(Kuntzel and Deygas’s title sequence in Steven Spielberg’s drama thriller Catch Me If You Can , music by John Williams.)
I remember seeing great movies when I was a young child in the 90s, the kind of movies that was a real experience and a joy, where you sit up and say to yourself – now this is really put together! It’s a shame that I actually can’t name many of these off the top of my head, though I could safely say that Gone with the Wind, the old Star Wars trilogy, The Matrix (I was quite young, so) were among them, as well as some TV films and smaller films such as The Cure (1995) which I watched many times during the summers. As I grew older, these experiences became few and far between, and the big blockbusters almost always left me feeling disappointed; which led me to wonder whether it was actually a result of my growing up and becoming more critical as well as less sensitive to movie tricks, rather than a reflection on the quality of the new productions – and the thought bothered me not a little, because I missed the feeling of seeing a good movie.
But Catch Me if You Can (I think I saw it on DVD at home in 2002 with my parents), directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, was a change to that gloom; because this time I enjoyed this film thoroughly, absolutely thoroughly – so I guess…I was still capable of liking a new movie!
I think that one of the great things about Catch Me If You Can is its costumes, which focus on the bewildering new jet-setting glamour of the 1960s, following the path of the con artist young Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio), who poses as a Pan American World Airways pilot to steal millions of dollars by forging Pan Am pay checks, as well as to fly around the world for free on the airline’s “jump seat”. Those are the heyday of airline glamour and pilots and flight attendants are the epitome of the dashing and darling. The uniform suits, pencil skirts, white gloves, and little hats are painstakingly neat and chic, and dazzle young Frank’s eyes as he first watches the pilots and stewardesses in their full glamorous glory in the movie. Apparently Frank isn’t the only one who is dazzled – the whole America is. Later when Frank “becomes” a Pan Am pilot, little girls would ask to shake his hand in the street in admiration; and on the run, he would be able to divert the attention of FBI agents by walking with eight attractive stewardesses – everyone (and I mean everyone)’s eyes are on the girls, never saw anyone looking so good!
Here’s the scene where he escapes the FBI at the Miami airport, surrounded by the Pan Am girls.:
My outfit is inspired by both Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Frank and the 60s Pan Am flight attendant uniform. The darker colour and metal belt clasp correspond to Frank’s pilot uniform elements, while the knee-length 60s style high-waist pencil skirt and the pumps take after the Pan Am ladies.
I have used the blue straw cocktail hat as a romanticised version of Pan Am flight attendant’s pillbox hat. I had the hat quite a long time ago when I was first starting to source for my Pretty Bones Jefferson boutique, and have finally got it listed in the shop this week. It’s such a darling little hat with white netting face veil and a bow in the back. I’ve tried to find out more about the maker “Bermona” but I haven’t been able to get much information, except that they were an English hat making business and had been around since at least the 60s. I’d like to narrow down on the hat’s era more, so I’m hoping to get some help from fellow vintage sellers on Etsy who have more expertise on dating vintage hats than I do – hats are tricky! But for now late 60s/early 70s will do for the dating.
As for the pencil skirt, I have really surprised myself by how much I loved wearing it during the photoshoot. Pencil skirts are addictive. These little steps take some getting used to but are so fun and…pretty! I guess ladies in the 60s (including Marilyn Monroe) didn’t wear pencil skirts for no reason. This skirt is a bit big for me (it’s a 26″ – 28″ waist with 38″ hips), so I think it’ll look even better on someone of the right size, as it is so well tailored and is supposed to be fitting. You can read more about the skirt’s measurements and details on the listing here at my Pretty Bones Jefferson boutique.
The maker, “Jobis” is a German designer company and I think they’re still in business in Germany.
(Skirt: vintage 80s black wool pencil skirt, available in shop, 27 USD
Hat: vintage 60s/70s, Pauline for BERMONA, made in England, available in my shop, 35 USD
Earrings: vintage clip-ons
Shirt: unknown non-vintage, thrifted
Belt: can’t remember…
(Photos by JEG)