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This story first appeared in the Oct. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Hollywood is suiting up once again. Sure, some industry players never abandoned wearing a suit, but in a dicey economic climate, more men are dressing for the challenge. “When things are tighter, people seem to button up more,” says Dana Brunetti, producer of the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey. That tracks with industry figures that show men’s suit sales increasing each year since the recession in 2009. Independent producer Geyer Kosinski also thinks the industry is dressing more formally these days as the influence of the tech boom in Hollywood wanes. “Everybody in the entertainment business wanted to be in the tech business,” says Kosinski. “But they’re really two separate businesses with two separate identities.” Hollywood stylist Annie Psaltiras, who dresses J.J. Abrams, Chris Pratt and Jim Parsons, among others, puts it simply: “Now, all of my clients are asking for suits.”
The new look — pulled-together and streamlined cuts — seems to literally fit the high-powered, sculpted industry template shaped by Crossfit. “I find that men are likely to gravitate to suits that fit them closer to the body,” says Psaltiras. And Andrew Weitz, former WME agent turned executive style consultant, touts variety. “If you really want to look the part, you need all the uniform colors, blues and grays. Beyond that, what’s sharp is to have a suit with texture or a pattern like a windowpane.”
Reliable maestro Giorgio Armani is named most often as the preferred designer, along with blue-chip labels like Gucci, Ermenegildo Zegna and Prada, often from their made-to-measure elite lines. Stylist Ilaria Urbinati says the new generation of designers also is focused on suits: “The new guys are Thom Sweeney, Ovadia & Sons, Kent & Curwen (designed by Simon Spurr) and Todd Snyder.” Some movers and shakers, like Relativity president Tucker Tooley, are going for a full custom-tailored look.
Whichever route they choose, many of the best-dressed men in Hollywood are putting their own stamp of individuality on the suit with well-chosen signature accessories. Ryan Seacrest usually likes to add a tie bar and pocket square, recalling one of his sartorial heroes, Frank Sinatra, and his wardrobe in the ’50s. Brunetti takes the starch out of wearing a suit by donning bold contrasting socks. Suits, they say, may make the man but, by all appearances, it’s the man in the end who really makes the suit.
READY FOR PRIMETIME
Ryan Seacrest (right) and Joe Earley
(Photographed Sept. 22 on the Fox lot in Los Angeles)
“I love wearing suits, I’ve always loved wearing suits,” says Seacrest, 39, long-running host of American Idol, radio personality, television producer and newly minted clothing designer (with his Ryan Seacrest Distinction collection, available at Macy’s and elsewhere). Before having his own line, Seacrest says he was partial to Burberry. “I always aim to be classic.” In the same vein, Earley, 47, a longtime Fox executive and newly minted Fox TV Group COO, says that he’s on board with the move toward “tighter and sharper” suits but still aspires to a look that is “understated — quality but not showy.”
‘THE INDUSTRY IS DRESSING UP MORE THESE DAYS’
From left: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tucker Tooley and Geyer Kosinski
(Photographed Sept. 27 at Relativity Media in Beverly Hills)
In matters of style, nothing is absolute at Relativity. “It used to be producers wouldn’t wear suits; agents would wear suits,” says studio president Tooley, 46. “But now it’s become more about personal style. One day you can be in a suit and the next day be in a T-shirt, and no one’s going to blink.” Producer di Bonaventura, whose film Kidnap, starring Halle Berry, is on the studio’s schedule for fall 2015, admits he rarely suits up these days. “Sometimes you want to communicate being in charge,” the 57-year-old says, “and sometimes you just want to make people feel comfortable.” Independent producer Kosinski, 48, now shepherding The Disappointments Room with Kate Beckinsale for fall 2015 release, says he wears a suit all but “once or twice every several months. I started wearing a suit early, so for me it’s very easy, it’s natural.”
MINDFUL OF THE DETAILS
(Photographed Sept. 27 at Brunetti’s Los Feliz house)
“I like things that you have to pay a little more attention?to get,” says Brunetti, 41, the producer of House of Cards. When he puts on a suit, he adds interest with a pair of contrasting socks “that sort of peek out” or an Alexander McQueen tie with a skull pattern that can be discerned only up close. While he dresses down for sessions with writers, he often aims to be “slightly overdressed” in meetings. “I have a bit of a baby face, so I grow a beard occasionally and I do the same thing with my style, to get people to take me seriously, one way?or another.” Hugo Boss (worn above) and Armani are staples.
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