Friday, October 22, 2010

The Style Essentials--Ali MacGraw's Classic Preppy Style in 1970's LOVE STORY

There are a few movies that I think of every time the weather begins to turn cold.  One is Dr. Zhivago, which is very nearly three hours of David Lean photographing the Russian snow and Julie Christie looking so radiant in it.  Another is director Arthur Hiller's 1970 classic Love Story and the iconic style of Ali MacGraw.  

Shot mostly in the fall and winter months of Boston, Love Story is a tragic romance set against of the sophisticated backdrop of the Ivy League.  The film exploded in the public's consciousness when it was released as audiences responded to both its story and its style.  Costume designers Pearl Somner and Alice Manougian Martin capture the essence of preppy style through the seasons, and no one was more beautiful in it than Ali MacGraw.  While playing poor but brilliant Jenny Cavaleri, Ali became an instant style star for wearing school girl prep so well.  The costumes are an incredible achievement, especially considering that Somner and Martin only had a handful of credits between them at this point in their careers and much of it from the stage.  Their choices for Love Story are so classic, so timeless, that they continue to influence fashion today.  Modern fashion designers--like Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger--regularly make references to Ali's outfits from this film as well as her own offscreen Boho Chic style.

Ali and Ryan O'Neal (who plays "Preppy" Oliver Barrett IV) are so perfect in the movie and have such natural chemistry, yet it is the clothes that often stand out as the stars.  And so, in honor of our turn into the colder months of the year, I give you the coats, hats, and skirts of Love Story.

Walking on campus in a belted camel coat with patch pockets and hint of a red sweater underneath

Hot chocolate, creamy cashmere coat and sweater, and an amazing fur hat

This black wool pea coat is probably the star of the wardrobe since it's included in so many looks--
here it's paired with accessories in Harvard colors for Oliver's hockey game

This knit hat--Ali's own that she just happened to wear to the set one day--
became an instant trend after the movie and copies sold out everywhere

1970's miniskirts worn in winter are made warmer with turtlenecks and tights...
costume designers Somner and Martin made sure to incorporate preppy plaids in both red and yellow

The same red plaid skirt is paired with black turtleneck and tights in the beginning of the movie
and red turtleneck and tights once the couple is married

Yellow plaid also makes an appearance in coordinated skirt and scarf
and once again paired with the black pea coat, turtleneck, and tights

Here she black belts a brown tweed miniskirt with her black turtleneck and flats

Though the focus on the movie is on cold weather clothing, a few dresses add to Jenny's wardrobe--  
the standout is the red silk cocktail dress that she wears to meet Oliver's parents

She also wears a lavender silk belted shirtdress to Oliver's Harvard graduation

Jenny keeps it to classic black and white for her musical performance

Denim is another American classic that makes it into Love Story...
Jenny studies with Oliver in blue denim with her black turtleneck and slippers

 One of my favorite looks of Love Story is from its summer scenes (though it can be worn year-round)--
a classic navy crewneck t-shirt with white denim


Marline said...

"Where do I begin..?"

Now THAT'S what I call a Xmas present! I haven't watched this flick for years, but by a strange coincidence, I've been enjoying flipping thru my collection of Seventeen magazines from that vintage and her clothes are all over every page. Love this so much!!! Those coats are so J.Crew, they could have marched off every other page. And the red tights...darling! So many shining Christmas thanks for sharing these wonderful screen caps, Kimberly!!!
Happy hugs, Kay

Jim R said...

I see that the Navy Peacoat is preppy. When I retired I replaced the gold buttons on mine with the blue ones with anchors. Only problem ... when I finished I found I'd sewed the pockets shut.

Kimberly Truhler said...

It's so true, isn't it? I mean these coats are just the template for so many 'classics' out there right now. They really got it right in this movie. This is actually a post I did last year, but just updated with a few more images when I went back to relive the wintery style.

Ali herself is such a touchstone for style. On the one hand, she's this preppy ideal in LOVE STORY. On the other, her own personal style really laid the foundation for LA's ever popular boho chic style. She's just so natural and effortless, and I hear from those who know her in New Mexico that she's as lovely a person as you would think.

So glad you enjoyed this one--happy holidays!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Oh, the Navy peacoat is definitely preppy, Jim. In fact, many preppy pieces come from the military. Think of the proliferation of khaki pants, for one. One of my favorite places to shop is the Army/Navy Surplus store since there are so many great things there and I truly love clothes that are classic and as true to their origins as possible.

Good for you for changing out the buttons on your coat...that's actually a great tip for anyone in order to change a look relatively easily and inexpensively. Thanks for sharing. Hope you figured out how to get those pockets open again!

Melissa Clark said...

Like I just tweeted you, I think Ali MacGraw's style in both "Love Story" and "Goodbye, Columbus" are fabulous! The former is the perfect inspiration for winter dressing and the latter the perfect inspiration for summer. I love that preppy, WASP style like crazy.

MacGraw may not have had the longest or most renowned acting career, but she certainly made a permanent mark on the style world. I can't imagine a time when we won't be looking at "Love Story" and wanting to wear her knit hats and camel coat.


Kimberly Truhler said...

Hi Melissa! Nope, not a a surprise that you love this one, too...we seem to share a VERY similar taste in style. :) I LOVE preppy style...I even originally went to college in Boston mostly because I just wanted to submerge myself in that environment! As much as I took to the fashion, though, I just couldn't take that East Coast climate. lol WOW Even LOVE STORY doesn't fully capture what those winters were like. Hence why I consider GlamAmor West Coast preppy chic. ;)

LOVE STORY is such the architecture for classic winter dressing. It's been a blue print for Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and definitely J. Crew as Kay mentioned. I mean, they have essentially just copied everything they saw here. And why not? It's perfect.

And you're right, Melissa...much like Veronica Lake, Ali MacGraw did not necessarily keep a strong career going on the screen. Heaven knows her personal life may have been drama enough. But she is still so memorable. Her style--both in LOVE STORY and her own innate style--have kept her front and center in our minds. That and her seeming innate grace that she carries with her. Like you all, I really enjoyed looking again at her in the wintery LOVE STORY.

Illuminated Perfume said...

What a treat coming across this post Kimberly! You are so right on with Ali melding preppy with bohemian back in the 70's and being the archetype of this look. When I was a child my mother worked at a tiny knit shop in Beverly Hills. Robert Evans, Ali's husband at the time, would come into the shop and request my mother to make crochet Juliette caps for Ali. Since back then makers didn't document their life in photos like we do now, its been difficult to find images of those caps. Now that I live in Santa Fe, a very tiny community, I'm intending to ask Ali herself one day.

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