Red carpets are back, but red carpet dressing is still getting its groove back. Sartorially speaking, we’re still oiling up the hinges, doing some jumping jacks, and taking a few deep-belly breaths—that is, unless you’re a Hollywood leading man, in which case you’re diving head-first into an endless pool of very, very snug velvet. (Or maybe corduroy.)
Last night almost saw a collision in the velvet lap pool between the two leading men of the new Netflix movie, Red Notice, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a deep amethyst suit by Ralph Lauren, and Ryan Reynolds in a persimmon-y corduroy three-piece set by Armani. It appears, however, that the velvet-off might have been intentional: both were styled by Ilaria Urbinati, longtime dresser of A-list men.
(Whether or not either of them held a candle to Gwyneth in her Gucci red velvet is a discussion for another time.)
As Urbinati told GQ back in 2018, “Menswear moves so slowly, but it does move. Adventurous used to mean a plaid suit or houndstooth, but the color thing has evolved a lot. Now guys are wearing pink suits and turquoise and cranberry. It’s almost like the brighter or crazier, the better.”
And even if, these days, The Rock and Ryan Reynolds have officially put us on, uh, Red Notice, the fact that two of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars wore velvet to the same premiere (on purpose!) only confirms the soft-to-the-touch wave. Daniel Craig, Jonathan Majors, and Jeffrey Wright all sported velvet at the Bond premiere back in September. In just the last few weeks, we’ve seen Penn Badgley in a merlot-hued suit on Jimmy Kimmel, Wes Anderson in cocoa brown at The French Dispatch premiere, and freakin’ Prince William in an emerald number…with a turtleneck.
That’s the thing: the formula is simple, but the options are somehow endless. When it comes to velvet, color seems like it should be vaguely edible, mineral, or otherwise botanical in nature—raspberry, salmon, sapphire, ruby, forest, sage. You can take it easy with just a colorful jacket, like Craig at the Bond premiere, or go all-in with a three-piece suit, like Reynolds last night. Ties, socks, and top buttons optional. After that, you’ve just got to find a red carpet to stand on. (Oh, right—bonus points if you match the red carpet!)