Hollywood 'leis' on the South Pacific style in summer movies as petaled lapels make a loud splash.

By Degen Pener
Updated August 07, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Snake Eyes

type
  • Movie
genre

Hawaiian style makes impressions on Cage, Dillon, Schwimmer and more

Not since the heyday of Magnum, P.I. has Polynesian apparel packed so much punch. With Nicolas Cage and Matt Dillon sporting tiki flower power in Snake Eyes and There’s Something About Mary, respectively, and David Schwimmer going tropical in Six Days, Seven Nights (which was filmed on Kauai), this island-style resurgence is swimming to the mainland on the backs of some very shady characters. Schwimmer plays a laid-back lout in Six Days. Dillon’s detective character in Mary is no paragon of virtue either: “A real sleazeball,” confirms the film’s costume designer, Mary Zophres. “He gets his fashion references from somewhere other than GQ.” And Cage’s corrupt Snake Eyes cop “thinks he has taste, but doesn’t,” says costume designer Odette Gadoury. For most of the movie, the character pairs a blaring yellow print shirt with a shiny gold suit; interestingly, he loses the shirt once he begins to rethink his ethically challenged past.

But even if Hawaiian shirts are suddenly becoming the quickest and most colorful way to signal disreputability, it isn’t damaging their chicness. “I’m seeing Hawaiian shirts all over Los Angeles,” says Paul Bloch, publicist to such stars as Bruce Willis and John Travolta and a collector of over 300 island prints, including such standards as surfers, hula dancers, and palm-tree designs. (His favorite shirtmakers are Jams World, Paradise Found, and, especially, Avanti. “It’s the only place I’ve seen that makes new shirts that look like the antiques,” says Bloch.) Indeed, one retailer is far from offended by the vaguely sleazy connotations the films give the shirts. “I don’t know why, but that always seems to make them just that much more popular,” says John Dahlgren of Gary’s Island, a Hawaiian-wear chain in California, which has seen sales spike over the last few years.

Episode Recaps

To limit the loutish effect, stylists recommend that you don’t pair the shirts with equally brazen clothes. “With a pair of jeans or khakis on the beach, the Hawaiian shirt is the representation of cool and relaxed,” says Gadoury. Adds Zophres: “I don’t think all Hawaiian-shirt-wearing people are sleazy.” At least off screen.

Snake Eyes

type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
  • R
director
Advertisement

Comments