If fashion’s a microcosm of society, the Oscars’ champagne carpet is a litmus test for where men’s tailoring is at. Namely, super skinny or supersized – there is no in between, so choose your camp now. The former’s been fashion kryptonite for a while now – synonymous with shiny-suited Essex boys – but there’s been a gradual fight back on the catwalks, calling to mind the narrow silhouettes that dominated men’s fashion in the early 2000s.
In the other corner, there’s been a letting out of the seams in men’s suiting. There are two camps here: loose and breezy or raffish and 1970s-accented. The style on the Oscars’ leading men was very much the latter; silken blouses and – in the case of Paul Mescal and Donald Glover – trousers that mimicked flares. Forget Jared Leto; Hollywood’s latest style icon is Jerry Leadbetter from The Good Life. So which camp do you fall into?
It’s a tricky path to negotiate, but the likes of Austin Butler and Michael B Jordan opted for the narrow, lean tailoring of Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton respectively. The trick here is proportions; Jordan’s jacket is neatly sculpted on his athletic torso so that his skinny trousers don’t look too at odds with what could have been a boxy jacket. It’s the same for Idris Elba, who evens out the slim leg on his trousers with a neatly tailored jacket – the exaggerated peak lapel pulls the eye upwards and lengthens the body.
In the case of the willowy Mr Butler – who was nominated for Best Actor thanks to his depiction of Elvis in the Baz Luhrmann film of the same name – the lean silhouette is balanced by peaked shoulders, and we detect a fairly substantial heel on those boots too, which serves to elongate the frame.
Flared and baggy
At the opposite end of the scale, sitting somewhere between flares and generally baggy, there was an easing up on trouser shapes. Call it the 1970s effect, championed by former Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. Irish actor Paul Mescal showcased the silhouette perfectly in his tuxedo; the ivory jacket and corsage are straight out of a prom scene from an American 1970s teen movie while the trousers are draped and wide legged.
The opposite is true of Donald Glover, whose cut-out, abbreviated jacket is designed to fit snugly into the waistband of his loose trousers. Not a look one pioneers down the pub, but this was the Vanity Fair Oscars party – let the man live a little.
Lenny Kravitz, who at 58 is still one of the most exciting men on the red carpet, also performed an about-turn on his tried-and-tested formula of skinny jeans, opting for flowing silk trousers with a matching kimono-esque top by Saint Laurent; the absolute distillation of rock-star style.