Of all the "Gatsby" partnerships, Brooks Bros.' 53-piece menswear collection may be the most high-profile — and most authentic.
"F. Scott Fitzgerald was actually a Brooks Bros. customer," said Arthur Wayne, vice president of global public relations for Brooks Bros.
Wayne also pointed out that while "The Great Gatsby" doesn't explicitly mention the 195-year-old label, Fitzgerald's debut 1920 novel, "This Side of Paradise," does, pointing to a passage in which one character advises another: "You must go to Brooks and get some really nice suits."
Thanks to the "Brooks Bros. for 'The Great Gatsby'" collection, which hit the clothier's retail stores and website April 15, a fellow wishing to follow that advice can avail himself of a range of colorful, 1920s-flavored tuxedos, suits, suit separates, shirts, neckties, shoes and accessories directly inspired by Catherine Martin's costumes for the Baz Luhrmann film — costumes that were, in turn, based on pieces in Brooks' own archives.
"Think of it as life imitating art imitating life," said Wayne, who made it clear that while Brooks Bros. opened its extensive digital archives to Martin — and produced some 2,291 items for the film's background cast and principals — the credit for what's seen on screen goes to Martin.
"These costumes were very much informed by our archives but designed by Catherine," he said. "This wasn't purely an archaeological dig; we took a lot of liberties. She wanted everything to have a big impact and feel very fresh and very cool in that very Baz Luhrmann way."
He noted that the Gatsby-inspired pieces are not exact matches of the costumes.
"We looked at what she had done and reinterpreted it a little bit to make things just a little bit more contemporary. For example, the pink suit [worn by Leonardo DiCaprio] in the movie is made from the same fabric, but some of the specific details of it would look very costume-y on an item sold in the store. What we ended up with is a range of pieces with a clear link to the film but that stands on its own."
The aforementioned pale pink linen jacket with subtle white stripes ($698) and matching linen trousers ($298) certainly wouldn't look out of place at a garden party circa 2013, and thanks to the overall timeless nature of men's formalwear, neither would the tuxedos (one-button, peak-lapel, center-vent jackets with silk faille details, $848, matching tuxedo trousers, $248) or ties ($60 to $98.50).
Although the same can't quite be said of the boldly striped regatta blazers (options include burgundy with white and navy blue stripes or navy blue with red and white stripes, $798), natty straw boaters ($198) and greyhound-headed beechwood walking sticks ($148), thanks to the resurgence of Ivy League style, even the most eye-catching pieces of the collection are on trend for spring.
To promote the collection and the film, select Brooks Bros. stores (including the Rodeo Drive flagship) will be featuring displays that include costumes worn in the film, which hits theaters May 10.
"Brooks Bros. for 'The Great Gatsby'" collection, available at 468 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, and at brooksbrothers.com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun