Even before my career in fashion began, the Weber Calvin Klein advertising images from the early 90’s were ingrained on my memory from the insides of the lockers at my all girls’ school. In particular a glistening Marcus Schenkenburg, all blonde and muscley, the antithesis of anything I’d ever seen inBirkenhead!
I didn’t know much about his film work and sat down at the screening with curious anticipation. The documentary was about renowned Jazz musician Chet Baker and was shot in black and white during the 80’s before his death. Weber had spent many months with Chet, developing a relationship whilst filming and interviewing his friends, family, wives and lovers.
The opening sequence set the tone for the whole film, a bohemian Santa Monica beach setting, a group of young hipsters, jazz freestyling, swinging free to Chet’s humming melody. Every moment could have become an iconic still shot. True to form, Weber honed in on the beauty and with the help of Chet’s hypnotic cheekbones, made a selfish talent, eventually ravaged by drugs, look positively poetic for the duration. The romance of his story was captured beautifully and the demons brushed over in a compassionate and warmly lit hue.
I was interested to see a quiffed Chet wearing what looked like Harrington jackets and slim fit checked shirts for some of the film. At the after dinner I asked Bruce about Chet’s personal style, the consensus being that he was a Rockerbilly dandy who, despite some scathing comments from his ex-girlfriend Ruth, always looked dapper. The origins of mod could be seen and for me (working for Ben Sherman) this was a real and relevant fashion education.
The film was captivating, a real feast for the senses, Chet’s caramel voice was as easy on the ears as Weber’s vision was on the eyes. Though not a probing piece with Weber glossing over some pretty shocking facts, I was content to enjoy it for what it was, a sympathetic and stunning homage, made by one icon about another.