Based on my eBay searches over the past month, and my constant visits back and forth between my bank account and Rancourt’s site, I think it’s safe to say that my annual obsession with hand-sewn mocs has returned once again. Every year right around this time, I come back to my quest for that elusive “perfect pair” of camp mocs, but every time, just before I hit that checkout button I always stop short. I’ve considered Gokey, the classic L.L. Bean model, Oak Street, the aforementioned Rancourt, and countless others, but I realized last night after passing on a pair of vintage Quoddy’s on eBay, that I never will pull the trigger because camp mocs aren’t really what I’m looking for anymore.
“You’ve got a clean shirt and you bathe everyday. That’s all there is to it.” This is one of the first lines spoken in the 1956 film The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, during a scene between Tom Rath (played by Gregory Peck) and his friend Bill Hawthorne, as Hawthorne casually offers Rath a job during their nightly commute from Manhattan back to Connecticut. Hawthorne says the line as he mentions a public relations job that he thinks Rath might be good at, but it’s really a reference to the movie as a whole. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is about the facade of middle class life in the 1950’s with it’s daily struggles that fester on commuter rail rides, arriving in oversized modern offices big enough to contain a lifetime of dreams deferred, or buried nightly in neatly manicured grass patches on postage stamp lawns, all bundled up in identical gray flannel. Whether or not this is actually how life in the fifties was, I can’t say because this movie (and the book it’s based on by Sloan Wilson) are nearly twice my age, but what I can say though is that for as much as I enjoy this movie, I’ve always had a problem with the title.
This past weekend I finally got a chance Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blowup after being recommended it countless times over the past year. Overall, the film is a mod-era masterpiece, but there was one scene in particular where the main character Thomas, a photographer played by David Hemmings, traipses through a park, snapping off frames of a couple in the distance, that I keep coming back to. The scene is beautiful and brilliant, but I must admit, that’s not why this scene stuck in my mind. Wearing a pair of Beatle boots, stark white denim, a button down shirt with the collars undone, and a forest green jacket, Hemmings’ outfit, which would become his uniform for much of the film, had me considering the remaining few cold months ahead.