An ode to the louche aesthetic of the cult film
There are a handful of films that have had a revolutionary impact on menswear, and American Gigolo is definitely one of them. The cult 1980 classic is officially a neo-noir crime drama, starring Richard Gere as Julian Kaye—a worldly man about town who also happens to be a high-priced escort. But the film also served as a warning shot for the coming evolution in men's tailoring. The entire wardrobe, which by now you've likely heard, was designed by Giorgio Armani, who at the time was just on the verge of becoming an internationally known designer.
Armani's clothes had the highly sexed insouciance the film needed to convey the sun-soaked, louche aesthetic of Los Angeles in the '80s. He stripped away linings and cut the clothes from softer, lighter fabrics in relaxed silhouettes. It was a masterclass in combining casual and formalwear—proving that there's a cool elegance in a lazily rolled up shirt-sleeve or a suit jacket slung over a shoulder. Of course, the whole film is bathed in Julian's nonchalant style. He flaunts his stereo system; cruises around in a black Mercedes 450 SL convertible; he lovingly lays out his clothing on his bed while dabbing cocaine and singing along to Smokey Robinson. And for summer 2022, his wardrobe of breezy unbuttoned shirts, pleated pants and higher waisted denim suddenly feels very fresh again. We've pulled some pieces inspired by the film to help give you killer style.
1) Pleated cotton trousers, $150 by Wax London
2) Irish linen shirt, $158 by Todd Snyder
3) Braided stretch belt,
$75 / $64.99 by Ralph Lauren
4) Essential square watch,
$195 / $147.95 by Seiko
These are the actual frames Gere wore in the film. One of the few non-Armani pieces.
1) Tortoiseshell glasses, $165 by Color in Optics
2) Custom end-on-end shirt, $125 by Proper Cloth
3) Vintage 505 jeans, $36 by Levi's Secondhand
4) Striped belt, $48 by Leatherman Ltd.
1) Quarter-zip pullover,
$158 / $63 by Flint and Tinder
2) Armani Code fragrance, $77 by Giorgio Armani
3) Pasha de Cartier lighter, $1,320 by Cartier