After five hours of watching movies, you'd think your brain would be too fried to contemplate anything other than a stroll around the block. Yet we were buzzing when we emerged around midnight from a fantastic double feature of The Odessa File and The Day of the Jackal at the newly-renovated Quad Cinema. Both adaptations of Fredrick Forsyth's thrillers, the movies were packed with enough suspense and intrigue to keep you watching well into witching hour, but it was the fashions in both films that really had my mind going - particularly The Day of the Jackal. And this is how I came to take some spring style cues from the character hired to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle.
It's too bad the Jackal didn't have his own franchise. More disciplined than Bond, more chameleon-like than Bourne, the Jackal is as elegant and exacting as we would want an onscreen professional assassin to be. Played by Edward Fox (who bears an uncanny resemblance to David Bowie - the same lithe figure and serpent gaze), the Jackal is hired by the OAS to kill de Gaulle in the wake of Algeria's independence, and he takes to the task with icy determination and endless ingenuity.
While the Jackal's white Alfa Romeo was certainly a catch (take that, Bond!), it was his wardrobe of silk neckties which inspired me the most. Call it an ascot, a cravat or a foulard, this small square of printed silk is wrapped around the neck and tucked into the inside of a collared shirt. While the dapper accessory was undoubtedly part of his cover as an upscale, harmless British tourist, to me the different prints were emblematic of the various identities he acquires to come within range of his target. Interestingly, the Jackal is not wearing one of his trademark neckties when he finally meets his fate; it's as if his layer of protection is gone.
I love wearing lightweight scarves in all seasons, but usually favor them spread behind my shoulders, equestrian style, or draped around my neck like a neckerchief. The Day of the Jackal prompted me to seek out skinnier shapes and menswear fabrics, tucked into the inside of a collared shirt.
I got this scarf from Hermès on my most recent trip for Paris. I instantly loved the bright orange background color, but also how the print almost seems to be a combination of fabric swatches for men's ties.
Not an Alfa Romeo, but not a bad substitute either.