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Annie Hall, reluctant style icon

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in the 1977 romantic comedy “Annie Hall.’’ Photofest

Annie Hall was never envisioned as a fashion icon. In fact, Ruth Morley, wardrobe stylist on the 1977 Woody Allen classic, almost vetoed the Chaplin-esque look before it lit up the silver screen. It was actress Diane Keaton’s own effortless and uniquely androgynous style that gave life to the flighty-but-lovable Annie Hall, a character that has been stealing hearts since her debut.

In an era characterized by metallic hot pants and polyester bellbottoms, the boots, vests, and bowler hats that comprise the Annie Hall style stood as a rejection of gender-normative fashion. Her sexuality is cloaked by layers of tweed and buttoned-up shirts, but her charm and coy confidence make it work, capturing the attention of neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer, played by Allen, and, off-screen, many prominent fashion houses. The look marked the introduction of menswear-inspired fashion into the mainstream.


The runways serve as reminders of the lasting sartorial influence of “Annie Hall,” and this fall will be no exception, with Stella McCartney’s oversized blazers and Christian Dior’s wide-leg suits. At its best, menswear makes a strong statement of female empowerment. At its worst, it reads bag lady or I’m-a-Canadian-pop-singer-trying-to-be-edgy (e.g. early 2000s Avril Lavigne). If you want to give the look a try, beware of overpowering silhouettes and bulky layers. Otherwise don’t be afraid to channel your inner Annie Hall with a vintage tweed vest or a pair of roomy, high-waisted trousers.

If nothing else, satisfy your nostalgia and revel in the cinematic and stylistic brilliance of the Allen/Keaton partnership by catching the
7 p.m. screening of “Annie Hall” at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Aug. 5.

Steph Hiltz can be reached at