“I love to wear a suit that’s tailored to perfection,” says Chris Pine, “because I’m really picky about fit, but otherwise it’s all easy. The more you do the red carpet, the easier it becomes.”
Red carpets have long been the domain of women, the one area of Hollywood where females get top billing. But as the ante has been upped on men’s appearance, so has the pressure to make more of a statement for men. George Clooney, our generation’s Cary Grant, is always impeccable, despite his claim that he rolls out the same Armani suit year after year. Many men, including some action stars, have embraced the required designer pressure. Gerard Butler, who returned to action (Olympus Has Fallen) after forays into drama, places the emphasis on comfort and style. “I love Dolce and Gabbana, how they cut suits, they’re really great tailors, and I love the way they fit, but I don’t take it too seriously. I’ve worn a kilt to a premiere, but because it was held in Glasgow I thought I could get away with it there. As a leading man, you generally want to sit back and be more subtle. When I’m not on the red carpet, I’d rather wear a cool, easy tee-shirt and a pair of jeans. In New York I maybe feel more of a hipster, and make more of a statement, with a cool shirt, jacket or scarf. I have the ability to come out of my shower and be out of the house in 30 seconds.
Kenneth Brannagh agrees. Comfort is paramount. “People try and get you to wear what you are expected to wear rather than what you want to wear,” smiles the star of Wallander and director of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit who has walked the carpet for nominations as both a director and an actor. “I feel you should have as natural an approach as possible. I like to wear things that feel comfortable. Those events take a long time. You need to be physically comfortable in your shoes. The material of the jacket and trousers have to be light.”
While some take the casual approach, for others, even veterans, the red carpet still causes nerves. Kevin Costner who has won Golden Globes and Oscars, likes to have his wife by his side. He considers interviews on the red carpet as one of his biggest nightmares. “I find my breathing goes off.” He takes a deep breath, holds it and then releases it in a gush, laughing. “I breathe really hard when I get nervous - and my wife notices. She’ll look over and calm me.” He also likes to have her around when he gets dressed. “A tuxedo is not something you can put on alone,” he notes. “It’s complicated.” He likes to spend the time prepping with his spouse. “It’s nice, that connection.”
With Mark Wahlberg, the opposite is true. “When we’re getting ready for the red carpet I try and stay out of my wife’s way while she’s getting dressed. I can be ready in ten minutes, so I’ll watch a football game. Because we have children, we usually go to a hotel if we’re going to the Globes. The day of the event, we may go out to lunch, but usually it’s just a fun day. We try and enjoy ourselves so we’re relaxed when we get there.”