The style legacy of Bonnie Parker

From berets on the Dior catwalk to pencil skirts at Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein show, we take a look at the lasting sartorial impact of Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde, 50 years since the film was first released

When Bonnie Parker, or Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde, donned a beret one morning in 1933, she would have had little idea of the future fashion implications. Dead a year later, she would have had little idea of much future at all. But, partly thanks to the 1967 film telling of her gang’s 1930s exploits, Bonnie, as played by Faye Dunaway, is now both part of an American folklore – a tough broad, a symbol of rebellion and disruption – and a card-carrying member of the fashion icon gang. The beret, knitwear and scarf alone provide immeasurable inspiration for the current season. Here are five reasons why – 50 years on from the film, 83 years from Parker’s death – her outfit matters now.

The beret

Berets on the Dior catwalk.
A beret on the Dior catwalk. Photograph: Frederic/SI/Rex/Shutterstock

I’m willing to bet that Maria Grazia Chiuri had Bonnie and Clyde playing on loop in the Christian Dior atelier in the runup to the autumn/winter show. It featured berets on every single look. The hat also associated with strings of garlic, Breton tops and bicycles is officially the headgear of the season. See also: Alexa Chung on the cover of June Vogue.

The pencil skirt

Bonnie 2.0 … a model walks the runway for Calvin Klein at New York fashion week, 2017.
Bonnie 2.0 … a model walks the runway for Calvin Klein at New York fashion week, 2017. Photograph: Getty Images

Sure, the pencil skirt seems as if it’s not on speaking terms with the rest of fashion right now. But with Raf Simons on its rebranding team,it will only be a matter of time before there is a rapprochement. Bonnie’s tweedy skirt is a bit playing-secretary when you take it out of context. Instead, update the look by perusing Simons’ Calvin Klein collection. An ode to outsiders in America, the block colours of knitted pencil skirts are like Bonnie 2.0 (Beyoncé’s take notwithstanding). Adjust your skirt-thinking accordingly.

The scarf

Modern-day influencers and Bonnie Parker have more in common than you might think – they both loving having their picture taken, and they’re both fond of a silk scarf. Dunaway wears hers here cowgirl style, while Parker herself wore one round her waist. Any version is passable these days – especially if the label reads ‘Hermes’.

The sweater

A very Bonnie-esque sweater on the Miu Miu catwalk at Paris fashion week, AW 2017/8.
On the Miu Miu catwalk at Paris fashion week, AW 2017/8. Photograph: Getty Images

Regular readers will now be familiar with the revival of the cardigan. But knitwear insiders, of which there are many, will be turning their attention to what we might call the fusty sweater. Bonnie’s one is a good example – it’s short-sleeved, textured and in a colour, the very au courant mustard yellow, that feels vintage even if it’s brand new. Gucci, Prada and Miu Miu have all done similar ones. Finding one at a car boot for 50p would be the ultimate goal.

The hair

Emma Roberts’s bob.
Emma Roberts’s bob. Photograph: Getty Images

Everyone knows that the buzzcut is cool right now, which means it’s practically living on borrowed time. Those sporting buzzcuts might want to forego the clippers for a while – the blond bob looks set to be the next hairstyle. Edie Campbell has the really cool version – a bit grungy – on the cover of Vogue. And Khloé Kardashian, Emma Roberts and Sarah Jessica Parker have cut their hair to bobs recently, too. Dunaway’s is a bit sleeker – closer to the wig Emma’s Auntie Julia Roberts wears at the beginning of Pretty Woman – so might appeal to alpha blondes such as Donatella Versace or Lady Gaga.


Lauren Cochrane

The GuardianTramp

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