Style / May 2018

This Week We're Channelling: Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman

In Scent of a Woman, for which Al Pacino won his only Academy Award, there’s a particularly special scene whereby he performs the tango in a three-piece Prince of Wales check suit. Here’s how to channel the look.

The tango scene in Scent of a Woman took two weeks of practicing and three days of filming to perfect.

When it comes to performances that transfix you due to the convincing portrayal of a particularly complicated character, Al Pacino as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman (1992) sits at the vertex of the thespian mountain. His performance is method acting at its finest. Also, in a career that spans six decades, it’s his best one to date, if his sole Academy Award for Best Actor qualifies for such an achievement.

Frank Slade has more than a few complexities – he's blind and suicidal,  yet has the flair of a crude poet. This has, in turn, morphed him into a bitter, drunk and erratic old man who’s dependent on Jack (but to Slade, it’s John “when you’ve known him as long as I have") Daniels and loves a wisdom-dripping monologue. The plot is one of a stimulant-fuelled adventure that sees him take, against his will, a young Chris O’Donnell — a private school boy who innocently volunteers to babysit the retired officer so to earn money for a ticket home for Christmas — to New York City “on a tour of pleasures”.

Staying in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria, the young schoolboy wakes up to find Frank Slade in the midst of a fitting. Slade's adventure rakishly starts with a fitting for a made-to-measure suit designed by the defining authority of classical menswear, Alan Flusser (who also designed the wardrobe for Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street).



Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.