Stories / January 2019

This Week We're Channelling: Yuri Zhivago in Doctor Zhivago

When it comes to winter styling, we’re turning to the perennially impressive Doctor Zhivago for a lesson in dressing rakishly for the elements.

Julie Christie and Omar Sharif star in David Lean's fabulously fashionable Doctor Zhivago (1965).

Doctor Zhivago (1965) is a veritable winter classic, renowned for its sweepingly epic storyline, gorgeous cinematography and magnificent style, no less. Spanning 30 years of Russian history, David Lean’s iconic piece of cinematic artistry stars Omar Sharif in one of his greatest roles - as Yuri Zhivago, a physician torn between two passions and fighting for a forbidden love in the form of a beautiful woman called Lara Antipova (played terrifically by the ever glamorous Julie Christie).

It’s no surprise that the film’s costume designer Phyllis Dalton took out the Academy Award for Best Costume Design: against a bleak, snowy backdrop, the superb outfitting in Doctor Zhivago adds ounces of romance and splendour. Sumptuous outerwear, elegant fur hats and luxurious leather gloves and boots help to set the tone, whilst inevitably providing plenty in the way of winter wardrobe inspiration.

Such style is undoubtedly the result of necessity: in the biting Russian winter, our characters have no choice but to embrace layers and rely on thick, chunky fabrics. In saying this, it pays to take note of the utter elegance with which this is achieved - there is not an Ugg boot or fleece tracksuit in sight. Yuri Zhivago’s refined approach is particularly impressive: Dalton opted for a palette of muted tones - featuring shades of predominantly greys, browns and blacks - in order to help convey Zhivago’s air of sophistication. Central to his sartorial success is his rotating series of coats, most of which are double-breasted, long and belted, occasionally with the addition of a fur collar. Underneath, he sports woollen trousers and luxurious knitted turtleneck jumpers, effortlessly marrying style with functionality. In terms of accessories, a hat, scarf and gloves are indispensable elements worn throughout with a rakish nonchalance.

When it comes to channelling Doctor Zhivago’s style, one’s choice in fabrics is key. Opt for items in high-quality wools and leathers with minimal design to ensure their endurance for winters to come. Not sure where to start? You are guaranteed to exude elegance with classic cuts from beloved labels such as Rubinacci, Salvatore Piccolo and Ludwig Reiter. Now all you need is a passionate love affair to really bring the heat.  

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Aobh O'Brien-Moody