Secret Cinema – Back to the fifties fashion

By Adam Sunday 31st Aug, 2014

Entry by Phil Hawkins

Secret Cinema’s Back to the Future showcase which finished at the end of August wasn’t as much a secret this summer as theyd’ve liked. After a major hiccup with Hackney council, which caused the first week of events to be cancelled at the very last minute, followed by a PR strategy to manage the fall out that was comparable to a chimp hitting a keyboard with a banana and hoping it keeps people happy, things didn’t set off on the best foot. With this faltering start it had to be something extra special that everyone had been waiting for and ‘Great Scott’they didn’t disappoint. The setting for this spectacle came in the form of a disused piece of wasteland in the shadow of the Olympic Park, transformed into the year 1955 and the town of Hill Valley. Marty McFly fans gathered from far and wide to step into this immersive cinema experience and get the chance to watch one of the greatest films ever made while sat surrounded by Doc, BIff, DeLoreans galore and a giant screen in the form of the Hill Valley Clock Tower.

While we can wax lyrical about the live Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, Lou’s Diner with actual Goldie Wilson, or the immense feeling of being in a ‘nice place to live’surrounded by like minded Back to the Futurers (new word), we’re more interested in the fashion side of things. Like all Secret Cinema events, guests were expected to dress up in the era or style of the film being shown, so we pushed the hoverboard out and took a trip back in time. While we can’t show you pictures of how Dapper Chapper looked at Secret Cinema (mobile phones weren’t invented in 1955 and therefore were banned…good one), here’s our take on all things 50s fashion.

 Suited and booted

It kind of goes without saying that if you think of men’s fashion in the 50s, you think of suits. The decade was a break through in tailoring, and where suits would have previously been broad shouldered, double breasted monsters, now was the turn of the delicate, narrow lined, fitted suit, much like is the fashion of today. Crisp white shirts, tie clips and even the odd trilby would not look out of place in this period. This was a time when men got smart and suits got sharp.

Looking for inspiration: Don Draper is your mad man. You want to look good? You want to look 50s? You want to do what Don does.

Try this Stetson Richmond Trilby to top off that truly 50s dapper gent look


High flying T-bird

At the opposite end of the dapper spectrum is the high school jock fashion that was so popular during this period. Think skinny jeans, baseball jackets and the plain white T and you will be well away, with a gaggle of Pink Ladies hanging on your every word.

Looking for inspiration: Watch Grease. Become a T-Bird. Live life.

Try this black baseball jacket from H&M to help you feel just a little bit like Danny Zuko


The Inbetweener

You may be thinking “but Marty Mcfly was neither of these”and you would be right. A popular look at Secret Cinema this month, clearly inspired by our hero from the film was the open shirt (think Hawaiian if you’re really crazy) t-shirt, jeans and the all important braces. This look was really popular across diners and bars across the U.S in the 50s and was even sported by the then President Truman, pictured wearing a marine flora shirt. What a lad.

Looking for inspiration: Marty is your man here, so long as you’re prepared to go to 88 miles per hour to get the look.

Try this Ralph Lauren Hawaiian shirt, proving they don’t have to just be for fancy dress,



Hair today gone tomorrow

There can be only one hairstyle that encapsulates this era and that is the classic coiffed pompadour. Experiencing a huge resurgence in the past few years, this sleek style first made it big in the 50s, and with just a tub of Brylcream and a bit of patience it will help edge your look out above the rest.

Looking for inspiration: Elvis Presley. The greatest hair in rock and roll. Check out this video of how to coiff 

Whichever 50s style you go for, the greatest inspiration possible comes from this piece of musical genius. You might not be ready for it yet. But your kids are going to love it. watch