2015 Academy Awards Red Carpet

Part of an ongoing series spotlighting the (in)ability of the men on the red carpet to capture the timeless elegance and sophisticated equivalence of black tie, whether through careful adherence to its conventions or skillful manipulation of them. (Readers unfamiliar with the standards of successful black tie can find a condensed summary in A Field Guide to Tuxedos, or an in-depth explanation in The Black Tie Guide.)

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There was certainly no shortage of classic formal styling on this year’s red carpet as the conservative tuxedo trends of late continue unabated.  One-button jackets, peak lapels and proper bow ties ruled the day as two-button jackets, notched lapels and long ties return to their rightful place with the business suit.  The vogue for suits that fit as tightly as sausage casings also continues to decline (which is a good thing) as does the practice of wearing formal waist coverings (a regrettable development).  Dark blue is still a popular alternative to black although it is now more typically a navy hue instead of the conventional midnight blue.  White dinner jackets were another popular alternative carried over from last year’s Oscars.

Exceptional

Examples of the tuxedo’s potential fulfilled, illustrating why black tie has been unequalled in its ability to transform a man and inspire an evening for over a century.

Perennial sharp dresser Armie Hammer (Getty)

Perennial dapper dresser Armie Hammer. (Getty)

Chris Pratt cleans up remarkably well thanks to classic menswear designer Tom Ford. (Getty)

Chris Pratt cleans up remarkably well thanks to classic menswear designer Tom Ford. (Getty)

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Chris Pine in a 4-button double-breasted tuxedo by Giorgio Armani. (Getty)

 Commendable

Admirable efforts.  Excluded from the highest honours due to minor shortcomings but nonetheless very respectable examples for the average man to emulate.

Best actor winner Eddie Redmayne was the most visible proponent of the blue contingent.  He wore an Alexander McQueen dinner suit and velvet slippers.  (AP Images)

Best actor winner Eddie Redmayne was the most visible proponent of the Men in Blue contingent. He wore an Alexander McQueen dinner suit and velvet slippers. (AP Images)

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk sported another smart example of blue evening wear.  Note the faced jacket cuffs.  (Getty)

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk sported another smart example of blue evening wear. Note the faced jacket cuffs. (Getty)

Actor and former pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson was another member of the formal Blue Man Group.  (Getty)

Former pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson, is not someone I ever expected to be placing on the best-dressed list. (Getty)

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson.  (Getty)

Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a blue 6-button double-breasted. (Getty)

Graham Moore, winner of the award for best adapted screenplay. (Getty)

Graham Moore, winner of the award for best adapted screenplay. (Getty)

Singer John Legend wears a Gucci tuxedo with velvet lapels and a matching bow tie. (Getty)

Singer John Legend wears a Gucci tuxedo with velvet lapels and a matching bow tie. (Getty)

Musician Adam Levine in a slim cut Armani Privé that suits his slim frame.  (Getty)

Musician Adam Levine is a textbook example of the slim physique needed to pull off a slim suit, in this case an Armani Privé tuxedo. (Getty)

Mark Ruffalo looks much less dishevelled than usual thanks to this sharp outfit, although he does suffer from the messy pant leg syndrome that also afflicted Elon Musk. (Getty)

Mark Ruffalo looks much less dishevelled than usual thanks to this sharp outfit, although he does suffer from the messy pant leg syndrome that also afflicted a number of other men. (Getty)

Channing Tatum in Dolce & Gabbana.  (Getty)

Actor and award presenter Channing Tatum in Dolce & Gabbana.  Although he is bare waisted here it appears that he donned a cummerbund before going on stage. (Getty)

Leading the charge of the white brigade is Benedict Cumberbatch.  (Getty)

Best actor nominee Benedict Cumberbatch leads the charge of the white brigade. (Getty)

Jeff Goldblum (left) wears the traditional interpretation of warm-weather black tie while fellow thespian Adrien Brody takes a slightly less conventional approach.  (Invision/AP)

Jeff Goldblum (left) wears the traditional interpretation of warm-weather black tie while fellow thespian Adrien Brody takes a slightly less conventional approach. (Invision/AP)

Debatable

Tastefully off the mark. Thought-provoking variations not necessarily recommended for viewers at home.  Most likely to be chosen “best dressed” by clueless fashionistas.

