1960s fashion was so iconic that even without the “Mad Men” suits and sheath dresses, and ignoring the hippie fringe and tie-dye, there’s tremendous style.
Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach Movie,” premiering tonight (July 19), features men’s two-piece bathing suits – when trunks were worn with matching jackets – and other clothes from 1962 that could easily make a comeback.
“The ’60s were so much fun,” costume designer Ruth Carter tells Zap2it. “People broke out of the norm. It was all about being free — colors, patterns, being free. The patterns all spoke to that.”
Standing in the jammed but organized wardrobe trailer on the edge of the set in Puerto Rico, Carter was not sure how many costumes she, five seamstresses and one cutter made.
“Vintage does look the best,” she says. “I try really hard to be as authentic as we can.”
McKenzie and Brady (Maia Mitchell, Ross Lynch) are very modern surfers who, through movie magic, wind up in 1962. Mack’s lime-green eyelet top with a ruffled midriff and white high-waisted shorts was a standard good girl look. Carter “saw this outfit in a 1965 Sears catalog,” she says. “I had two Sears catalogs from the ’60s.” The cast wore a lot of classic tennis shoes, Keds. “I think I bought stock in Keds.”
Not everyone would think to wear a leather jacket to the beach. But Lela (Grace Phipps) is the sister of the leader of the pack, which explains her tough-girl jacket. She has a crush on Tanner (Garrett Clayton), a surfer, who wears the cotton broadcloth of the day and plaid high-waisted trunks. “Lela wears the pink biker jacket, with a white rabbit lucky foot, pink pinstripe cuffed shorts and halter bra (top). She wears it together when you are going to the beach on the motorcycle.” Lela accessorizes with custom-painted pink motorcycle boots.
Brady, Carter says, is a “surfer California guy. You can look at him and his brothers and see it emanating from him. I gave him neon yellow, a very avant-garde combination with little accessories. I gave him a neon bracelet and shell bracelet. He is truly representing 2012. Then he finds himself with plaid conservative shorts, blue plaid shirts and short sleeved oxford blue clothed shirt.”
Butchy (John DeLuca) plays the resident tough guy, complete with a Brooklyn accent, and is the leader of the film-within-a-film’s motorcycle club, the Rodents. He wears a red shirt, a belt embellished with aces, white socks and black loafers. “Butchy is a cross between the Fonz and James Dean. He’s really cool.”
Of all of the costumes she made, Carter says she loved creating the girls’ two-piece swimsuits with fringe. She did have to explain to the actresses who wore vintage bathing suits and clothes that sizes today are very different from sizes in 1962.
And she had to tell the boys, “You cannot wear shorts on your hipbones.”