Style icon: James Dean
By Matt Glazebrook, 24 September 2015
Some icon's style stars rise and fall with changing tastes while others – like James Dean’s – are pretty much always there, showing weary fashion travellers the magnetic north of classic male cool.
From his Hollywood breakthrough (and subsequent untimely death) in 1955, Dean has basically never not been considered a major menswear inspiration. But with the release this week of Anton Corbijn’s Life – telling the story of this friendship with Magnum photographer Dennis Stock – and the 6 October publication of photobook Dennis Stock: James Dean by Thames & Hudson, we thought it high time we took a closer a look at the late thesp’s wardrobe.
Dean’s sartorial reputation rests on timeless, masculine staples on-screen – his red Harrington jacket and white crew-neck tee in Rebel Without A Cause, the rugged Western workshirts in East Of Eden. Off-screen, he favoured a more bohemian, off-beat approach – round-lens glasses, rumpled suit jackets and Breton-striped tops. Together, these two facets made for a stylistic approach that’s both enduring and a lot more interesting than the 50s Hollywood bad-boy cliché suggests.