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We live in the slob era, a wasteland of sagging jeans, rumpled T-shirts and slapping flip-flops. And that's just Hollywood. You don't have to look all the way back to a tuxedo-clad Cary Grant circa 1938 to lament the demise of movie stylishness. 'Hollywood and the Ivy Look' (Reel Art, 286 pages, $75) recalls the period from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s when, as authors Tony Nourmand and Graham Marsh put it, 'Hollywood hipsters appropriated the incomparable Ivy League clothing of America's East Coast elite.' Onscreen and off, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Montgomery Clift and many another actor—the Ivy look was largely a male preserve, much as the schools were—wore 'button-down and tab collar shirts, Bass Weejun loafers and Alden plain cap brogues, cashmere and alpaca sweaters' and other products of the Brooks Brothers sensibility. We see Anthony Perkins (above, with Patrizia Mangano) looking so young that he might still be in college, and Robert Redford wearing a suit and skinny tie for "Barefoot in the Park' (1967) that would set the hearts of 'Mad Men' fans aflutter. Not all of the looks are so enticing—upgrading Ivy style with a cravat did no favors for James Garner, Robert Wagner or Jason Robards, and Newman's own ascot is the worst of the lot—but this book captures what may have been the last time anyone looked admiringly at the clothes that stars wore. And not a drop of tattoo ink in sight!

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The Wall Street Journal

24 Dec, 2011

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