Brad Pitt’s skirt has an agenda

Earlier this month, Brad Pitt walked the red carpet at the premiere of his upcoming movie “Bullet Train” in Berlin, wearing a chestnut-colored drop skirt.

When a reporter asked him the reason for the skirt, Mr. Pitt jokingly replied, “Breeze”—Europe, after all, was in the midst of a severe heat wave. But the outfit may have another purpose: masculinity. (Through a cast, the actor had no comment on his attire.)

After he donned the linen ensemble, the term “Brad Pitt’s skirt” reached 100, the highest possible score on Google Trends, the search engine’s interest measure. According to Twitter, after the Berlin red carpet, tweets referring to Brad Pitt increased by 63% compared to the previous week, with users praising him (“Cheers, Brad”) and mocking him (“I need publicity. Let me wear a skirt”).

Publicity is a major consequence. By donning a skirt, the 58-year-old Mr. Pitt managed to get the phrase “Bullet Train premiere” in publications that would otherwise not have covered the action movie.

Several online commentators focused on the clothing choices of Ryan Gosling (left) and Chris Evans (right) during the “The Gray Man” press tour.


Tristar Media / WireImage

As a tactic, the tweet-skirt was no stranger: Male movie stars are now constantly viral for red-carpet outfits tarnishing the conference. “Moon Knight” star Oscar Isaacs sparked an online brawl in March when he donned a pleated skirt to a European press event. On a press tour for “The Gray Man” earlier this month, Ryan Gosling wore a crimson Gucci jacket, white stockings and a leather tie — an online commentator couldn’t decide if he looked like Michael Jackson or a Peelope. Shaggy Chris Pine has become a menswear me me Because of his recent penchant for lacy shirts and striped pants.

While the ability to memorize may not be the only goal of these representatives, it is not unwelcome.

“Caring for the sake of attention is not what we seek,” Wendy and Nicole Ferreira, the sister design team working with Mr. Payne, wrote via email. They added, however, that rapid diffusion is “the ultimate form of media and earned publicity”.

Mark Avery, Mr. Gosling’s stylist since 2015, also emphasized that virility is not a goal, but he has begun to consume online feedback. “I wouldn’t tell the truth if I didn’t say I did a little bit of searching on Google in the first couple of days after [Ryan] Walks on the carpet.” He savors the most ridiculous comments: “I’d rather read about a look you designed for a client as ‘ridiculous’ or ‘what are they thinking’ than ‘boring!'”

“The stars understand that they will get more coverage if they wear something worth talking about,” said Tom Fitzgerald, who since 2006 has run the popular website Tom and Lorenzo with partner Lorenzo Marques. The couple noted that when the site started, a post about a woman would get about three times as many visits as a post about a man. Today these traffic numbers are roughly equal.

On the red carpet, Taika Waititi went in a striped suit.


Axel / Power Griffin / Film Magic

“A lot of these guys—there are certain people in particular—have a moment, you see them all over the place,” said Ilaria Urbinati, a longtime celebrity stylist who works with a wide roster of Hollywood fixtures including The Rock and Donald Glover.

Through social media, Ms. Urbinati has an instant automated machine for her work. When she posts pictures of her client Chris Evans wearing his professional jacket on Instagram, likes and emojis pour in in the hundreds. She said, “People comment on his clothes…People pay attention to the details, they’re excited – it’s like everything.”

The costumes of the actors have rarely received this level of attention, let alone entire articles. In the late 2000s — before Instagram fan accounts and celebrity-style blogs took hold — most men wore a dark suit and tie at the premiere. If they are brave, they will exchange T-shirt or jeans. (The @nightopenings Instagram account is a fun repository of time in this more conservative era.)

“It happened like the Oscars and the Emmys? “All those tuxedos were so boring,” Mr. Marquez said. The brands were somewhat expected, too: lots of Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. The blending was on target.

Chris Pine’s ’70s style choices have become meme fodder.


Albert El Ortega / Getty Images

Sometime around the middle of 2010 the priorities changed. Celebrity stylists entered the picture, tasked with recasting clients as specialized venture capitalists. In the flash of paparazzi, Jared Leto in teal jackets, Chadwick Boseman in lacy opera coats and Billy Porter strolling the red carpet in a Christian Siriano gown. “Younger stars, black stars, and anomalous stars out there push the envelopes and get no reaction because of it,” said Mr. Fitzgerald, “They get praise for that.”

And Hollywood elders noticed it. Prada sundry suits had to go. in its place? Linen skirts and oversized eggplant suits.

“It opened the doors to menswear, and it gave celebrities the opportunity to make red carpet choices reflective of their unique personalities,” the Ferrera sisters wrote.

And returning to the carpet after the pandemic has stopped has made some stars and stylists less risk averse — even clothing tolerant. “People just enjoy what they wear,” Ms. Urbinati said. “You can wear fuchsia Birkenstocks on the rug with a fuchsia suit.”

Having a star dressed up can also be a boon for brands. Tom and Lorenzo note that readers are hungry to know, for example, the exact brand of the shirt Chris Evans is wearing. And as this group of 40-plus actors recast themselves as fashion stuntmen, they’re increasingly trotting obscure designers—a form of individual skill on the red carpet. “I always challenge myself to find brands that not everyone is wearing,” Ms Urbinati said.

Mr. Pitt’s dangling skirt may have set a new standard for mystery. It was designed by Haans Nicholas Mott, a nearly unknown designer, who is based in New York and isn’t carried in any stores and runs a “referral only” business, according to GQ. The undercover designer has no publicly available email, website, phone number, or address and the Wall Street Journal has no access to it.

However, Tom and Lorenzo predict that the carpet frenzy will return to subtle formal wear in time, as audiences run out of the “look at me” look. “We’re going back to the more conservative red carpet, but for now, it’s time to party,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

Write to Jacob Gallagher at

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