Lights, Camera, Fashion! 2015 has been a great year in men’s cinematic style, with characters who embody timeless looks and suave attire, inspiring the way that modern males dress. Each film released is a distinct and veritable bible for the rules of accessorizing and the power of looking great.
Every now and then a movie comes along that makes its way out of the cinemas and into our wardrobes, whether displaying fighting fit fashion for the boxing ring or playing up the smart, tailored threads of Bond, and these movies are certainly no different. So, let’s turn our attention to these men and pay homage to 15 movie characters (among entire cast lineups) whose styles turned the silver screen into 2015’s best runway.
Dope Director: Rick Famuyiwa Costume Designer: Patrik Milani Most Stylish: Shameik Moore as Malcolm
A movie produced by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and written and directed by Famuyiwa, the '90s hip-hop-revering, coming-of-age story about “nerd” protagonists Malcolm, Diggy and Jib is pretty disingenuous: They’re not nerds! They’re attractive cool kids tricked out with designer geekery.
The film’s spot on reinterpretation of late '80s and '90s fashion is a major draw – with various trends that wouldn't be out of place today including adidas, bomber jackets and bucket hats. But it’s Malcolm’s style that wins – he rocks a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-style flattop, short-sleeved shirts buttoned right up, and a sleeveless denim vest. Yowch!
By the Sea Director: Angelina Jolie Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick Most Stylish: Brad Pitt as Roland
The faux-1970s European study of a couple in marital meltdown on the Mediterranean is high on retro-couture. With a visual feast served up in no insignificant part by Mirojnick, it’s hard to believe that Brangelina can’t overcome their issues by just looking at each other before getting down ‘n’ dirty on the beach.
Pitt opts for Gainsbourg-esque '70s tailoring, bringing a continental style to the masses and looking immaculate throughout. The fabric is beautiful, as are the cuts – there’s a touch of understated sexiness in his clothing, where nothing is drawn attention to.
Entourage Director: Doug Ellin Costume Designer: Olivia Miles Most Stylish: Jeremy Piven as Ari
Now, listen: We're not necessarily saying that Ari’s style – a mix of Italian flair and chic American prep – is the reason that Piven is frequently outfitted by the likes of Domenico Vacca for red-carpet events and appearances. But we're also not saying it's not.
On screen, the mega-agent is adorned with plenty of color, chic European cuts, and – new to the film – a three-piece, double-breasted suit. Power-dressing at its finest, Ari is the benchmark for those looking to visually dominate the Hollywood masses (although the curse of playing Ari Gold is that Piven may have to spend the rest of his life trying to convince the world he’s not 100% asshole).
Mortdecai Director: David Koepp Costume Designer: Ruth Myers Most Stylish: Johnny Depp as Mortdecai
Aside from what you think about Depp’s career choice to show off his “comedic” side as a bumbling British secret agent, you can’t deny that two-time Academy award nominee Myers did a pretty decent job coming up with Charlie's eccentrically aristocratic look.
Mortdecai loves his clothes and never looks anything but exquisitely turned out for the occasion; a waistcoat and braces, cufflinks that match every suit, silk ties coordinated for every outfit (Depp is the real-life master of luxurious neckwear and ornate bangles, after all). We’re all over his wingtips, from British shoe company Church’s.
Life Director: Anton Corbijn Costume Designer: Gersha Phillips Most Stylish: Dane DeHaan as Dean
Given that Corbijn’s biopic focusing on “the first metrosexual” has been criticized for being more interested in Dean’s look than in his psychological make-up, it’s no surprise that DeHaan snags a place on this list.
Corbijn is the master at capturing stars looking cool on camera and Life proves that the artful insouciance of Dean is still very much a fashion staple; the trademark tortoiseshell spectacles from Cutler and Gross, the white t-shirt and jeans combination that he adopted as a uniform after sporting it in Rebel Without a Cause, the messily quiffed hair, the oversized coat like something from an '80s Armani ad.
DeHaan’s disheveled, studied nonchalance still inspires collections, too – check out the untucked shirts, too-long trousers and lace-up boots of Marc Jacobs FW15.
Youth Director: Paolo Sorrentino Costume Designer: Carlo Poggioli Most Stylish: Michael Caine as Fred
If you’re going to ruminate on the melancholy nature of mortality, you might as well do it in style. That’s the lesson we learned from Youth’s Fred, an ageing composer with slicked-back hair and an unforgettable Cesare Attolini wardrobe; the Prince of Wales tailcoat, the pinstripe trousers, and some impressive green Saharan cashmere.
With his thick-framed glasses and swept-back mane, Caine has been styled as a virtual doppelgänger of Toni Servillo, one of Sorrentino’s regular leading men. The style suits him well – if there’s one thing that Caine’s ageing character shouldn’t be afraid of maturing, it’s his unbeatable wardrobe.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Director: Guy Ritchie Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston Most Stylish: Armie Hammer as Illya
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a film so fashionable that it allows Hugh Grant to take on the same mannerisms that turned him into the stuttering nerd in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and make them into something unutterably cool.
Henry Cavill’s British windowpane suits are killer in the '60s style stakes, but it’s Hammer’s Steve McQueen-inspired ensembles that really take the cake: the Ray-Ban Aviators; the slim, suede bomber jackets; the Prince of Wales baker boy cap; the Baracuta Harrington; the sumptuous turtlenecks – Hammer keeps things clean, rugged and just about as timeless as they come.
