Just as the style of Francis Ford Coppola’s classic The Godfather is all about Michael, the look of Oliver Stone’s financial ‘Icarus’ story Wall Street is defined by another gentleman of the same name — Michael Douglas, the actor who channelled rapacious insider-trading corporate raider, Gordon Gekko.
Gekko’s gear, which ate up almost a fifth of the 1987 film’s wardrobe budget, was created at the behest of legendary Hollywood costume director Ellen Mirojnick by New York arbiter elegantiarum, Alan Flusser. Flusser isn’t strictly a designer, though he does design clothes (and indeed, picked up the 1985 Coty Award for America’s Best Menswear Designer). Nor is he a tailor, despite the fact you’ll find his name above the door at a 48th Street custom menswear shop. Instead, Alan Flusser could more accurately be described as a gentlemen’s garment guru, a haberdashery swami, a menswear spirit guide. Which is exactly the role he played dressing Douglas for what would turn out to be the actor’s most memorable role.
Flusser’s menswear how-to tome Dressing The Man is — alongside Bruce Boyer’s Elegance, Hardy Amies’ ABC of Men’s Fashion, and Bernhard Roetzel’s Gentleman — one of the key texts The Rake’s editors have referred to for men’s style wisdom ever since this publication’s foundation. Written, according to Flusser, in order to “inform, teach, educate, and generally demystify the rare art of masculine dressing”, we highly recommend you pick up a copy. Absorbing Flusser’s incisive advice on cut, colour, cloth, fit and proportion is like that scene in The Matrix where Neo emerges from a short spurt of intensive training and says, “I know kung fu.” Basically, reading Dressing The Man will make you a men’s style grandmaster.
Most of us have to study the sartorial arts. Flusser, meanwhile, was seemingly born with an innate gift. The son of a snappily-dressed real estate exec — “my father was something of a dandy,” Flusser once said, a man who “believed you had to look successful” to be successful — the adolescent Alan got his start giving out styling advice to those who sought it.