Men on the Oscar Red Carpet: A Brief History of Male Peacocking

Male Peacocking_Split - Getty - H 2019
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Who will stand out this year and join a club of dandies and eccentrics who have made their mark on the red carpet? Bronwyn Cosgrave, a style historian and author of 'Made for Each Other: Fashion and the Academy Awards,' reveals past contenders.

The flamboyantly clad man is having a moment in recent years. If the Oscars airing on TV for the first time in 1952 prompted a few to show off their style, today, artfully dressed men are out in force, partly because of lucrative opportunities that can arise from doing it up with a bit more panache than wearing sober black tie.

“It’s all about campaigns,” says John Legend’s stylist, David Thomas, explaining that the exoticism currently infiltrating the red carpet is prompted by an actor’s pursuit of a highly paid fashion, fragrance or watch campaign, which used to be payoffs predominantly enjoyed by actresses.

The show’s fashion parade is also benefitting from an influx of more sartorially daring attendees, adds Thomas: “Musicians are clinching nominations, and they have always been less frightened of dressing up.”

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.