Brad Pitt’s skirt has a corporate agenda

Earlier this month, Brad Pitt took to the red carpet at the Berlin premiere of his upcoming film “Bullet Train”, wearing a chestnut-colored pendulous skirt.

Asked by a reporter why the skirt, a smirk Mr. Pitt jokingly replied, “Breeze”: Europe, after all, was in the throes of a punishing heatwave. But the outfit may have served another purpose: virality. (Through a rep, the actor did not comment on his outfits.)

After wearing the linen suit, the term “Brad Pitt’s skirt” hit 100, the highest possible score on Google Trends, the search engine’s interest measure. According to Twitter, after the Berlin red carpet, tweets mentioning Brad Pitt increased 63% from the previous week, as users praised him (“Cheers, Brad”) and pilloried him (“I need publicity. . Let me wear a skirt “).

And advertising is a fundamental achievement. Wearing a skirt, 58-year-old Mr. Pitt successfully landed the phrase “‘Bullet Train’ premiere” in publications that otherwise probably wouldn’t have covered the action shooter movie.

Many online commentators have rated the clothing choices of Ryan Gosling (left) and Chris Evans (right) during the “The Gray Man” press tour.


Tristar Media / WireImage

As a tactic, the skirt feeding tweets was no exception – male movie stars are now continually going viral for red carpet dresses writhing for conventions. “Moon Knight” star Oscar Isaac kicked off an online kerfuffle in March when he wore a pleated skirt to a European press event. During the press tour of “The Gray Man” earlier this month, Ryan Gosling wore a crimson Gucci jacket, white socks and a leather tie: the online commentator couldn’t decide whether he looked more like Michael Jackson or a delivery man. The shaggy maned Chris Pine has become a masculine boss meme due to his recent penchant for lace shirts and candy-striped trousers.

While memeability may not be these actors’ only focus, it is not unwelcome.

“Attention for the sake of attention is not what we are looking for,” wrote Wendi and Nicole Ferreira, the sister styling team working with Mr. Pine, via email. However, they added, going viral is “the latest form of earned media and advertising.”

Mark Avery, Mr. Gosling’s stylist since 2015, also pointed out that virality is not a goal, but has limited himself to consuming reactions online. “I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I didn’t say I went Google a little bit within the first couple of days after that [Ryan] walk on the carpet “. She savors even the most sarcastic comments: “I would much rather read about a look I designed for a client that ‘Is silly’ or ‘What are they thinking’, rather than, like, ‘Boring!'”

The stars “understand that they will get more coverage if they wear something worth talking about,” said Tom Fitzgerald, who has been running the celebrity-style site Tom and Lorenzo with his partner Lorenzo Marquez since 2006. The couple noted that at the start of the site, a post about a woman received about three times as much traffic as one about a man. Today, those traffic figures are about the same.

On the red carpet, Taika Waititi chose a cheeky pinstripe suit.


Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic

“A lot of these guys – there are some in particular – are having a moment, you see them everywhere,” said Ilaria Urbinati, a longtime celebrity stylist who works with an extensive list of Hollywood projectors including The Rock. and Donald Glover.

With social media, Ms. Urbinati has an instant feedback machine for her work. When she posts on her Instagram photos of her client Chris Evans with his prof. illuminated, likes and emojis spill out in the hundreds. “People are commenting on her dress … people are paying attention to the details, they are getting aroused, it’s like a whole thing,” she said.

Actors’ outfits rarely garnered this level of attention, let alone entire articles. Even in the 2000s, before fan Instagram accounts and celebrity-style blogs took off, most men wore a dark suit and tied to previews. If they were brave, they would trade a shirt or jeans. (The @nightopenings Instagram account is a time-sucking archive of this more reticent era.)

“An event like the Oscars and Emmys? It was all those very boring tuxedos, “said Mr. Marquez. The brands were also quite predictable: a lot of Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. Camouflage was the goal.

Chris Pine’s’ 70s style choices have become meme flesh.


Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

In the mid-2010s, priorities changed. Famous designers entered the scene, charged with reformulating customers as lovers of sartorial risk. In a paparazzi flash, Jared Leto wore teal blazer, Chadwick Boseman wore brocade opera coats, and Billy Porter strolled the red carpet in a Christian Siriano suit. “The younger stars, the black stars, the queer stars are out there pushing the envelopes and getting no backlash for it,” said Mr. Fitzgerald, “they’re getting praise for it.”

Hollywood elders have taken notice. The prosaic Prada dresses had to disappear. In their place? Linen skirts and eggplant oversize suits.

“The doors have opened wide on menswear and this has provided celebrities with the opportunity to make red carpet choices that reflect their unique personalities,” wrote the Ferreira sisters.

Getting back on the carpet after a pandemic hiatus has also made some stars and designers less risk-averse, even tailor-made indulgent. “People just have fun with what they’re wearing,” said Ms. Urbinati. “You can wear fuchsia Birkenstock on the carpet with a fuchsia dress.”

Having a star wearing your clothes can also be a boon to brands. Tom and Lorenzo have noticed that readers are hungry to know, say, the exact brand of shirt Chris Evans is wearing. And as this group of actors over 40 have remodeled themselves as fashion risk-takers, increasingly obscure designers are trotting around, a form of red carpet exclusivity. “I always challenge myself to find brands that not everyone wears,” said Ms. Urbinati.

Mr. Pitt’s dangling skirt may have set a new benchmark for darkness. It was designed by Haans Nicholas Mott, a virtually unknown New York-based designer who is not sold in stores and runs a “reference only” business, according to GQ. The clandestine designer has no publicly available email, website, phone number, or address, and the Wall Street Journal couldn’t reach him.

However, Tom and Lorenzo anticipate that the carpet frenzy will return to subtle formal wear in due course, as audiences run out of “look at me” looks. “We’ll be back on a more conservative red carpet,” said Fitzgerald, “but right now it’s party time.”

Write to Jacob Gallagher at [email protected]

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