Many films and filmmakers who have had an outsized influence on fashion have done so by creating expansive worlds. Wes Anderson, Baz Luhrmann and other visual stylists practically create entire lines of menswear for their films. Sometimes they even develop a style language that is all their own. But, other enduring fashions on film last because of their utter simplicity. Such is the case with Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. One costume, from a single one of his films, has has had a tremendous impact on the fashion world.

A Clockwork Orange is a meditation on crime, violence, sexuality and youth culture. The Droogs, the chaotic and sadistic gang that appears both in Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel and Kubrick’s 1971 film adaptation, are the manifestation of these themes. The film’s protagonist, the darkly charismatic Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell), is the gang’s ring leader. The Droogs dress dress simply yet iconically. They wear all white outfits accented with black bowler hats and canes. But, in that simplicity, there is so much being communicated. They are classy yet dangerous, rebellious yet uniform, perverse yet chic. They are such a clear embodiment of our collective id that they wear codpieces. But that id is clothed in elegance—hence the suspenders, bowlers and canes. Because the wardrobe of the Droogs communicates so much with so little, designers for all over the world are still drawing inspiration from their look nearly fifty years later.

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