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STYLE AND CULTURE
STYLE LESSONS FROM SCI-FI FILMS
By Steven Potter, 9 February 2019
Incredible special effects, worryingly accurate dystopian futures, spaceships... Sci-fi has it all – including an absolute gold mine of style lessons. With metallics, neon and utility all big trends for SS19, we thought we’d take a look at seven of sci-fi's most influential films and rinse them for all of the futuristic inspiration we can. May the steez be with you.
Using a combination of backlit animation, computer graphics and live-action elements, 1982’s TRON was revolutionary for its time. Jeff Bridges plays Kevin Flynn, a programmer who's sucked into a virtual world inside a computer that's inhabited by some pretty menacing, neon-highlighted programs who attempt to pixelate him into oblivion with weird discs, obvs.
You can channel the same futuristic vibe of the Oscar-nominated costumes in the 2019 mainframe, albeit in a more considered way. Just take this street-styler above in an Off-White mac, complete with neon orange trims for example.
Is this all real? A question never asked by the masses until 1999’s The Matrix made its way into cinemas, dazzling moviegoers with lightning-quick action sequences, never-before-seen slo-mo shots and lots of rain. Keanu Reeves plays Neo, who learns the truth that reality is just a simulation created by robot overlords who have forced the last free humans underground (while enslaving the rest as tasty treats).
Slick hair and slicker action sequences are one thing, but no film has done more for leather longline trench coats than The Matrix and its accompanying sequels. With 90s influence our current-day trend overlord, now is the time to get in on that leather action. Take a cue from this street-styler and layer up in a statement trench. If you run really fast, it does that cool flappy thing behind you. Who needs special effects?
The Fifth Element
Set in a claustrophobic and overpopulated future, The Fifth Element follows Bruce Willis as the hilariously done-with-this-BS Korben Dallas, who unwittingly saves the universe’s last-remaining hope, Leeloo (played by Milla Jovovich). Cue an action-packed jaunt across the stars as Dallas and accompanying space monks – yeah, that’s right – are charged with Leeloo’s safety as they’re relentlessly pursued by Gary Oldman's Zorg and some half-pig, half-alien mercenaries.
Farm animal mutants aside, what's the stye lesson? Take some inspo from Leeloo’s getup and get into hardware. Chest rigs and cross-body bags are key pieces for 2019’s utility trend, so why not do both like this stylish chap? With plenty of zipped-up storage, he’s looking fully prepared for an adventure of his own. Just swap ‘galaxy’ for ‘fashion week after parties’.
2001: A Space Odyssey
First released in 1968 and set 19 years ago (which back in the 60s was, apparently, futuristic), Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey blends science fiction with a radical idea around evolution. The sci-fi epic chronicles five astronauts' galaxy-crossing adventure in search of strange monoliths that may answer the question of mankind’s very existence. Sounds straightforward until the ship's all-knowing supercomputer starts kicking off halfway there.
The visuals in 2001: A Space Odyssey were quite the trip. The ultra-sterile white of the main ship’s interior is occasionally broken up by the astronauts' space suits, decked out in eye-catching primary colours. With bold hues being big news for SS19, follow in the film's bright footsteps and flex a ‘fit like the street-styler above, making use of not one but two primary colours.
Post-Star Wars Harrison Ford stars in Blade Runner as Rick Deckard, an ex-police officer charged with hunting down human replicants (AKA clones) who perform manual labour on faraway planets. 1982’s vision of a 2019 LA sees an overpopulated neon-drenched cityscape that Deckard has to navigate in order to find and terminate four replicants, who have illegally returned to earth to fight back against the company that created them.
Shielding Deckard from stormy weather and even stormier encounters is a lesson in 2019 tonal layering. Decked out in a heavy-duty trench with earthy-toned layers underneath, the look plays seamlessly into the muted colour palette currently accompanying the more in-your-face neon movement. The street-styler above is clearly tapping into his inner blade runner with a layered getup in all the same shades. A 2019 'fit, predicted in 1982, spotted in 2019. Ideal.
Gattaca tells the story of a brutally unfair society that deems its citizens' worth by genetics. Ethan Hawke's character Vincent Freeman, who was born with a heart condition, dupes his way up the social scale by using another man’s ‘perfect’ DNA in order to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. All is well until a murder prompts an investigation, risking the exposure of Freeman’s genetic tampering.
With perfect DNA comes slick suiting, apparently. Kitted out in exquisitely tailored pieces, the film's costumes mirror the 'perfect DNA' premise of the plot. For 2019, tailoring is all about choice – thankfully – with boxy and tailored cuts filling SS19 runways. So make like this street-styler and ditch your joggers in favour of a sharp suit, dressed down with a high-collared shirt underneath.
We're heading to a near-future Australia now, where the roads are ruled by ruthless (and stylishly dressed) motorcycle gangs. Step up Mel Gibson in Mad Max, playing a policeman who’s out for revenge against the gang that took his family away from him. Now, we’re not sure why leather jackets are standard issue for the Australian police force of the future, but... sign us up! We all know car chases are made 400% better by drivers wearing leather jackets, anyway.
For such a bleak, dystopian premise, it’s surprisingly easy/steezy to imitate Mad Max’s renegade style. Take the guy above patrolling the streets of London in an always-cool leather jacket paired with rebellious ripped jeans, sunglasses and a bandanna neckerchief. It’s as if he just stepped out of Max's own ride to ruthlessly pursue the next big trends at fashion week.
A new sci-fi epic due for release in May this year, High Life follows Robert Pattinson and André Benjamin (AKA André 3000) as crew members of a spaceship made up of death row inmates participating in an experiment. The film centres around Pattinson's character Monte and his daughter as they struggle to live in isolation in deep space as the true nature of the mission is revealed.
If we were hurtling towards a black hole, we’d want to be comfy, too, right? Channelling some serious post-Yeezy vibes, the crew represent in tonal, relaxed sweats as they navigate the far reaches of the universe. Channel the same look (minus the perilous journey) by adding some sweats and a laid-back tee to your everyday line-up, just like the guy above snapped in London. Comfort is key, after all.