The Best Travel Outfits Ever
Mr Keith Richards, 1979. Photograph by Mr Henry Diltz/Corbis via Getty Images
From Mr Keith Richards to Mr Andy Warhol – the legends who nailed the on-the-road aesthetic.
There was one brief, shimmering moment, in the 1960s, when travel could be accurately called glamorous. The jet engine first began to roar, liners still cut the ocean, you saw ties in airports and could order a soufflé on an express train. It was, as it is invariably called, the Golden Age of Travel. Of course, it didn’t really last an age at all; more a decade or so. It was a time when aesthetics – the seat you reclined in, the tablecloth you ate off and the Daimler that took you to the airport – were designed with dignity in mind, not a desire to extract from you every last penny and do so within the confines of 12in of legroom. Most people rose to the challenge and dressed for it. They looked cool. They looked smart. Today, well, not so much. Alas, most of us are condemned to pat-downs and queues and all things tedious. This level of guaranteed discomfort tends to lead to many people dressing, shall we say, democratically. But it doesn’t have to be so. Read on to discover MR PORTER’s eight travel icons, and get some inspiration for your next getaway.
Mr Richard Burton
Mr Richard Burton and Ms Elizabeth Taylor, Rome, 1966. Photograph by Mr Roberto Carnevali\\Reporters Associati & Archivi\\Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
Like a couple of dons just out of jail, the Burtons waft down the platform of the Termini railway station in Rome in 1966, entourage in tow, half-scowl on those famous faces. At this point, they are the most famous couple on Earth and the living, breathing embodiment of high-wattage glamour. Mr Richard Burton is dressed for action in an exquisitely cut white jacket, crisp white shirt and dark tie, his sunglasses in his hands. He looks like James Bond on a day off. Even the crocodile-skin holdall, carried by a porter who looks like he escaped from a Mr Federico Fellini film, is almost unfairly cool. Now, if only we could hear the conversation in that train carriage.
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Messrs Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards
Messrs Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards in a private jet, 1979. Photograph by Mr Henry Diltz/Corbis via Getty Images
If this picture had a title it would surely be Study In Nonchalance. And, to be frank, we suppose it is a nonchalance-inducing activity for a Rolling Stone, flying to Barbados on a private jet with an endless supply of Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola, served in pint glasses. Sort of like buying petrol for the rest of us. The clothes, though, show care. Mr Ronnie Wood in the jersey T-shirt with cut-off arms and gold chain slung over it; Mr Keith Richards with the off-white jacket, linen shirt and red sneakers perched on the seat. They look exactly as they ought, a couple of rock stars getting loaded at 40,000ft.
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Mr Marlon Brando
Mr Marlon Brando at Orly Airport, Paris, 1959. Photograph by Mr Roger-Viollet/REX/Shutterstock
The contrast between the arrival of Mr Marlon Brando, at Paris Orly airport in 1959, and the Burtons couldn’t be more stark. The double Oscar winner cuts a solitary figure as he glides into the terminal, no fuss, no flimflammery – he is a man who means business and wants to get on with it. The dark glasses, the trench coat and the single I-travel-light Air France bag, although presumably pitched at anonymity, combine to make him look like a new wave French film star. At any rate, the man has style to spare.
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Mr Bobby Kennedy
Mr Bobby Kennedy in Bluefield, West Virginia, 1960. Photograph by Mr Michael Quan/ZUMAPRESS.com
If only we could all look as elegant as Mr Robert Kennedy while eating drive-thru fried chicken in the car. Here, the soon-to-be 64th Attorney General of the US is pictured on the campaign trail for his brother Mr John F Kennedy in 1960. He’s dressed as you might expect of a neophyte politician from America’s great dynasty – shoes expertly shined, white shirt and tie with clip – his only concession to the fact he is crisscrossing the country is the rolled shirt sleeves. He looks young, athletic, a tight coil of energy, ready to press the flesh or encounter a press photographer. RFK travelled in style.
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Mr Andy Warhol
Mr Andy Warhol in his limo, New York, 1986. Photograph by Mr Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos
Mr Andy Warhol reclines on the back seat of his limo like he means it. It is 1986, the prince of the New York art world is without peer and off to the airport (though we like to think he would buy bagels in a stretch at this point). He seems to be almost challenging the photographer to do something interesting. I suppose we all get bored on the drive to JFK. But most of us don’t have a snapper and a decanter of brandy with which to annihilate it. He is very much in his “Bourbon monarch” stage. Even the clothes, the black rollneck, jeans and white Reebok classics, seem to say, “To care is for the little people,” and Mr Warhol was never little.
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Mr Anthony Perkins
Mr Anthony Perkins at Ciampino Airport, Rome, February 1957. Photograph by Mr Pierluigi Praturlon/Reporters Associati & Archivi/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images
Rome’s Ciampino airport seems to be running short of dolce vita in this photo from 1957. Unshaded bulbs hang low, walls are wanting of paint and the baggage carousel seems to be a wooden bench. No wonder the punters look a little cross. Still, what the airport lacks, American actor Mr Anthony Perkins makes up for. Hiding behind aviators, hands in pockets, the beginnings of a smile playing on his lips – he looks relaxed, mildly amused. His outfit, too, displays a certain sprezzatura. The trench, the white jacket and the dark, wide-legged trousers nod to a seriousness of purpose, which is then undercut with the flower-child Paisley shirt. Sort of ice-cool but official. It is a look we can do business with.
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Mr Jack Nicholson
Mr Jack Nicholson in St Tropez, 1976. Photograph by Mr Armando Pietrangeli/REX/Shutterstock
Shirt collar thrust wide, safari jacket billowing and his hands full of bags, Mr Jack Nicholson looks like a man in a hurry. Even the chap assisting him seems to be in a bit of a rush, grappling inelegantly with an assemblage of bags and cases at his feet, like some inexperienced fruit picker in over his head. Where Mr Nicholson is off to is lost to posterity. But from the pristine outfit – look at the cut of those trousers – and airy colours, we are guessing the French Riviera. Wherever it is, we wish we were going with him.