Whether through Mad Men, Austin Powers, or the wonders of TV syndication, we've all been heavily exposed to '60s fashions onscreen. That's why Guy Ritchie's team had their work cut out for them in making The Man From U.N.C.L.E., set in 1963, look like something fresh and new. Costume designer Joanna Johnston did her historical homework, but also took some liberties when dressing Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, and Elizabeth Debicki in eye-catching pieces that enhance the story without distracting us from all the action.
"I'm absolutely crazy about a two-year period — '67 and '68 are magnificent in fashion," Johnston (an Academy Award nominee for Lincoln) told Refinery29. "It's a pocket before it moves into the '70s vibe and after the early-'60s thing. I honed in on that because Guy didn't really mind. He didn't want it to look academically anything, so he gave me a free reign. He wanted it to look just cool and sexy."
Rather than rely on vintage pieces or existing retro looks, Johnston had most of the outfits made from scratch, that way they'd survive the movie's intense action sequences. Vikander plays Gaby Teller, an East German mechanic and daughter of a former Nazi scientist who may be helping a group of rogue Nazi-sympathizers, led by Elizabeth Debicki's Victoria Vinciguerra, to build a nuclear bomb. Like their characters, their ways of dressing are completely opposite, and yet we covet everything they wear in this movie, from cute minidresses to dramatic pantsuits and gaudy earrings. Even the drab, Eastern Bloc overalls that Vikander dons at the beginning of the movie are worth copping.
From its stunning Italian scenery to its equally gorgeous stars, Ritchie's latest offers a lot for the eyes to feast on. Ahead, a brief preview of the women's fashion in the film, and how each carefully chosen outfit absolutely serves each character (and makes us want to race to a time machine, pronto).