WHILE a new TV series about air hostesses in the ’60s is threatening to squeeze us all back into pencil skirts, Diane Keaton is the woman who taught many of us how to really wear the trousers.
Keaton, with a total of 59 film roles under the belt of her high-waisted peg legs, releases her memoir today and while it covers an amazing Hollywood career, and loves including Al Pacino and Woody Allen (pictured) it’s difficult to mention her name without paying passing tribute to what she’s done for fashion over the years.
Take the current androgynous trend, all over the autumn/winter catwalks and filling the shops on the high street with shirts with ties already attached (as if she’d be seen dead in one of those!) and mannish waistcoats and braces.
For the fan of a neat blouse and some fabulous slacks, the ultimate compliment comes from someone noticing you’re channelling Annie Hall.
Keaton’s neurotic aspiring photographer of the Woody Allen classic, for which she won an Oscar, made her the thinking man’s pin-up.
With the unkempt hair, no boobs or bum to speak of, she wasn’t dressing for men, and it continues to endear her to both sexes.
Annie Hall remains an antidote to the spray-on glitter just about worn by today’s stars, and she still inspires girls who know you can’t run through the city in the pouring rain if you’re wearing 5in heels.
Even when she was starting out and eager for fame, Keaton was attracting attention for her clothes rather than her lack of them.
The California-born drama school drop-out landed her first major stage role in Broadway rock musical Hair, as understudy to the lead.
But while the production was as famous for its nudity as it was its rock score, she refused to remove any of her clothing. Then Woody Allen cast her in his Broadway play Play It Again, Sam, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Her title role in 1977’s Annie Hall (Keaton’s actual surname is Hall and her nickname was Annie) is still regarded by many fans as her best performance, and the wardrobe endures; just like her awkward mannerisms, she’s become the blueprint copy for years of on-screen ‘indie girls’.
The angular lines, the weathered accessories, the minimal ’70s make-up – you don’t have to look far for stylish imitations from Alexa Chung to the Olsen twins.
With a laugh as infectious as her First Wives Club co-star Goldie Hawn, and with as much sex appeal without the bouncing blonde layers, she has that sexy confidence thing spot-on.
And she’s stubborn with it – Jack Nicholson might have had the right idea when he sliced open her scratchy-looking turtleneck jumper with scissors in a love scene for Something’s Gotta Give (I’d argue this was, at 57, her sexiest role yet), but she clearly had spares.
“We should incorporate more turtlenecks for women my age,” she later said.
“And sleeves, they’re way too short. Maybe we should start a clothing line. I’d call it D-Find.”
Keaton had to apparently fight back tears during her first public reading from her new memoir in New York earlier this year.
Based on 85 of her journals, it covers her thoughts about marriage, her children, her mother Dorothy who died after a 15-year struggle with Alzheimer’s, and her own “unrealised dreams”.
She told a reporter, after treating the audience to a verse from Barbra Streisand’s Never Will I Marry, “And I never married,” adding that was despite the prediction of her ninth grade boyfriend that, “You’ll be a good wife.”
“I didn’t want to be a good wife,” Keaton said.
“I wanted to be a hot date.”
Diane Keaton’s memoir Then Again, is out today, £18.99, on Fourth Estate