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The Icon: Akira Kurosawa


Film directors are typically the coolest people in any given room, so we thought we’d take a moment to appreciate the gentleman at the top of the heap. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Akira Kurosawa…

Perfectly Embodied:Kurosawa’s a study in the power of a good style trademark. In his case, it’s shades and a short-brim hat, as a tribute to John Ford. The shades are a variation on Wayfarers, the hats vary between cloth flat caps and Gilligan-style bucket hats, and there are precious few pictures that catch him without at least one of the two. He was cremated wearing both, which is dedication if we ever heard it.

Words of Wisdom: Movie directors, or should I say people who create things, are very greedy and they can never be satisfied... That's why they can keep on working. I've been able to work for so long because I think next time, I'll make something good.

The Backstory: Not surprising, the man who said that had some perfectionist tendencies. He was legendary in the Japanese press for demanding his crew have complete mastery over every element of the frame, which occasionally involved a good deal of earth-shifting. He had the roof of a house temporarily removed so it wouldn’t ugly up his tracking shot and, even more impressive, once demanded a stream flow in a different direction. It did. We say, if you’ve got the power, use it.

Sole Weakness: Like the Green Lantern, he’s powerless without his accessories. The rare pictures that find him without his shades tend to look like mug shots.

The Takeaway: If you stick with one look for long enough, eventually it’ll become as cool as you are.