10 February 2020 22:17
Over the last few years, we've paid plenty of attention to the big stylist-actor narrative, a multi-day campaign of interviews and behind-the-scenes Instagrams that imply someone is transmitting a grand and life-changing message through a kooky suit. Maybe we're suffering from a case of Camp Burnout, but the whole thing seems to be wearing a little thin. Sometimes it feels like so many people have a hand in creating this moment that the wearer gets lost in the look, buried under the burden of referencing five different things all at once. Unless you are operating at a Spike Lee level—if for you speaking through clothes is not merely natural but instinct—sometimes it's fine to leave the virtue signaling tuxedo or whatever on the stylist's rack. Or forgo the big-time stylist completely!
Enter, in the words of Billie Eilish at last night's Oscars, yesterday. Because at this year's Academy Awards, it felt like a much more powerful message to simply look great. Just look at Brad Pitt in Brioni! There are small, Pittian details, like the shawl collar and the slightly oversized butterfly bowtie. But he mostly looks like Academy Award winner Brad Pitt, and nothing else is in the way. "I think of my folks taking me to the drive-in to see Butch and Sundance. And loading up my car and moving out here," he said in his speech, like Hollywood was a state university where he showed up to try out for the basketball team. All of Pitt's formal looks offer a bit of, "Go West, young man!"—which he did, and look where it landed him! Never forget where you came from—I'm thinking of those scuffed up boots he wears nearly every other day—but don't forget to clean up for where you are now. Brad Pitt at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 09, 2020. Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images Al Pacino is a guy who bends the will of every event to him. He's still dressing like he did in the '80s and '90s, like he just strolled down Rodeo Boulevard a few days before the ceremony and headed into Giorgio, the legendary Hollywood New Wave boutique that pulled a reverse Spaghetti Western by bringing Italian fashion to Los Angeles and merchandising it between pool tables and bubble gum machines. Wearing the clothing of the other Giorgio—Armani—Pacino looked a tiny bit gaudy and absolutely himself. You get the feeling someone told him how to hem the pants but stopped short of any other recommendations. (Maybe they suggested the scarf, knowing that he loves that kind of method-actor-off-duty touch.) "The jacket features a fancy ottoman satin blend," Armani's press department noted of the jacket, and if you look at the closeups you can almost hear Pacino yelling, "FANCY!"