Singer Common co-wrote the winner of Best Song with John Legend.  His Prada jacket is very sharp but the overall effect is ruined by the white bow tie.  (Getty)

Singer Common co-wrote the winner of Best Song with John Legend. His dark blue velvet Prada jacket is stunning but the white bow tie falls flat when worn with a turndown collar. (Getty)

NFL player Victor Cruz would have been another contender for best dressed if not for the fact that flashing bare ankles is totally inappropriate for a formal event.  (Getty)

NFL player Victor Cruz would have been another contender for best dressed if not for the fact that flashing one’s bare ankles is totally incongruous with a formal setting. (Getty)

Actor Robbie Amell's tone-on-tone bold window pane pattern may not be technically formal but it is nonetheless respectful of black-tie fundamentals.  (Getty)

Actor Robbie Amell’s tone-on-tone bold window-pane pattern may not be technically formal but it is nonetheless respectful of black tie’s traditional principles. (Getty)

Eddie Murphy's pale lavender shirt is presumably a sartorial nod to his wife's dress.    (AP Images)

Eddie Murphy’s pale lavender shirt is presumably a sartorial nod to his girlfriend’s dress. I’m not sure how well that choice will hold up once he leaves her side. (AP Images)

Forgettable

More insipid than inspired.  Examples of bland and sloppy execution that will hopefully inspire others to step up their game.

Director Ron Howard looks much like an errant prom date in his wing collar and pre-tied bow tie.  His jacket features an orthodox style of shawl collar and an even odder fastener that only serves to expose more shirt waist.  (Getty)

Director Ron Howard looks much like an errant prom date in his wing collar and pre-tied bow. His jacket features an uninspired style of shawl collar and an odd  fastener that only serves to expose more shirt waist. (Getty)

Mario Lopez represents the die-hard long-tie wearers but even he has finally got the memo about ditching the double-buttons and notch lapels on formal jackets.  (Getty)

Mario Lopez represents the die-hard fans of long formal ties but even he has finally got the memo about ditching the double-buttons and notch lapels on formal jackets. (Getty)

Bradley Cooper trades in his usual bold Tom Ford tuxedos for an uninspired Salvatore Ferragamo number complete with pedestrian business suit vest.  (Getty)

Bradley Cooper trades in his usual bold Tom Ford styling for an uninspired Salvatore Ferragamo number complete with pedestrian business suit vest. (Getty)

Regrettable

Good intentions, bad choices.

Actor David Oyelowo's cranberry Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo is tastefully unorthodox but the same can't be said for the candy-apple red accessories.  (Getty)

Actor David Oyelowo’s cranberry Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo could possible be considered tastefully unorthodox but the same can’t be said for the candy-apple red accessories. (Getty)

Actor Ansel Elgort's blue Prada tuxedo is too bright to be truly elegant.  ANd his waist is too long to be wearing trousers that barely come up to his crotch.  (Getty)

Actor Ansel Elgort’s blue Prada tuxedo is too bright to be truly elegant. And his waist is too long to be wearing trousers that barely reach his crotch. (Getty)

The flashy silver colour of Matthew McConaughey's jacket needs to be offset by understated accents, not by a shiny satin collar and satin high-cut waistcoat.  (Justin Campbell)

The flashy silver tone of Matthew McConaughey’s jacket needs to be offset by understated accents, not by a shiny satin collar and satin high-cut waistcoat. (Justin Campbell)

Comic Kevin Heart inverts the traditional outfit's black and white scheme, stripping it of its understated refinement and after-dark propriety.  (Getty)

Comic Kevin Heart inverts the traditional outfit’s black and white scheme, stripping it of its understated refinement and after-dark propriety. (Getty)

Perennial awards host Neil Patrick Harris seems to wear a different tuxedo to every occasion with noticeably mixed results.  The  model he sported upon arrival was not particularly inspiring (left) while the ones he wore during and after the show were bang on. (Getty)

Perennial awards host Neil Patrick Harris seems to wear a different tuxedo to every occasion with noticeably mixed results. The model he sported upon arrival (left) was not particularly inspiring while the ones he wore during and after the show were bang on. (Getty)

Laughable

Hall of Shame candidates.  The most blatant bastardizations and sophomoric interpretations of formal convention, whether due to naïve ignorance or smug self-importance.  The results denigrate both the wearer and the occasion.

