“She came in and the costume lady on Annie Hall said, ‘Tell her not to wear that. She can’t wear that. It’s so crazy.’ And I said, ‘Leave her. She’s a genius. Let’s just leave her alone, let her wear what she wants.”
Made famous through her roles in a series of Woody Allen films in the 1970s, actress Diane Keaton’s celebrity helped popularize the menswear as womenswear phenomenon. She may not have pioneered this trend but she certainly made it famous, with Allen’s 1977 romantic comedy, Annie Hall, as her ultimate campaign. Throughout the past 40 years, Ms. Keaton has carried her signature vintage tomboy look with her, and her style ranks pretty high on our list of style influences.
Diane Keaton began her career in the late 1960s in New York City, landing a role in the hippie musical, Hair. Fortunately, her self-deprecating charm and penchant for ties and bowler hats caught Woody Allen’s eye, and she became his sidekick for the better part of the ’70s. It didn’t take long for the Los Angeles native to become known for her decidedly buttoned-up, androgynous style in films like Annie Hall and Play It Again, Sam.
Keaton’s outfits in Annie Hall were her own vision. In her recently released autobiography, Then Again, Keaton recalls Allen’s instruction: “Woody’s direction was the same. Loosen up the dialogue. Forget the marks. Move around like a real person. Don’t make too much of the words, and wear what you want to wear. Wear what you want to wear? That was a first. So I did what Woody said: I wore what I wanted to wear, or, rather, I stole what I wanted to wear from cool-looking women on the streets of New York. Annie’s khaki pants, vests, and tie came from them. I stole the hat from Aurore Clément, Dean Tavoularis’s future wife, who showed up on the set of The Godfather: Part II one day wearing a man’s slouchy bolero pulled down low over her forehead. Aurore’s hat put the finishing touch on the so-called Annie Hall look. Aurore had style, but so did all the street-chic women livening up SoHo in the mid-seventies. They were the real costume designers of Annie Hall”.
And according to Woody Allen, “She came in and the costume lady on Annie Hall said, ‘Tell her not to wear that. She can’t wear that. It’s so crazy.’ And I said, ‘Leave her. She’s a genius. Let’s just leave her alone, let her wear what she wants”.
Ralph Lauren received costume credit in the film’s titles and Annie Hall’s iconic men’s tie, which was Ralph Lauren, resulted in the brand enjoying a massive spike in tie sales as women recreated the look.The traditionally masculine tailoring touches and slightly oversized, boxy fit were in keeping with Ralph Lauren’s concept of the the time and definitive of a very specific mood, era, and Lower Manhattan location.
Hollywood now lives in an era of celebrity stylists, and it seems every emerging starlet now has her own personal glam squad. It’s hard to tell which stars actually have a sense of style and which ones simply have enough money to look like it. But, in the seventies the then cinematic neophyte, Diane Keaton, dressed herself in her own style and did so with great aplomb and even a little humor. She revolutionized the way women dress and may singlehandedly be the reason our closets are chocked full of baggy chinos. She always shows up looking fabulous and quintessentially Keaton and now, with a new book and her first modeling contract which she signed at the age of sixty-five, Keaton’s star is shining brighter than ever; but that’s a whole other post. For now, we’ll choose to focus on the Diane Keaton of the 1970s, a woman who was always leaps and bounds ahead of her time.