Vary Tux

The Oscar tuxedo sheds its black stiffness, becomes a red carpet dandy


Jared Leto (right) with Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele on the red carpet.
Jared Leto (right) with Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele on the red carpet.

Till last year, it was difficult to belch out three smart lines on the male tuxedo at Oscar Awards. After Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s matching St Laurent tuxedos worn at the Bafta awards in 2014, no men’s jacket, formal coat, black bandhgala had wooed us as a garment should woo a fashion struck lobby. It would primarily be a sea of black and at best some midnight blues. The male body as in George Clooney’s or Daniel Craig’s looked fabulous on the red carpet but because of its masculine physique not its Armani or Tom Ford skins. The Oscar red carpet which shimmered every year with super gorgeous (and some really bawdy) haute couture was dominated by female fashion.

Not so this year. So stand up fashion folks and give the Dandy Tux a big applause. Casual formals becoming a globally commercial boom isn’t just a fashion website headline. It is for real. Also, could Gucci’s retro dandyism poeticised by its creative director Alessandro Michele on the ramp be an influence? On Jared Leto, yes, it’s safe to say it is. A black Gucci suit with red trims, a red flower instead of the cravat tie or the black, boring bow-tie, Leto let his hair down. With it came tumbling down the stiffness of the male suit on the red carpet. Posing with Alessandro Michele was not symbolism, it was a fashion statement.

Jared Leto. Photo: Reuters
Jared Leto. Photo: Reuters
But that was only part of the tux traffic at the 88th edition of Oscar awards that rained on us this morning in India from Los Angeles.

When it came to a proper tux, the sweet short version worn by nine year old Jacob Tremblay of the Room won all hearts and loud claps. He looked formal, he looked funny and then hitched up his black trousers to show his Darth Vader socks. Boy, your attitude, wear that even when you change into your night clothes or birthday suit.

Chris Rock hosts the 88th Academy Awards. Photo: Reuters
Chris Rock hosts the 88th Academy Awards. Photo: Reuters
Among the other bests was host Chris Rock, white tuxedo with black trousers, black bow tie and white shirt. A highly anticipated monologue on the white complex of Hollywood, Rock’s white tux rocked for many reasons. Good tailoring was just one of them. Plus Rock gets the tuxedo tedium too well. He was to the point when he said the reason no one asks the men what they are wearing is because “we all wear the same clothes. But someday if George Clooney wore a green tuxedo with a swan growing from his back, everyone will ask him what he is wearing!”

Actor Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin arrive on the red carpet. Photo: AFP
Actor Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin arrive on the red carpet. Photo: AFP
Not green, but among my favourites was Sylvester Stallone’s blue tux with black trims. Formal but not stiff, familiar but not clichéd, it made the macho Stallone stand out. If you looked around hard, there was many a star sporting a whimsy on his coat. Mark Margini and David White certainly. The pair who won the Best Sound Editing award for Mad Max: Fury Road came dressed formally but without tradition. Margini wore a white shirt with a white silk tie and White a necklace made of conch shells and a silver pendant that hung over his rust silk shirt. Ryan Gosling (also in Gucci but not as experimental as Leto) wore a white bow tie on a white shirt. Thank you Gosling, for leaving the black bow behind. Next time, take a cue from Saoirse Ronan and wear an emerald green instead.

Mark Mangini (left) and David White after winning Best Sound Editing for “Mad Max Fury Road”. Photo: Reuters
Mark Mangini (left) and David White after winning Best Sound Editing for “Mad Max Fury Road”. Photo: Reuters

Kevin Hart. Photo: AP
Kevin Hart. Photo: AP
Then there was Kevin Hart who sportingly twirled on the red carpet hawking loud attention to his coat with black stones. Do you see my tux? Do you see what I am wearing? Do you see the shine? He yelled and yo, yes, that was a Dandy Tux, rather in order with the order of the day.

Since the UK based Slumdog Millionaire from India Dev Patel looked like he needed an urgent dry clean and hair wash—sorry Dev that miffed brooding image does nothing for you—I forgot to take proper notes of his grey tuxedo. But nothing could rescue red carpet host Michael Strahan’s blue tux from looking like a disaster. Dark blue buttons on an inner waistcoat and dark blue trims on a terrible shade of blue for the suit, man; you were neither dandy nor candy. Sub zero points from us.

Michael Strahan at the 88th Academy Awards. Photo: Reuters
Michael Strahan at the 88th Academy Awards. Photo: Reuters

So much though for the Nehru bandhgala from India. Interpreted so imaginatively by brands from Zegna, Armani to Canali among others, it still finds no starry takers. Imagine Leonardo DiCaprio (the most boring, conventional dresser) in a Nehru jacket.

But even better, imagine Priyanka Chopra in one! Now, that would have been a fashion forward movement.

READ MORE