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‘Beale Street’ Star Colman Domingo Reflects on His Red Carpet Fashion Choices

If Beale Street Could Talk” star Colman Domingo admires the tenacity, humor and heart of his character Joe Rivers — “an everyman with simple needs who does the extraordinary.” The playwright, director and Tony-nominated actor pushes boundaries himself, with his work and wardrobe. “I have always been a bit of a peacock,” he says. “I’ve pushed the envelope when it comes to looking masculine, sexy, tailored and fun.”

“Twenty-four hours before this photo was taken, I was consulting Berry Gordy on his musical ‘Motown’ in Los Angeles,” Domingo recalls. Upon learning of his Tony nomination for “The Scottsboro Boys,” he flew to New York on a red-eye to attend the press conference. “Naturally, there was no time to think, so I chose something inspired by Toni-Leslie James, costume designer for the character for which I was nominated.” Domingo channeled “Mr. Bones” by way of a bow tie and mixed patterns from Hugo Boss. “I felt my best as I was also dressed close to the inspiration.”

Domingo spent a few years in London while reprising his role in “The Scottsboro Boys” in the West End. “I made frequent trips to Marrakesh, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin, so my style had evolved into something a bit more ‘citizen of the world,’” he says. For “Selma’s” New York premiere, he went “all the way.” “There is vintage Valentino, Vivienne Westwood, a Berber prayer box, beads and studded gloves at play. I see all of the influences of me living the world over. With traveling as my favorite pastime, it only makes sense that I bring that into every aspect of my life.”

Shortly after the premiere of AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” Domingo — who’s now directing episodes and starring in season five — attended the Emmy Awards. “For my first Emmys I decided to go classic with a three-piece tuxedo from the Savile Row in London,” he says. “The shawl collar was the unexpected element and it took away the stuffiness.” The Philadelphia native, who cites Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle and Hugh Hefner as fashion influences, likes to feel effortless. “[This was] classic tailoring, black and white, austere and timeless.”

Domingo couldn’t resist a project uniting James Baldwin with Barry Jenkins: “Both lyrical artists that challenge conventional storytelling with words and images.” For the Toronto premiere of “Beale Street,” Domingo wore head-to-toe Haider Ackermann. “That perfect blue made me feel like royalty,” he says. “The suit fit like a glove, the shirt didn’t feel constricting and I wore boots with it, to break away from convention.” Domingo fully commits to whatever fashion story he’s telling. “One can never mistake me for any other man on the red carpet; I look very distinctive, yet I look like me.”

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