Other than my entries on Bond, I don’t think I’ve covered a franchise on the blog! Let’s discuss Poirot’s latest excursion as well as a few fun streams we’ve done the past month.
As campy and CGI-heavy as it was, I actually enjoyed Murder on the Orient Express— at least from what I can remember There’s just something special about mid-films like this, where it balances melodrama with decent period costuming. I don’t really feel the need to cover anything serious on here, since I’m not really a serious person! With that in mind, it only made sense to watch Branagh’s sequel Death on the Nile. It’s hard to believe that Murder came out five years ago; the blog (and I) have gone through so much since then!
I’ve softened up on my critiques of period costuming, especially considering how my own style has evolved to mimic the ideas of old eras through the use combining true vintage with contemporary pieces. My approach to style is similar to what Paco Delgado (the costumer designer for DOTN) did for this film: to have clothes that nod to a period and produce a vibe while still being fresh.
As a result, I actually liked some of the looks from this film! It’s set in the summer of 1937, which means we get a lot of linens and spectator shoes rather than the sweaters and tweeds we got last time. I don’t think I have to tell you that summer menswear is never as interesting as fall/winter. Nevertheless, the outfits worn by the characters aren’t too bad! What stood out to me most was the cut; everything looked well proportioned and clean (which was not the case in films like Gangster Squad). Everyone in this film is a part of the bourgeoise, so the tailoring here leans a lot more on the formal-resort side. At times the movie costuming feels very Ralph. In any case, it’s fun to see the dark and formal Poirot wear something light for once! I think that Gatsby should have taken a few cues from this film.
Obviously the film wasn’t particularly great, so I don’t recommend that you watch it unless it comes on a streaming service— or you can do like I do and get an AMC A-list membership and watch almost as many theatrical movies as you’d like. Branagh and his posse made a few updates to the film, which doesn’t impact the basic story. The murderer is exactly who you think it is.
I’ve included the major outfits of the film below so you can judge whether or not the style is guilty (of being bad).
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Here’s what you missed out on if you don’t get to watch us live (and perhaps even contribute to the conversation).
Inspired by al the tier lists we see on the internet (we are fans of Smash Bros. after all), we decided to do a loafer ranking on stream. There were no rules and no parameters— just pure, gut reactions to the loafers submitted to us via Instagram and our Discord. It might have done us some good to develop some metrics (or stuck to one style of loafer) but you have to remember that outside of the Aldens and thrifted Allen Edmond’s I’ve owned, I have only seen the other loafers on the internet. Gut reactions on the last and design is all I have!
Keep that in mind as you watch our totally biased and ridiculous ranking of some of menswear’s favorite loafers.
It can be dry on weeks that we don’t have podcast episodes (or at least ones that inspire additional discussion), so for this one MJ and I simply took a look through some of the recent lookbooks and postings from our favorite brands.
We started off by checking out ALD’s vintage shop, which honestly looks like a well curated eBay list that has a bit of premium pricing. It’s not surprising to see how vintage Ralph inspires a lot of Teddy’s brand. The next stop was J. Crew and Noah, whose latest editorials look very similar to each other. The post-pandemic merger of menswear is still very real. I think some of it can be explained by the fact that Emile Hawkin, partner of menswear writer David Coggins, is the editorial director of J. Crew; it’s not surprising that J. Crew’s updated vibe feels like Drake’s, ALD, and Noah put together. I’m still not a fan of the Ludlow, but I’ve always appreciated J. Crew’s casual options. It might be worth a visit, at least for some of the tees (I have enough chinos and chore coats).
The last part of the stream was a fun look through r/Malefashionadvice, specifically the top 100 posts from WAYWT circa 2015 and 2016. We’ve talked a lot about the shifts in fashion, specifically from the people who enjoy menswear and wear it more as as a personal hobby rather than purely for function. Despite it being so personal, there are clear trends from year to year and their popularity is evident from the upvotes they received. It’s just so interesting to see how menswear (on MFA at least) has changed, from the specific pieces (Common Projects, slim chinos) to the “power users” themselves. What a trip down memory lane!
Last but certainly not least, we have a discussion with us and Henrik about the Vibe Shift as detailed by this article from The Cut. It’s a bit of an odd read that is certainly pertinent, considering with the previous stream’s discussion on the shift of MFA. I know that the blog/stream/podcast have mainly been about my personal experience and thoughts on menswear, but it’s become increasingly obvious that a lot of my issues and debates come from differences in generation, which in turn influence how we see and take part in culture. The Vibe Shift article might show why people in “power” (or the older generation) feel threatened or anxious about how things change.
I’ve always been a nerd and a bit of an outcast with my weird taste, so I’ve never felt the need to keep up with being “cool”. MJ, Spencer, and I have always liked what we liked and despite the journeys we’ve all taken, I think we’ve just gotten better at expressing it (cinematically). We still do consume what’s cool and take note (we use the internet after all), but it’s still odd to see such resistance in menswear when this sort of thing has been happening for a long time.
Henrik does remark that this can be a problem in terms of future culture, as these shifts are not simply regressions. The callbacks in culture are much more shallow and based on aesthetic enjoyment rather than springing from a natural narrative. I have to admit that is problematic, though as a young person it simply provides me with more things to enjoy.
I have no power to lose and the culture changing does nothing to my social capital, though it’s interesting to see how the audience of my blog has changed. It’s not that I write for different people, but clearly different types (and generations) of clothing enthusiasts have followed me, echoing perhaps my own personal journey and “vibe shifts”.
Anyway, the stream itself is as convoluted as the article. Take a watch and let me know what you think. Maybe I should have more discussions on culture, though I hear W. David Marx is starting a newsletter on this. He’ll probably handle it better than I!
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EthanMWong | StyleandDirection
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The costumes for Death on The Nile were good- too good in fact. It was fun picking out which fashion plates and Apparel Arts illustrations were used as inspiration, but I feel it was at the expense of the characterization of the characters, as Christie wrote her characters in a specific way, and used clothing to convey personality. The the period music used was also good, but if I want a really good adaption, I’ll watch the 1978 film with Peter Ustinov and Mia Farrow
I’ll have to see this Kenneth B. version of “Death On The Nile.” His spin on “Orient Express” was plenty engaging, but it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around seeing anyone in the role of Poirot other than David Suchet. The TV show version he was in for like 25 years beginning in the late-80s had some incredible costumes, all likely even more period-accurate for the ’30s than any of the Hollywood takes — tho I’d defer to your expertise on whether that’s right. (While the Poirot books stretch over several decades and the character ages through time, the show had Suchet playing the detective in a suspended 1936 for about a quarter century.)
Great post, as ever.