Jared Leto seems to be gunning for Mickey Rourke's title of most clueless formal dresser in Hollywood. (Getty)

Jared Leto seems to be gunning for Mickey Rourke’s title of most clueless formal dresser in Hollywood. (Getty)

JK Simmons may have won Best Supporting Actor but his sophomoric prom outfit won't win him any style awards.  (Getty)

JK Simmons may have won Best Supporting Actor but his juvenile prom outfit won’t garner any accolades. (Getty)

15 Comments

  1. PizzaMan

    Ansel Elgort’s tux will look fine in a dimly lit party. But such colours look horrible under the flash of a photo camera and that’s something he should have considered. I wore a similar tux to my wedding and it looked great on the evening (of course i wore a morning suit during the day). It also looked great on photos made by cell phones. You can just make out the blue so in that sense it’s a different effect than midnight blue but it looked (imho) great. Just on the photos of the official photographer it looked just as horrible as on Ansel Elgort’s picture. I had the photographer photoshop his photos to have the colour resemble what it looked like irl and on smartphone pics without a strong flash.

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall (Post author)

      Wearing a visibly blue tuxedo to one’s wedding is one thing, wearing it to a proper black-tie event where everyone else is clad in black is another. The reason that midnight blue is the only acceptable alternative to black is that it is virtually indistinguishable from black under low light conditions.

      Reply
  2. Philip PV

    If I may offer a minor correction – that is not the 50 Shades director Sam Taylor-Johnson in the blue double-breasted suit but her husband, the actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

    Reply
  3. Hal

    Excellent run down again.

    Just one quick correction, however – Sam Taylor Johnson is a woman. I’m pretty sure the man in the DJ will be her husband Aaron Taylor Johnson.

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall (Post author)

      Thanks for letting me know!

      Reply
      1. Jovan

        Another correction, he did not direct Fifty Shades of Grey. It was his wife Sam. He is best known for playing the title character of the Kick-Ass movies.

        Reply
        1. Peter Marshall (Post author)

          Thanks again.

          Reply
  4. Ian

    I take it your not a fifty shades fan Peter (If I can call you that)….

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall (Post author)

      I’m more of a Star Wars, Avengers, or James Bond kind of guy.

      Reply
  5. Keith

    Regardless of one minor point, Peter main points were valid. Although I don’t hate on the red tux (actually admired it), I would have not chosen it for this event, but that is just me.

    I have a navy blue, dark grey and a black tux for different occasions. For me, I don’t think it’s appropriate to stick out unless you are someone who is a feature of the night. It would be like a woman wearing a hooped white evening gown with a vail to another woman’s wedding. Never compete with the main attraction…its in bad taste.

    Reply
    1. Keith

      Btw, as associates of fifty shades of grey, why would they not have chosen grey for the evening?

      Reply
  6. Sharon

    I for one love Peter’s website & blog. My husband (of 30+ years) & I are planning on formal wedding with a twist. It will be balck tie, but barefoot on the beach. The reception will be indoors (with shoes). Any helpful hints for me/us Peter?

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall (Post author)

      If the dress code just applies to the wedding party then I don’t really have any advice. I imagine that your bridesmaids and groomsmen will be happy to wear whatever you suggest.

      However, if the dress code applies to guests as well then I would recommend you seriously reconsider asking them to wear their finest attire (A) in the warm sun (presumably the sun will still be up even for an evening ceremony) and (B) in the sand (which will get everywhere). It may sound whimsical and romantic in theory but in practice I fear it will prove to be impractical and awkward.

      Reply
  7. DESIGNCODEBLACK.COM

    Great article! Will you do an update of this years Oscars?

    We’ll have another look around at your website!

    Kind regards,

    DESIGN CODE BLACK

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall (Post author)

      I’ve been very busy with other things since selling the Guide but am sorely tempted to keep up the annual Oscars review!

      Reply

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