Sheer Shirts, Sparkly Speedos: Behind The Candelabra's Best Fashion


If you missed Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in Steven Soderbergh’s Behind The Candelabra — which aired last night on HBO — you missed a glittery, gorgeous, gay old time. Well-directed with excellent performances, it unfurls like a crystal-encrusted mink cape — plush, shiny, fun and ridiculous. And the capes — as well as the tinsel-bright tuxedos, shimmery shoes and swell swimsuits — are part of the story. Here are the best looks in the film.

When we first see Douglas as “Lee” Liberace, he’s in one of the performer’s classic sequiny tuxedos, complete with crystal-encrusted bow tie. You know, something subtle. For daytime.

We also meet his protégé, Billy Leatherwood — played expertly by Cheyenne Jackson. Billy has a matching silver tuxedo, naturally.

Next up: Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, straight off the ranch in Brokeback chic.

At home, Lee rocks a white caftan and just a few tasteful gold chains. Liz Taylor-esque.

Don’t forget the matching gold slippers!

Here’s the houseboy’s uniform: Striped shirt (which matches the awnings by the pool, btw) and snug white jeans. He’s about to offer the guests some nuts.

The character of Lee’s makeup artist appeared ever so briefly in one scene — on the screen for about 4 seconds — but made a big impact in a sheer shirt.

Every diva requires silk robes by the jacuzzi. It should be noted that the wardrobe for many, many scenes between Lee and Scott consisted of solely of gold chains. Nude yet adorned.

Sometimes it’s the little things, the tiny touches, that wow. For instance: A scarf held by a diamond L brooch.

Here’s the houseboy again, in a shirt so sheer his nipples show through. Anyone want dessert?

Rings are ever-present throughout the entire movie.

White suit and cravat for a shopping trip. Scarface would be jealous.

It’s impossible to choose a Best, but crystal-studded swimwear (and painted-on abs) are pretty close to being number one.

This shot barely does it justice, but this is an EPIC long white fur.

Driving Miss Crazy™: Sequined chauffeur uniform. Pretty sure I saw that car in the flesh — err, metal — at the Liberace museum in Las Vegas back in the aughts.

Rob Lowe had A Moment as the creepiest plastic surgeon who ever creeped. Three-piece suit, giant collar, feathered hair, eyes that barely open. Perfection.

Post-plastic surgery fabulousness.

White crystal-encrusted swimsuit: Even hotter than the black.

For a visit to mom: Purple shirt with scalloped placket; plaid jacket.

Red, gold, marabou feather extravaganza. Very Mr. Heat Miser.

Do they give Emmys for Excellence in the Art Of Creepshow? If so, Rob Lowe should win. But we’re here for the fashion, so just take a deep breath and let that shirt sink in, burning itself into your soul. Hurts so good.

While the sparkly swimsuits are very close to being The Best, that title is reserved for the furs and white suits. Paging Dr. Ama: DRAMA to the White Courtesy phone, please. And the scene? In the back of the limo? OH DADDY.

Finally — last, but not least — the parting shot look of the film: A pearlescent pink suit, replete with shimmery cape, Birth Of Venus scallop shell collar, giant bow tie, lace cuffs and crystal-encrusted shoes. As Liberace says, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful.”


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