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Time to Suit Up: Hollywood’s Men Hit the Refresh Button on Red Carpet

From daring colors to dashing cuts, Hollywood’s leading men are cutting a swathe through old, outdated ideas about men’s red-carpet style. We asked stylists Michael Fisher, who works with Oscar nominee Sam Rockwell and Grammy host James Corden, in addition to a plethora of stars that includes Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman, left, and Ilaria Urbinati, whose clients include Grammy winner Donald Glover, Golden Globe nominee Armie Hammer, right, as well as Bradley Cooper and Ryan Reynolds, to spotlight the top menswear trends sprucing up the red carpet this awards season.

Plush Velvet
“Velvet is huge right now and always so elegant without being over the top,” says Urbinati, who chose bottle-green Ralph Lauren for Milo Ventimiglia at the Critics’ Choice Awards. “There’s something about the texture that feels so rich. It photographs really luxuriously, and a little bit vintage, too, giving it a special, old school vibe.”

“For me, there’s a decadence to velvet that’s so nice,” says Fisher, who dressed Jackman in purple Ralph Lauren for the Bambi Awards in Austria. It’s also a great way to add a bit more sophistication to the typical black tux. Fisher chose Gucci for Gyllenhaal at the Governors Awards. “A black-velvet dinner jacket makes someone like Jake, who’s so classic in his taste, look fresh in another black tuxedo. It just adds another layer of texture, and sophistication.”

For the all-black Golden Globes, Urbinati had the folks at Brioni add velvet to the lapels, pockets, and “stripe” of Dwayne Johnson’s tux, lending the otherwise understated look “a little extra touch.”

Shawl Collars
“There’s something a little bit more romantic about a shawl collar versus the typical peak or notch lapel,” says Fisher, who’s seeing a lot of men adopt the trend. “Whenever I put a shawl collar on a guy, it gives him a bit more swagger, in the sense that he feels a little bit more Frank Sinatra-ish, a little bit more cool.” Fisher says it was a staple of Adam Driver’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” press tour. “Adam is such a powerful actor, and that’s the most important thing to him; it’s not so much the fashion or the clothes or the red carpet. So I just made everything black on black on black, and then the shawl collar was just that little bit of a fashion twist.” In contrast, Urbinati chose an all-white look for Glover at the Grammy Awards. “We wanted something that felt cool and clean and effortless,” she says of the “Redbone” winner’s Zegna Couture with its shawl collar. “The all-white still felt like a bold move without all the obvious bells and whistles.”

Blue Is the New Black
“It’s a good color in that it’s color, but yet not,” says Fisher in answer to why navy is proving an increasingly popular alternative for black-tie events. “It’s nice to have something that stands out a little from all the black-and-white ‘penguin’ outfits.” He’s been dressing “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” nominee Sam Rockwell in a range of hues, from steel blues to gray blues to ice blues and textured blues, and from self-matching monochrome tuxes to suits with contrast lapels, most recently Prada at the SAG Awards. At the Critics’ Choice Awards, Urbinati dressed “Ray Donovan” nominee Liev Schreiber in a “beautiful royal blue” Tom Ford. “A lot of my guys are gentlemen and ‘actor actors,’ and they’re not fashion plates, and a blue suit is a nice way to be appropriate and yet stand out.”

Dinner Jackets
For classic guys including Gyllenhaal and Jackman, a dinner jacket is another really nice way to do that old Hollywood throwback, says Fisher, who chose a Burberry dinner jacket for Gyllenhaal for the American Cinematheque Ball. “Again, it’s a really nice way to have a guy stand out, and avoid wearing the typical classic black, and yet at the same time be very appropriate,” he says of the ultra-elegant look most often worn with dark pants, with some notable exceptions, not least of which was Glover’s Grammy look. “The last time I did an all-white look it was for Mickey Rourke on ‘The Wrestler’ campaign. And if anyone can pull off an all-white tuxedo, it’s Mickey Rourke!”

Rich Textures
Urbinati is thrilled to see more variation and variety in standard tux fabrics, be it brocade or embossing or tone-on-tone prints, similar to the black paisley print Etro that Chris Hemsworth, center, wore to the Golden Globes. “I thought it looked really beautiful,” says Urbinati, who didn’t dress the “Thor: Ragnarok” actor. “It’s cool, because it just adds something extra, by way of texture, to a tuxedo.” Urbinati recently dressed Garrett Hedlund in a tone-on-tone black Zegna suit for an event in L.A. “It shows up on camera nicely, but it’s very subtle, because it’s tonal.” Urbinati also dressed Glover in a richly textured Burberry jacket for the Met Gala last year. “Nobody’s just doing black; everybody’s really venturing out. Menswear has become really relevant in a way it wasn’t even three or four years ago.”

Double Breasted
No longer your father’s — or grandfather’s — uniform, double-breasted suits have made a comeback, says Fisher, who’s seeing a lot of younger men resurrecting the erstwhile sartorial staple. “It has more of this distinguished leading actor kind of vibe to it.” No surprise it’s a staple for Jackman and Gyllenhaal, who wore double-breasted Calvin Klein to the Toronto Intl. Film Festival and a velvet Gucci variation to the Governors Awards. “It just suits them really well,” says Fisher of the dashing pair. “They already have that leading-man status, and so the double-breasted suit kind of cements it.” It’s also a great look for a man of a certain age.” Fisher favored the cut for Bryan Cranston two seasons ago when he was nominated for “Trumbo.”

Opulent Colors
From rich chocolate brown (“Stranger Things” nominee Dacre Montgomery’s Giorgio Armani at the SAG Awards) to emerald green (“Silicon Valley” nominee Thomas Middleditch in Ermenegildo Zegna Couture at the Critics’ Choice Awards), Urbinati is seeing an explosion of luxurious hues. “Because so many people do color nowadays, it’s hard to find tones that are a little bit unusual,” says Urbinati, who’s been gravitating toward gemstone tones. Her favorite? Hammer’s gold Dolce & Gabbana at the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival. “I’m completely obsessed with it,” says Urbinati of Hammer’s “spezzato” look with its deliberately mismatched pants. “Sometimes I like to do the whole look in color and sometimes it’s a lot, like gold for example, so it’s nice to take it down a notch. You don’t see a lot of movie stars wearing gold — usually that’s reserved for musicians — but I felt like Armie pulled it off. He’d just come back from vacation, so he was tan, and it was Palms Springs, so it had a little bit of a Rat Pack vibe to it. It was perfect.”

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