The recently released film stars Justin Timberlake as a university student who, swindled out of his tuition by an online gambling scam, heads to Puerto Rico to exact revenge on Ben Affleck’s online casino overlord character. So what did it take to make slow-moving dialogue, unconvincing performances, and the most matronly of James Bond’s conquests look sexy? A heavy dose of Ermenegildo Zegna with a lashing of Tom Ford – basically, enough fashion pizazz to drown out Ben Affleck’s tin man-esque performance. It just goes to show you can’t go wrong with hot Latina chicks, smooth Afro-Caribbean beats, and JT cruising around Puerto Rico in some seriously fly suits.
North by Northwest
Hitchcock was known for dressing his icy blonde leading ladies in costumes that added subtext to on-screen happenings, but watch enough of his films and it becomes clear that his leading men weren’t shafted by the wardrobe department either. To wit, Cary Grant’s impeccably cut grey suit in this flick, which some argue is the most legendary in American cinema (it’s certainly been reprised in films like Collateral and Paycheck). Crafted by Kilgour, a storied Savile Row tailor with 124 years experience, the three-button suit with roll-over laps and no vents in the back is given a workout through the whole frenetic film, and has left an indelible mark in cinematic costumery.
At some point in the 2001 version of the film, we all took a moment to appreciate its sartorial elegance and the dapper figures cut by George Clooney, Brad Pitt and their smooth criminal cohorts. But to really appreciate the fashion of Ocean’s 11, you have to go back to the original. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the rest of the Rat Pack already had serious fashion cred by the time the casino caper flick came out, and the film riffed their iconic style, which was heavy on mohair and sharkskin. Note to all the less-than-statuesque gents out there: the narrow lapels, high-banded shirts, one-inch ties, and low-button stances were all designed to make Ol’ Blue Eyes and his cronies look a little taller.
Quantum of Solace
You could basically pick any of the Bond flicks for a list of the most fashion-forward cinematic outings. After all, the whole oeuvre is premised on the idea of a suave, debonair man who looks good in a suit (that’s how he gets all those genetically blessed Bond girls, right?) Though Bond’s wardrobe is usually full of crisp, well-tailored suits from the likes of Turnbull & Asser and Brioni, what makes Quantum of Solace a standout is the fresh touch given to 007’s timeless, classic style by a cutting-edge designer. From the midnight blue tuxedos to rather avant-garde windbreakers and military jackets, Tom Ford gave Her Majesty’s finest a sexy, modern twist that may just be within reach of us mere mortals.
The mockney-mobster flick by Guy Richie carried on where its predecessor Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels left off, with thick accents, dodgy deals and plenty of sharp suits. Few genres have contributed to men’s fashion more than gangster movies and in Snatch – where every potential wise guy, hustler, hoodlum, and even a “dag” loving pikey Brad Pitt, manages to pull off a stylish figure – gentleman’s fashion is given a breath of sophistication, with touches of Ritchie’s own wardrobe romances. Stylish overcoats that scream “I’m a boss”, slick bespoke pin-striped suits, and polished high cuff boots heralded a shift back to modern tailoring and the first hints of metrosexuality, elements of which echo in men’s fashion today.