THE MOMENT: Annie Hall

For this weekly column, writer Mishal Cazmi highlights an iconic fashion film, item, or collaboration and explores its influence on style and pop culture. Above, Annie Hall‘s Diane Keaton (in Ralph Lauren tie given to her by Grammy Hall) with Woody Allen.

Ruth Morley was credited with designing the costumes for Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, but the wardrobe’s true essence, right down to many of its key pieces, originated with Diane Keaton. After the 1977 film, Keaton became known for her influential wardrobe almost as much as for her inspired performance. She became Woody Allen’s on-screen muse and a fashion icon for the rest of us.

In the movie, she wears vintage menswear—slacks, loose-fitting jackets, vests, fedoras, neckties—with complete conviction. She’s a master of layering, combining seemingly disparate separates into disheveled, effortless chic. “I love what you’re wearing,” Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, tells Annie Hall during their first meeting.

Allen himself was a fan of Keaton’s sartorial originality. In a 1995 interview, he is quoted as saying that Morley, the costume designer, objected to what Keaton wore to the set: “And I said, ’Leave her. She’s a genius…Let her wear what she wants.’”

Perhaps Newsweek’s film critic, Jack Kroll’s poetic précis of her character best explains the influence of Annie Hall: “Her throwaway verbal style and her thrown-together dress style became symbols of the free, friendly, gracefully puzzled young women who were busy creating identities out of the epic miscellany of materials swirling in the American cultural centrifuge.”

Fashionable women had been experimenting with menswear for decades—Marlene Dietrich wore ties and top hats in the ’30s, while Katharine Hepburn donned loose-fitting suits and crisp white shirts in the ’40s. In the ’60s, Yves Saint Laurent helped popularize the look with his famous “Le Smoking” jacket. But Diane Keaton’s Annie Hall introduced something new. Her clothes were less about politics (women becoming empowered in their expanding gender roles) and more about personal identity and self-expression.

The film popularized the menswear trend for women long before fast fashion furnished its racks with the boyfriend blazer, boyfriend jeans, or GAP khakis. You needn’t look far to recognize hints of Annie on and off the runway today. Her spirit lives on, in oxfords and bowler hats, crisp white shirts and dapper vests.

Before, during, and after Annie Hall’s influence, starting with a suited Katharine Hepburn in the ’40s.

Vogue Espana fashion shoot, inspired (quite literally, no?) by Annie Hall.

Vogue Paris’s take on Annie Hall.

Annie Hall’s influence, in the street.

Annie Hall’s aesthetic, with a modern twist, courtesy of Kenzo Fall 2010.

The beautiful Woody Allen font. Doesn’t it make you want to press “play”?

Further reading:

Annie Hall by Peter Cowie

Conversations with Woody Allen by Eric Lax

Further viewing:

You should, of course, rent Annie Hall from your local independent video store. But you can also watch it here. (Megavideo is best.)

Click here to read more of The Moment: stories on Madonna’s Gaultier cone bra, YSL & Catherine Deneuve, the iconic Hermès scarf and Schiaparelli’s Skeleton Dress.

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