Anne's Diary

Clothes Make the Man

Or that's how the old saying goes, anyway. Pope Benedict appreciated the idea of dressing to fulfill a role--in fact, Esquire magazine put him on its best dressed list, saying that he had a way with accessories and advising their male readers: "It could be a pocket square or a chunky watch or a tie clip, but make it your own." One way Benedict did this was by wearing handmade red leather loafers.

He also brought back the white and red ermine-trimmed capelets, and reintroduced the little red velvet cap trimmed in the same fur. His fondness for ermine angered some Italian animal rights groups.

It's true here in Los Angeles too, although in kind of a "reverse" way: When you go to a meeting with a producer, everyone's style of dress makes his hierarchy perfectly clear.

Only the agent wears a suit--he's the lowest guy on the totem pole. The creative people (usually the writers) are next in status, and they dress casually--no tucked-in shirts. Ditto the managers, if any of them are there.

The most powerful person in the room is the producer, because he has access to the large amounts of money necessary to finance a film. He's always the worst dressed person in the room, wearing (for instance) ripped jeans or baggy shorts and old tennis shoes, and he NEVER tucks in his shirt. It's a way of saying, "I have so much wealth and power that I don't NEED to dress up in order to impress anyone." It's also a signal that if you don't know who he is without him having to display it, then you're not a "player."

In the 6th century, the Catholic church in Portugal mandated that "clergy wear a tunic reaching to the feet." It turns out that the new pope, Francis, likes to dance the tango--I enjoy picturing him tangoing away in long cassock. This is a very sexy dance that was developed in the slums and brothels of Argentina, where he's from. As a former prime minister of France, Georges Clemenceau, said about it: "In my day, we only did that lying down."

The pope has a very different, and perhaps more delightful take. In an interview when he was still a cardinal, he said, "I like it a lot. It’s something that comes from within me."


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