The relationship between rock music and journalism has not always been a good one, especially for Rolling Stone. Making the cover was a band’s dream, the ultimate end goal and music career nirvana. But being made a mockery in its pages? The ultimate disgrace. Cameron Crowe, director of Almost Famous, knows the tension well. On assignment from Rolling Stone, he went on tour with the Allman Brothers for three weeks in 1973 — at 16 years old. His resulting semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous is a finely woven garment of cinematic details. The film is outfitted in every sense of the word — musically, stylistically and financially. The impressive soundtrack alone received a budget well over the total budget of most entire films.
Secondary to the music, but equally integral to the ’70s rock scene that Almost Famous depicts, is the movie’s style. It all starts with the most vanilla and suburban example: teenage William, who plays a young Crowe, the average fan in T-shirts, plaid overshirts and a canvas messenger bag. The style escalates with the fans: Penny Lane and her bohemian friends are loud with their style, purple sunglasses, a long suede jacket, flowy floral-embroidered tops. But the style of the band is something truly different. Loose, light denim and flowy button-up shirts signify the relaxed rules of tour life. Chambray shirts abound on band members and roadies, but the bomber jacket — leather or silk — provides the edge, the F-you to the suit jacket. Printed and embroidered shirts kill the plain white button-up. Guitarist Russell lounges in a white henley and aviators indoors, balking at constructions of light and dark. Lead singer Jeff Bebe punctuates a navy henley and dark jeans with a loud studded belt, refusing to conform to monochrome. The band’s manager exudes Nashville cool in a T-shirt, leather bomber, black boots and cowboy hat, but complicates the stereotype with a British accent.
Maybe it’s against the rules of rock to create a guide to dressing like there are no rules. But the film and its looks are just too good not to try.
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