This Week We're Channelling: Don Shirley in Green Book

Peter Farrelly’s Oscar-winning Green Book is serving up serious ’60s sartorial inspiration. This week we turn to its protagonist Don Shirley for a lesson in refined elegance.
Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali star in Peter Farrelly's Academy Award winning Green Book (2018).

It was hardly a surprise that Peter Farrelly’s highly acclaimed hit Green Book (2018) walked away with the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars. Bothheartwarming and thought-provoking, the film chronicles the unlikely friendship that blossoms between African-American pianistDon Shirley(played byMahershala Ali) and his working-class Italian-American chauffeurdriver Tony Lip (played byViggo Mortensen) as the pair travel together on a tour through the American South in the early 1960s.

With criticisms of it being asaccharine and rose-tinted interpretation of racial tensions,the film has recently found itself at the centre of much debate. Amidst the controversy however, there is one thing that we can all agree on: Green Book’s styling is spot on. Betsy Heimann is to thank for the costume design, which reflects a distinct 60s quality in a way that feels timeless and accessible.Having polar opposite characters presented the opportunity to create starkly contrasting wardrobes, a challenge so eloquently embraced by Heimann, who depicted Don Shirley’s affluence and high social status through his refined and sophisticated sense of dress while giving Tony Lip a more middle-America look.


Aobh O'Brien-Moody


March 2019


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