Holiday, 1990

Metropolitan, Whit Stillman’s portrait of upper crust young adults in the midst of debutante season in New York, celebrates the virtues as well as the absurdities of the “urban haute bourgeoisie.” Enhancing Stillman’s witty banter and self-deprecating humor are the clothes, illustrating the charms of a staid and steady social class, the appeal of its disdain for affectation, or rather the pursuit of affectation as a means to identity, and its simultaneous generic breadth and embrace of idiosyncrasy. Outfitted in Brooks Brothers for day and conservatively extravagant formal wear for evening, the costumes are an ode to codefied American classicism and all of its pleasures and pains. Once perhaps felt to be tragically banal it now, over 20 years later and with a humorous lens, in its reserved decadence and total lack of self-awareness, feels rather satisfying.

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