Aesthetically, few directors are as recognizable as Wes Anderson, whose latest film, "Moonrise Kingdom," hits theaters today.
By now, audiences are familiar enough with Anderson's visual vocabulary that we can reasonably expect certain style signatures in each new release: for example, the "chapter card," a tidy overhead shot of an impeccably arranged still life (typed, always, in Futura font); the quirky character montage; the underwater shot; the exaggerated color schemes and peculiar interiors.
And, of course, the clothes. However dysfunctional, style is crucial for Wes Anderson's characters, their identities often wrapped up in meticulous wardrobes.
In "Rushmore," the precocious Max Fischer is rarely glimpsed without his navy prep school jacket, his entire raison d'etre being his enrollment at the illustrious institution. Even after he's been expelled, the jacket accompanies him to a local public school.
Gwyneth Paltrow's fluffy mink coats and striped tennis dresses as Margot in "The Royal Tenenbaums" have become something of a cultural touchstone since the film's release in 2001. Her brother's closets, of course, are equally intriguing, Chas refusing to change from emergency-ready Adidas tracksuits while his brother, Richie, only ditches the pro tennis uniform when he attempts to commit suicide.
As Eleanor Zissou in "The Life Aquatic," Anjelica Huston's bohemian, mermaid-like mystery is reflected in the delicate blue streaks painted into her black hair.
Occasionally it's an accessory that takes on special significance: In The Darjeeling Limited, the ever-present circus animal luggage (designed by Marc Jacobs) might be seen as a symbol of the brothers' collective emotional baggage.
"Wes is very stylish," Jacobs remarked in a 2007 interview with the LA Times. The same fastidiousness that defines Andreson's films seems to extend to his own wardrobe.
One need only flip through the latest J.Crew catalog to understand the pervasiveness of Anderson's personal sense of style, which is typically composed of short, '70s-style suits, wrapped scarves and long locks.
Indeed, Thom Browne's career-making "shrunken" suit debuted two years after the release of "Rushmore." Likewise, Scott Sternberg's geeky-chic style for Band of Outsiders owes much to Anderson's unique look. Madewell even described its latest fall 2012 collection as "one part Wes Anderson-style quirk, one part urban woodland, one part proper English professor.”
Set in the '60s in a small New England town, "Moonrise Kingdom " promises to be a similarly stylish affair (and we fully expect to see iterations of Suzy's salmon-pink sailor dress—one of the most memorable looks from the film's trailer—in stores next season). The film is also likely to launch 13-year-old Kara Hayward's into "It Girl" status in the mode of Elle Fanning and Hailee Steinfeld; just last week, the up-and-comer turned heads in a frothy, custom Louis Vuitton creation for the film's premiere.
If nothing else, we're betting the hype surrounding "Moonrise" this weekend prompts a few Wes Anderson-themed Memorial Weekend movie marathons—and maybe even a few "Margot"-inspired tennis dress ensembles.