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Re-Imagining John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever

In the ninth episode of Re-Imagining: Movie Icons, Model Isaiah Lucas channels John Travolta moves into a twentieth-century African Tony Manero.

The John Travolta Look

In 1977, John Travolta strode into history in the disco movie Saturday Night Fever. The late 70’s was known as the disco era. Bell bottoms, loon pants, high-waisted flared jeans, parallel jeans were typical disco pants worn during that era.

Hot pants, Lycra, spandex, bling, waistcoats, metallic sheen clothes, animal skin, jumpsuits, halter necks, polyester suits, platform shoes, long hair, and sideburns were popular staples for the disco crowd. Saturday Night Fever was definitely a reflection of fashion at the time.

The disco era was brief and feisty. Apart from the original performance from the actors, Saturday Night Fever made references to the happenings of that era: drugs, homophobia, and racism. All these contributed greatly to the movie’s success.

John Travolta took on the role of Tony Manero, a young adult whose only escape from the banality of his family and work was on the disco floor.

In Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta’s look was feisty like most of the disco lovers of that era.  At the opening, Travolta struts, wearing flight pants, a collared shirt with the collars out of the coat lapels. The shirt is unbuttoned to reveal gold chains and he pairs this look with some dance heels. John Travolta look is consistent throughout the film: stylish and hip, yet defiant.

John Travolta’s iconic look is the three-piece white suit and black shirt. This look is so iconic it became a popular Halloween costume. The costume was also featured as a parody costume for the Muppets and the movie Airplane.

The costume was so iconic that within a year of the movie, it was purchased at a charity auction and later lent to the Victoria and Albert Museum for its Hollywood Costume Exhibit.

The Model

Model Isaiah Lucas was interested in helping create a look that was different from the three-piece white suit.

“I thought there was a creative way to do it and I was very honored to be the one chosen to portray such an iconic look,” he said, “I think of patterns when I think of African fashion. I think of colors, I think of soul, so I was very honored when they gave me all these patterns and this cool necklace.”

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Re-Imagining John Travolta

Model Isaiah Lucas wears a white woolen pant with black knitted shapes, a white shirt from Studio 189 and a handcrafted green patterned jacket from Obioma. He finishes the look with a green horn pendant from Egyptian jeweler Ammanii.

The idea was to re-imagine a fashion-forward of Tony Manero in Africa and Isaiah did a perfect job owning the look. He hit the iconic moves but also gave some unique moves of his own. “I think its going break the Internet to be honest with you,” Lucas added laughing.

All 10 episodes, plus a bonus overview, are currently available on The Africa and Demand Africa.