Izzy is more than a bit fascinated by the appearance of film directors, whose line of work makes them especially attune to visuals. Hence, he was especially happy to see an interview of Peter Bogdanovich about his trademark bandanna:
You have developed a very distinct signature style of wearing ascots. How did that start?
They are not ascots. An ascot is usually silk and an English thing. I’m just wearing a bandanna; it’s not so fancy. Most of the time they are cotton and different sizes. It started when I was shooting The Last Picture Show in Texas, and I liked wearing it because it made me feel secure. I don’t know why. But it feels cozy, and I kept wearing it.
Do you wear one when you are not working or making a professional appearance?
Yeah, I wear them all the time. When I make a professional appearance, I sometimes wear a tie so as not to be too unusual.
Do you think the bandanna is quite unusual?
People seem to have caught on and it seems to be a big deal.
How do you tie it?
Over and under, and over and under, twice until it’s a knot.
Do you think personal style is a professional asset?
Yes, until it gets mannered. I may have to stop doing this because it may get too mannered. But I prefer it to a tie.
So why don’t you stop?
It feels comfortable – I’d feel bereft if I got rid of it. The New Yorker ran a piece about me and they had a shot of me tying the bandanna and I though, “Christ, it’s getting to be a bit much.” But, you know….
But you do recognize that it has become part of your brand identity.
Yes, it has.
There is something else I do all the time that nobody seems to have noticed, something I picked up from Audrey Hepburn. When I did a picture with Audrey in 1980 called They All Laughed, I noticed that she never buttoned the buttons on her sleeves, and I asked her about it and she said, “It’s more comfortable this way!” And I tried that and it is more comfortable. I was never thinking about a product or brand; I just started dressing this way because I like it.
Has anyone ever said anything negative about your bandanna?
I think some people are annoyed because they think it’s an affectation. My friend Jerry Lewis hates it; he says it reminds him of a director from the 30s. But I ignore him, and he forgives me.
Who are your style icons?
Cary Grant; and I knew him too. The first time I went into his office he said, “Is that a Brooks Brothers jacket?” I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Right off the rack, right? They’re great.”
Do you have any advice for other professionals creating a logo?
Wear what feels comfortable and feels good on you. I wore a bandanna on every picture since The Last Picture Show, but I didn’t wear it in everyday life. Then I thought, “Why shouldn’t I? I should do it all the time.” It could still be a distant echo of wanting to be a cowboy.
Only at the end of the interview does Bogdanovich hint at the real reason of the bandanna: it reminds people of his long-past glory days following the release of his one big hit, The Last Picture Show, which not coincidentally was set in small-town Texas. And as for why no one notices his other sartorial signature, his not buttoning his cuffs, he should realize that that bandanna hogs people’s attention. In any case, one idiosyncracy should have been enough.