimately, it was the suits that won the day in the Ocean’s Eleven fashion stakes. Although George Clooney pulled off the classic suit with suave sophistication, it’s Brad Pitt who inspires our next look with a new take on tailoring that wouldn’t be out of place in any casino today. Even if you only play bingo and casino games online, it’s a suit that can do duty on just about any occasion when you need to look your best so it’s worth the splurge.
Pitt plays Rusty Ryan, a hustler and casino heister. It’s Las Vegas, Spring 2001 and Rusty is wearing a luxurious light gray summer suit in lightweight soft cotton. Rusty’s look is a nod to the suits of the 1930s with a touch of modern luxury.
Get the look
Of course, this suit was specifically tailored to show off Pitt’s superior physique but this is also the reason men keep coming back to the suit. Any guy can look like a million bucks in a jacket padded with roped sleeve heads to perfectly accentuate the shoulders. If you want to do it like Brad make sure the jacket tapers to the waist, has curved front darts extending out from each armpit down the front of the jacket, and a ventless rear that keeps the fit close to the torso really is key. The look does well with flat front darted trousers and a blue, gray or white shirt with large point collar and unfastened single French cuffs. Opt for light brown dress socks and plain-toe shoes. The silver pinky ring is optional.
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