By Bennett Owen
“He conveyed a straightforwardness and an honest, American handsomeness that seemed to both ignore and rise above the contrived glamour and studied posturing that had characterized so many other film heroes...No matter what costume he put on, he looked like he owned it. The camera loved him, and so did the box office.” – Gary Cooper: Enduring Style
Gary Cooper spent the first two decades of his life working his father’s cattle ranch in Montana and failing at pretty much everything else he attempted, even being rejected by his college drama club before he dropped out of school. Yet he somehow went from simple cowboy to enduring American legend, cultivating his unique brand of manliness, debonair and down to earth, suave without the slightest hint of arrogance.
“Coop” is widely regarded as the most popular film star of all time, and director Billy Wilder described his gift as “a love affair between performer and celluloid.” But in this magnificent book it’s his fashion sense that’s on display…and again, the book puts it best:
“…he had devised and perfected his own debonair style that combined a perfectly tailored European wardrobe with all-American casual sportswear to produce the first, and still finest example of elegant, international, masculine style rooted in an American ideal of the everyman as hero. From the most casual sports clothing to the most formal white tie and tails, Cooper carried himself with uncontrived conviction.“
We added a few of our favorite pictures: