The best-dressed men at this year’s Oscars all embraced the classic tuxedo
What a difference a year makes. The men at 2022’s Oscars might have made headlines for all the wrong reasons – The Slap still reverberating around Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre – but the men’s fashion was pretty standout, from the subtle burgundy velvet of Andrew Garfield’s suiting to Timothée Chalamet in spangly Louis Vuitton sans shirt.
But this year a return to tradition and form was the theme for the best-dressed men making their presence felt alongside the sumptuous gowns.
Classic black tie in the form of the tuxedo was the dress code of the evening for Hollywood’s leading men. Nothing shocking there – black tie is the dress code after all – but it’s not been taken so literally in years, as shocks of bold colour, spangly coats in place of jackets and a more louche approach spoke to the more experimental realms of men’s fashion.
This year, there was no such frightening the fashion horses; Best Actor nominee Austin Butler in a black razor-sharp Saint Laurent tuxedo, Paul Mescal in a soft-fit monochrome version by Gucci, Michael B Jordan in a stately black Louis Vuitton tux and Andrew Garfield – he of occasional red carpet theatrics – in a classic black Fendi ensemble.
That isn’t to say that all tuxedos are created equal; the cut of Mescal’s is 1970s-inflected, with a plush crimson corsage for a sense of retro charm, while the peak shoulders on Butler’s emphasise his lean proportions and Jordan added a dusting of jewels on his lapel.
But in general there was a return to safe, steady men’s formalwear. Even the more outre outfits were somewhat restrained and stuck to that familiar tuxedo-colour palette of monochrome; Lenny Kravitz in louche Saint Laurent silks was the most outre of the evening, and while Pedro Pascal in minimalist Zegna with a funnel-neck shirt or Batman star Paul Dano in embroidered Dolce & Gabbana with a pink shirt might have pushed boundaries slightly, they weren’t exactly ripping up the rulebook.
And that’s perfectly OK. There’s a sweeping movement across fashion at the moment towards downplayed austerity, perhaps in reaction to world events. Yes, it’s fun to see the likes of the whippet-hipped Chalamet pushing the envelope in a renegade outfit (he famously wore a Prada tech-fabric jumpsuit and Cartier jewels some years ago) but there’s a strong case to be made for the power of the classic tuxedo in all its sweeping, shawl collar sculpture and tailored architecture.
Colin Farrell’s standard black affair doesn’t make a statement, but he looks damn good in it (yes, it helps when you look like Colin Farrell obviously). Likewise Idris Elba, wearing a dark-blue silk Gucci number – one of the rare forays into colour, alongside Samuel L Jackson in a glistening-silver Giorgio Armani tuxedo jacket and black trousers.
It’s also – whisper it – a masculine mode of evening dressing when so much of formalwear has been up for debate. It’s also mature and sophisticated; note the presence of various elder statesmen looking debonair after season upon season of Gen-Z hijinks – Elba at 50 and Jackson at 74 were two of the sharpest looking men of the night. Peacockery and a joyful sense of dress up have their place in men’s fashion, but sometimes there’s nothing like the refined majesty of a great tuxedo.