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True Romance: fashion’s latest film inspiration

What’s your favourite Quentin Tarantino look? Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction right? Uh-uh. This season that would be the wrong answer. Right now in fashion, True Romance, the 1993 film that Tarantino wrote, is fashion’s favourite reference. The misadventures of Christian Slater’s Clarence and Patricia Arquette’s Alabama – and, more importantly, what they wear along the way – are totally on-trend. Part Girls’ chaotic floordrobe dressing, part Lana Del Rey road trip, all through the prism of the 90s and with a crucial element of sun-bleached Saint Laurent-patented Rose Bowl thrift chic, it’s a look worth studying. Dazed  Confused and Vice already have, and Charli XCX has an album of the same title. With the film back in cinemas this week, here’s what we can learn from Clarence and Bam’s getaway outfit. As Alabama herself might murmur, they’re so cool.

The Hawaiian shirt

A word to the wise, men. Hawaiian shirts are no longer the preserve of the slightly-gone-to-seed Vince-Vaughn-character-on-holiday type. Instead, they’re a Saint-Laurent-approved thrift-find to pick up at your local vintage store. Clarence would probably credit Elvis in 1961’s Blue Hawaii, but feel free to think Al Pacino in Scarface (Tarantino would totally get the reference). Sure, there might be more crispy brown leaves than hibiscus flowers outside, but a Hawaiian shirt lets the sunshine in. And you’ll have it for next summer too.

The faded denim

True Romance is a 90s film and, true to form, it has the jeans to match; exactly the kind that denim insiders wear now. To visit Clarence’s dad, Alabama wears hers with black Converse All Stars, a hoody and a leopard-print faux- fur coat. It’s, frankly, an awesome look, perfect for performing handstands in a trailer park and french kissing your father-in-law. This is a gender-neutral trend – men can wear these jeans too. Clarence’s are the exact shade and shape that summed up the decade – mid-blue and slouchy.


Patricia Arquette in pony-print miniskirt and Bardot top, and Christian Slater in faded jeans, in True Romance. Photograph: PR

The Bardot top

Sure, it’s named after Brigitte but the “Bardot” – the off-the-shoulder top that caused the internet to break down, with women feverishly rushing to buy it this summer – could just as easily have been christened the Alabama. As part of her bombshell wardrobe, Arquette’s character wears Bardots throughout the film, even changing into one for that rather, erm, notorious scene in the phone box. Her turquoise chiffon Bardot with the neon crustations embroidered on it has a touch of the cult London label Shrimps about it. Extra points for the visible bra – underwear as outerwear is totally a thing for SS16.

The leopard print

Any animal-print aficionado worth their salt recognises that Alabama Worley is one of their own. Her wardrobe is jam-packed full of the stuff – from a pony-print miniskirt to pink-leopard skinny jeans and the leopard-print faux- fur coat worn throughout. It’s not an exaggeration to say this coat is in the pantheon of animal-print classics, up there with Bet Lynch’s full-leopard look, and Eartha Kitt’s leopard-print-accessorised-with-leopard moment. With animal print now a fashion classic, Alabama’s pile-it-on approach is admirable.


Faux-fur, slouchy jeans and hoodies … Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater in True Romance. Photograph: Allstar/Warner Bros

The haircut

With the 70s still riding high, Alabama’s tonged bob gives Kirsten Dunst’s waves in Fargo a run for their money. It’s a bit Farrah Fawcett, some Gwen Stefani, a smidge of Léa Seydoux in Spectre and a lot Gucci, as seen by Alessandro Michele. Glamorous but in a “shades, convertible and cheeseburger” rather than “champagne and caviar” way.


Patricia Arquette in Bardot top, leopard-print trousers and with box bag in True Romance. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex Feature

The bag

Box bags, as every fashion fan knows, are totally Prada. As such, they are always on trend, but perhaps even more so now. In bright pastel colours, just like Alabama’s, they were the diktat on the Prada catwalk this season. Bam wears her pink one with a kind of Jayne Mansfield-on-acid get-up while Prada’s take is more mid-century modern. It’s your call, but I think we all know which one goes better with a purple Cadillac.

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