Style File: Dressed to kill - Get the look of an American Psycho
Patrick Bateman’s latest incarnation is as the unlikely antihero of a London stage musical. It’s all in rather questionable taste – unlike his perennially sharp suiting, says Alexander Fury
American Psycho: The Musical. Somehow, that sounds much more improbable than a serial-killing yuppie. But an all-singing, all-dancing interpretation of a novel so controversial it was originally sold from under the counter at respectable bookstores, opened to glowing reviews at London’s Almeida theatre last week.
From a fashion point of view, the striking thing about American Psycho is that it isn’t a period piece. Patrick Bateman’s wardrobe of slick, sharp suits and bold ties – the book was originally published in 1991, and re-interpreted on film by director Mary Harron in 2000 – still has contemporary relevance. Remove a few of the quadruple pleats the novel eulogises over, and the Armani and Zegna suits could easily clothe present-day masters of the universe.
Perhaps that’s because Bateman’s clothing is quintessential dress-for-success power-suiting. Do your research, and you’ll discover that the veritable litany of fashion credits in the book actually come straight from issues of US GQ circa 1987-89. He’s a yuppie fashion plate. And the rather improbable transformation of Bateman into musical icon seems to have thrown his fashion into sharp relief.
It may seem flippant to extract Bateman’s duds from his deadly deeds, but Bret Easton Ellis, American Pyscho’s author, stated the book was about surface – nothing more or less. Fashion-wise, Bateman is about luxury – your suit should be Armani, briefcase Bottega Veneta, wing-tips Ferragamo, and your bank balance equally impressive.
Nevertheless, there are accessible elements to the American Psycho look that won’t break the bank: sleek leather gloves and wool overcoats can both be picked up on the high street, and look suitably slick coupled with a boldly-striped shirt and vibrantly-patterned tie. Braces may push the look a little too Wall Street, but a card wallet is a neat addition – a way to keep the nimbus white of your business card pristine for that power breakfast.
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