Style / November 2018

This Week We're Channelling: Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones has become renowned as one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history, not least for his trademark outfitting.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

Ask around and it becomes quickly apparent: there are few fictional characters as widely worshipped as Indiana Jones. The heroic archaeologist and adventurer, characterised by Harrison Ford in four films and counting, endures as a cultural icon thanks to his typification of that romanticised notion of the all-American male and his associated traits - brains, brawn and bravery.

A large part of Indiana Jones’ enduring appeal can be attributed to his beloved trademark style, which was expertly developed by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis and debuted in the first of the franchise’s films, Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Defined by a fabled felt fedora, battered brown leather jacket and sweat-stained linen shirt, it’s a look that has become firmly ingrained in popular culture and appropriated time and again, whether on the runway or at Halloween parties.

It should be acknowledged that Nadoolman Landis took inspiration for Indy’s costuming from Charlton Heston’s hardened adventurer character Harry Steele in Secret of the Incas (1954), but her adaptation of the outfit to the significantly more relatable character of ‘Indy’ was what made the ensemble so iconic - it represented a simultaneous softness and valiance. “He’s in brown because he works in the Earth; he’s brown because he’s approachable and vulnerable,” she told The Daily Beast. “He and the dust are the same colour.” There’s a certain timelessness to the earth tones and military-inspired details of Indiana Jones’ outfitting, allowing for easy replication – so while you may not possess the same whip-cracking skills as our hero, channelling such rugged style is perhaps the closest you’ll get to embodying him.


Aobh O'Brien-Moody