Mr Nice starring Rhys Ifans: Lots of Nice Photos |

rhys-ifans-howard-marks-4 © 2010, Clothes on Film 14 Aug ’10

Recently debuted at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Mr Nice (directed by Bernard Rose) is the 1970s-80s set biopic of drug dealer turned author Howard Marks (played by Rhys Ifans).

Costume designer Carloine Harris has enthusiastically recreated the era’s vibrant fashion look, so here are some images to whet your vintage primed appetite:


Levi’s classic sawtooth pocket denim shirt.

Arrived as an update to the company’s original denim shirt (now in several guises) in 1954. Denim was ubiquitous by the 1970s (moreover in 1976 Levi was the world’s foremost denim manufacturer). It was worn by upper classes, lower classes, old, young, kids and even criminals. The customised version seen here features a military stripes patch on the right arm. Notice too the slight pocket wear on the left? Probably the original owner’s ‘cigarette pocket’, as this is likely a vintage piece.

David Thewlis as Jim McCann in a tough and heavy cheviot wool pea coat.

Ironic considering the decade’s own popularity in fashion today, but the seventies was a retro era in itself. Style was heavily influenced by the 1930s-40’s, particularly in terms of male suit design and outerwear.


Liam Gallaghe- sorry, Rhys Ifans as classic 1970s man: garish tie, even more garish shirt, wide peaked lapels on what looks to be a double breasted suit, Aviator sunglasses and hairdo.

Carloine Harris has not reigned in the flamboyance at all; there is no mistaking the period.

Chloë Sevigny playing Marks’ wife Judy, here looking like a sort of cut-price Faye Dunaway from Chinatown (1974).

The wide shawl collar and boxy shoulders of her jacket have that unmistakably forties feel. The matching grey bow and headdress are a lively addition, while her Martini cocktail adds a touch of class – if the drooping cigarette ash immediately takes it away again.


Thewlis again in his brown pea (or reefer) coat. The navy blue example Rhys Ifans is generally wearing is the more typical in terms of style and colour.

Military influence was strong in seventies clothing (again, see the stripes patch on the Levi denim shirt), and along with retro inspiration, second hand and indigenous imported items (specifically overcoats) were popular too. Pea coats were a hangover from hippie culture earlier in the decade. Before being adopted by the mainstream they were mainly donned by students.

The sheepskin overcoat, originally imported from Canada during the First World War, double breasted and somewhat similar in cut to the pea coat, though typically longer in the skirt.

Ifans appears to be sporting those tinted Aviators as Marks’ signature look.

Chloë Sevigny is wearing a Cowichan style sweater or cardigan, identifiable by its distinctive indigenous pattern.

The handknitted Cowichan sweater was first adopted by the hippie set in the mid-sixties. Another import from Canada (British Columbia), the oft-parodied look was imortally popularised by Paul Michael Glaser’s character in TV series Starsky and Hutch (1975-1979). Seeing one now conjures up an immediately identifiable seventies vibe.

Mr Nice is due for release in the UK on 8th October.

© 2010 – 2012, Chris Laverty.