Brooklyn Director: John Crowley Costume Designer: Odile Dicks-Mireaux Most Stylish: Emory Cohen as Tony
If the literary cred of Colm Tóibín’s novel didn’t win you over, the mid-century styles of Brooklyn boy Toby sure will – we’d challenge anyone with a yen for indie threads not to be inspired. A cool combination of conformity (in his trim tailoring) is juxtaposed with his downtime outfits, which see occasional glimpses of flair – plaid, high-waisted chinos, white tees, browline specs and Hawaiian shirts.
Nearly every piece of clothing in the film is original vintage from the era too, so next time you’re rooting around the thrift store, spare a thought for sharp Brooklyn mode, circa 1950.
Chi-Raq Director: Spike Lee Costume Designer: Ruth E. Carter Most Stylish: Samuel L. Jackson as Dolmedes
In this updated version of Greek comedy Lysistrata, women withhold sex from their men as a means to help bring peace to the South Side of Chicago. While they’re strutting around in form-fitting military fatigues and chastity belts, Samuel L. Jackson spends the duration parading a luminous three piece suit and apparently trying to prove that orange really is the new black.
Certainly not a look for those still surfing the normcore wave, Jackson’s cane-toting, urban, loud-suited narrator nonetheless nails the balance between distinctive and wacky. Nobody wants to be wacky, but standing out is great.
Legend Director: Brian Helgeland Costume Designer: Caroline Harris Most Stylish: Tom Hardy as Ronald and Reggie Kray
Legend tells the true story of the Kray twins; the swank-as-hell East End gangsters. Both twins are played by Hardy, but you can tell them apart because Ronnie wears vintage French Amor Clubmasters throughout. What we’re seeing in their wardrobe are louche yet elegant '60s cuts which are gritty and practical in a way that Bond’s slim-fitting suits could never be (remember, as long as it fits around your shoulders, there’s no limit).
Ron and Reg’s get-ups symbolize flaunting every bit of money that they have; although quite conservative in their wardrobe choices, there’s also a sizeable amount of bling – almost enough to distract from the film’s stomach-churning violence, in fact.
Terminator Genisys Director: Alan Taylor Costume Designer: Susan Matheson Most Stylish: Jai Courtney as Kyle
Remember the original Kyle's (played by Michael Biehn) sweet, sweet Nike Vandals from the first Terminator movie? Of course you do. And you spotted them making a comeback in Genisys. Kyle’s feathercut wasn’t there, but he still pulled on his stolen high tops languorously enough to give the Nike branding a good showing.
But, how did costume designer Matheson get her hands on these kicks? She got on the phone to Nike and asked them to make a sneaker. I mean, if that’s not dedication… Nike later re-issued the very same Vandals, almost certainly because those kicks were the best thing about Terminator Genisys. By a mile.
Spectre Director: Sam Mendes Costume Designer: Jany Tamime Most Stylish: Daniel Craig as Bond.
The icon of espionage has endured decades of style, with a particular low-point being Roger Moore’s rather ghastly '70s suits. Craig is the quintessential Bond however, and he looked no better than when he owned that fabulous ivory dinner jacket in Spectre.
No doubt it was hard for Tamime to do better than the Skyfall blue tuxedo (the style of which has plagued red carpets since), but Bond’s visit to Morocco necessitated the return of the dinner jacket – a timeless look that gave nod to Sean Connery's similar outing in Goldfinger.
Craig's suit is by Tom Ford, the model characterized by wide peaked lapels and aggressive shoulders. Banish your traditional black suit to the back of the wardrobe, the white tuxedo is set to make a comeback – all thanks to this slick, sexist super-spy.
Straight Outta Compton Director: F. Gary Gray Costume Designer: Kelli Jones Most Stylish: Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella
When it comes to the cozy relationship between music and fashion, N.W.A probably isn’t the first group that comes to mind, their lyrics being predominantly about police brutality, racial tensions and crime.
In Gray’s biopic, they wear baggy pants, Dickies, Air Force 1s and a lot of black (per Eazy-E’s instructions that if you want to be a badass rapper, you have to dress like one). Beyond that, they kept things simple. And that’s precisely why N.W.A’s look is so powerful. They don’t follow any trends – they’re the ones people follow.
Mad Max: Fury Road Director: George Miller Costume Designer: Jenny Beavan Most Stylish: Tom Hardy as Max
Max is dressed much like you'd expect a grizzled apocalyptic road warrior to look: lots of leather, distressing and grunge. Okay, so you’re not going to recreate it for the bar on a Saturday evening, but Hardy looks awesome and there’s a lot to be inspired by here.
In fact there are a handful of ultra-niche designers with a thing for dark clothes and almost primitive, artisanal designs that wouldn't be out of place in Miller's latest Mad Max outing. Take A1923 and Carol Christian Poell, for example. Their collections are brimming with expensive, hand-crafted goods not unlike the threads that Mad Max boasts... Apparently, the apocalypse makes for one stylish riot!
Creed Director: Ryan Coogler Costume Designer: Antoinette Messam, Emma Potter Most Stylish: Michael B. Jordan as Adonis
Karl Lagerfeld recently put Cara Delevigne in the ring for a Chanel ad, Louis Vuitton brought out the boxing boot and $175,000 punching bag, and Alexander Wang’s FW14 collection for H&M included a pair of branded boxing gloves. Things in Creed aren’t so flashy, but Michael B. Jordan - playing the son of Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed from Rocky IV - continues the boxing fashion trend effortlessly.
There’s nothing too out there, just some solidly steezy training and athleisurewear in the form of Nike sweats, butter-soft leather-sleeved varsity jackets and Jordan Brand sneakers. If the boxing-inspired gear from high-end brands had stayed this modest, perhaps poor Ricky Hatton wouldn’t be quite so confused...