Style Heroes: 1960s Alain Delon

French actor Alain Delon’s rebellious youth and disregard towards Hollywood speak volumes about his laissez-faire disposition – which was reflected, too, in how he dressed himself.
Alain Delon during the filming of Plein Soleil, 1960. Photo by Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.

There are few men in history who could wear a suit quite like Alain Delon. As his career began to flourish in the 1960s, there didn’t appear a man more confident in his abilities, nor more assured of his place at the top of the cinematic food chain. This confidence can be seen in his many diverse roles – from Tom Ripley in Plein Soleil (1960) to Jef Costello in Le Samourai (1967) – as well as in the many pictures of him swanning around the Riviera. Although he could, of course, have been far bigger.

Delon famously turned down Hollywood with his refusal to learn English, opting instead for a career in his homeland of France. This wasn’t the first rebellious move for him though; he was expelled from multiple schools and spent 11 months of his French military service in prison before being dishonourably discharged. This refusal to conform could be seen in the way Delon carried himself in his career, off-screen as well as with the way he wore his clothes. There was a certain nonchalance about him and you get the impression he really didn’t care about what he wore, unlike his older Hollywood counterparts Cary Grant and Clark Gable, who were undoubtedly sharp but a little pristine and polished.


June 2020


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