The Double Take DVD in our store contains both versions of romantic caper The Thomas Crown Affair. In the 1968 original — with lots of split screen scenes – the always cool and composed millionaire Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) is robbing banks for kicks. Pretty soon sassy insurance investigator Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway) is hot on his trail, determined to get her man no matter what. In the 1999 remake debonair Mr. Crown (Pierce Brosnan) strikes again. This time he specializes in art theft, stealing a valuable Monet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in broad daylight. When self-assured investigator Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) enters the scene, the two quickly become involved in a seductive game of cat-and-mouse, in which both players equally enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

I loved the remake when it first came out, but must confess it was Rene Russo’s movie wardrobe that really made the film for me. I’ve always wondered how Faye Dunaway dressed in the original, so last week I watched the two movies back-to-back for a spot of outfit comparison. Fun!

Both enterprising ladies favour a soft, neutral colour palette and rock their oversized sunglasses, but that’s where the similarities end. We are treated to two very different wardrobes and style personas indeed. Vicki sports a flirty and mod look, very much in keeping with the times. She accentuates her features with heavy black eyeliner and false lashes. Her skirt suits are short, with sweet pleated minis, fab belted jackets and hosiery in matching colours. Beautiful patterned blouses, lots of cream and pastels, and large clip-on earrings are all part of her daytime look. So is her long, blond hair that is often arranged into elaborately braided chignons, very sophisticated sixties. And my word, it’s impossible not to fall in love with her delightful low-heeled retro pumps and absolutely stunning hat collection.

Catherine, on the other hand, is the epitome of classic elegance. She wears high necklines and covered up styles that are super alluring. (Big exception: the all-revealing black dress in the seduction scene.) Luxurious fabrics, tons of textural interest and perfect fit are her trademarks. Miss Banning goes about her day in tweed pantsuits with wide-legged trousers, chunky cashmere sweaters that never look bulky, and dons cognac and camel coats for extra warmth. There’s also room in her closet for beautiful suede and leather pieces. My heart beats faster just thinking about all her amazing midi sheath dresses and pencil skirts. She keeps the accessories to a minimum, but finishes off her evening look with pearl necklaces, apricot lipstick and subtly shimmery eyeshadow in gold tones that play up her stunning shoulder length red bob. 

Both leading ladies have a killer wardrobe, but I’m Team Catherine Banning all the way. After all, a woman who turns up for her first day on the job wearing a fantastic three-piece pinstriped skirt suit with a bustier in lieu of the traditional waistcoat is a lass after my own heart! 

What is your favourite Vicki or Catherine outfit? And if you’ve seen both film versions, would you rather borrow clothes from Miss Anderson’s or Miss Banning’s closet?

Related Books

If the titles in today’s Book Nook are your cup of tea, you may also like: