Don’t be surprised – you had to have known that I’d be back for my favourite part of the year in entertainment: Award Season.
It kicks off this Sunday with the Golden Globes and I’m thrilled with all the little preparation nuggets that have been shared so far. As always, it almost seems like the fashion awards handed out on the red carpet are more important than the actual statuettes. While the women always seem to take centre stage with their couture, I feel that men are very quickly rising up to impress us with their choices. It’s interesting to see how they choose to make themselves stand out in the small decisions they make with what many might consider a standard uniform. Yet, a small choice on a slight change in colour, stitching, lapel or cuff can make all the difference and make one stand out from the rest of the pack despite everything else being the same. When done well, it is a lesson in something women could stand to learn: a restrained form of dressing focusing only on what’s important – less bling and more sophisticated polish.
As a result of this, I was very excited to read the article (posted below) from the Telegraph (originally posted here). It’s nice getting a peak into how men do the pre-award show fashion hunt and prep.
Men’s style: how to dress for the red carpet
He’s dressed Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Prince William. Now he’s making the male stars look their best for the Golden Globes in Hollywood. Nick Allen gets some red carpet tips from tailor Nick Hart
Nick Hart (right) adjusts a dinner suit at Chateau Marmont, West Hollywood Photo: Emma Jones By Nick Allen
10:21AM GMT 10 Jan 2014
It’s three days to the Golden Globes and Nick Hart, founder and creative director of Savile Row tailor Spencer Hart, is surrounded by some very impressive looking suits in a bungalow next to the swimming pool at legendary Hollywood venue Chateau Marmont.
“Is that Benedict’s?” he asks an assistant before hanging Benedict Cumberbatch’s red-carpet attire on a rail. Other British stars like Dan Stevens and Rufus Sewell are expected for fittings, along with regular client P Diddy and Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron.
In the run up to an awards ceremony speed is of the essence, but come Sunday they will all step in front of the cameras in one of Hart’s creations, looking like the proverbial million dollars.
“You never quite know when you’ll get the call,” Hart tells me. “You’re working around other people’s schedules so we’ve brought our tailor with us, and we have a local person with us, so we can turn things round quickly. They need it turned around in 24 hours, really. The big secret is having very good tailors on hand to just get on the case. The alterations are incredibly important.”
Around 40 tuxedos have also made the trip from Spencer Hart’s headquarters in a former bank vault opposite Claridge’s in London. They will be nipped and tucked to perfection for celebrities who have left it until the last minute.
This year, Spencer Hart is being sponsored by Rolls-Royce and those clients are being ferried to Chateau Marmont in a three-strong fleet consisting of a Phantom, a Ghost, and a Wraith. Even if they don’t win an award, they will certainly feel like winners.
“We’ve got this wonderful situation of picking people up in Rolls-Royces and bringing them over here,” says Hart. “We’ve also brought a lot of stock with us in lots of different shapes and sizes.
“It tends to be all in the same midnight blue colours, but different fits. Some are soft shoulder, some have constructed shoulders, and there are different lapel types. Men’s bodies vary a lot. Some people you need to build up, some people you need to soften down, but we always then try to give a very elegant, sharp fitted look, something with a point of view.
“The challenge with men’s black tie is how you do something that doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard but stands out without looking comical. You’re trying to make men look super-elegant, and a bit superhuman, but without looking like something out of a costume drama.”
As for fitting famous people, it’s all about gaining the trust of the star.
“We make people feel very comfortable,” says Hart. “Within people’s mad lives and mad schedules, with all the phones buzzing, it’s about taking them out of that for a minute so you can get the best out of a fitting. You need to get the confidence of the person as they’re putting themselves in our hands.
“Then what we try to do is take something that’s very old school and classical and bring just a little bit of subversion to it, to give it that edge.”
These days a lot more people are watching the results. Where the red carpet focus used to be entirely on women and their dresses, or lack thereof, interest in men’s attire has exploded. And people do make mistakes.
Hart: ‘You do see some car crashes on the red carpet’ (Photo: Emma Jones)
“You do see some car crashes on the red carpet, for men as well as women,” says Hart. “You have to keep the colour palate sober, which is really black or midnight blue. We have a preference for midnight blue. It photographs better. It looks better in the flashbulbs. I think an overabundance of velvet and an overabundance of colour on the red carpet doesn’t work.
“On the other hand it’s about understanding the rules to break, and how to break them. One of my favourite shots is of Jack Nicholson in the 1960s, or early 1970s. He’s got a three piece, very wide lapel dinner suit on and he’s wearing shades and a beret. And he looks so cool.”
Hart, whose influences include David Bowie and the Rat Pack, has developed a style for “very likeable, slightly raffish people” and those “doing things on their own terms.” His investors include Robbie Williams, who is also a big fan of the clothes.
Other clients include Daniel Craig, Jay-Z, and Prince William. He describes being asked to do a fitting for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace as “one of the most incredible experiences of my life, just purely because they were such nice people. It was really quite surreal but quite wonderful.” The prince ordered two suits and a blazer.
Overall, Hart doesn’t believe in fashion “dos and don’ts,” describing them as “complete tosh”. Men should “have fun” developing they’re own style and “dress to please themselves”, but get their mistakes out of the way early.
His own worst fashion mistake came when he was 15 and donned a yellow toweling jacket with black leather trousers and a soul boy haircut.
“I was coming out of Camberley station,” he says. “The Windsor chapter of the Hell’s Angels drove past, stopped and looked at me. Then the lead guy points at me, laughs and drives off. It still makes me shake thinking about it.
“It was a different era. I thought the outfit was pretty cool but the Hell’s Angels didn’t. There were a lot of bikers in the suburbs of Berkshire in those days.”
Red carpet style: Nick Hart’s tips for buying a dinner suit:
Get a half-canvassed rather than a fused suit. It will give a better fit.
Go for midnight blue. It looks richer and lasts longer.
Make use of a really good alterations tailor. It’s worth it.
Choose close fitting, flat fronted trousers without belt rings – simple and elegant
Shirts should have a spread white collar, not wing tip, and a double cuff.
Wear a black silk tie, not too wide, with a slim knot – look how Prince Charles does his knot.
Add a simple white handkerchief in the breast pocket.
Fasten one button on the jacket. It creates a nice V-shape and gives you presence.
Wishing you the best of everything,