In memory of the director of The Graduate, Mike Nichols, we celebrate the seductive style of 1960's Anne Bancroft
She was glamorous, sexy and, boy, did she know how to pull off leopard print. Ava Gardner famously missed out on playing the role of The Graduate’s married temptress in 1967, yet it is almost impossible to imagine anyone other than the ironically cool Anne Bancroft playing the legendary Mrs Robinson.
It is equally as impossible to imagine this notorious siren wrapped up stylishly in anything other than animal print, a decision that – believe it or not – was masterminded by the film’s director Mike Nichols, whose death was announced on Thursday.
‘I kept thinking about ‘The Beast in the Jungle. Let’s have animal skins,” Nichols once revealed. Throughout The Graduate, Anne Bancroft’s flirtatious beast is let loose with a stunning array of animal prints, including reportedly, $25,000 worth of furs.
Leopard print, tiger print, giraffe print: you name it; she wears it. It’s a look that is still copied today with the likes of Kate Moss regularly papped wearing her trademark leopard print coat: she owes it all to Bancroft.
That’s the thing about Mrs Robinson’s style: she flirts so subversively between Fifth Avenue elegance and boudoir seduction. We still can’t get enough of it: even the film’s legendary poster image is dominated by Bancroft’s sheer black stocking commanding all eyes on those legs. It remains an iconic movie image decades later.
Underwear is most definitely outerwear. Mrs Robinson’s seductive underwear drawer steals is a consistent scene-stealer. Gucci-esque leopard print bra-and-skirt sets and lace-black brassieres: even Bancroft’s strapless bra tan-lines give Mrs Robinson’s look stylistic realism.
Which leaves us with the LBD, a classic outfit that will never go out of style. Suffice to say that the little black dress is as timeless as Mike Nichols’ devilishly bored housewife.
‘Would you like me to seduce you?’ Bancroft asks a 30-year-old Dustin Hoffman in her sheer black overlayed mini dress. Nearly 50 years later, she still seduces us. Mike Nichols’ Mrs Robinson is a woman who knows what she wants, and her clothes speak volumes.
Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson…