It is no secret why Philip Seymour Hoffman took out an Academy Award for his role in Bennett Miller’s 2005 biopic Capote: his performance as the illustrious, eccentric, unscrupulous and ultimately miserable American author doesn’t fall short of phenomenal. The film’s narrative itself – a retelling of the crucial period of Capote’s life during which he researched for and wrote his 1966 novel In Cold Blood – is riveting, wonderfully encapsulating the tension, betrayal and heartbreak of those years.
Yet, as captivated as we were by Hoffman’s acting prowess and the film’s intriguing series of events, there was another essential element that kept us glued to the screen. The styling of Hoffman as the sartorially adept Capote – renowned for his mastery of high-class socialite sophistication – is source for serious inspiration. The film’s costumer Kasia Walicka-Maimone successfully managed to replicate the author’s understated aesthetic through her considered combination of sharply tailored suits, elegant outerwear and luxurious knits.
The film opens at the peak of Capote’s career: as he glides through glittering soirees, flourishing his cigarette with one hand, languidly sipping whisky with the other, his polished dress reveals a man of confidence and composure; straight off the back of his success with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, he is preened to perfection in pinstriped suits, replete with wide lapels and classic silk ties. Even throughout his downfall in the film’s second half, he remains firmly in control of his style; such dapper and preppy attire perhaps acting as a front for his manipulative ways.