• Fashion

80th Golden Globes: Fashion Rebels – Harry Styles, James Dean, Timothée Chalamet, Marlon Brando, Billy Porter

Timothée Chalamet, Marlon Brando, Harry StylesHarry Styles2019 Timothee Chalamet, 76th Golden GlobesMarlon Brando

Men’s Fashion: Harry Styles, Timothée Chalamet, Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando – disruptors of style.


James Dean received the Henrietta Award (World Film Favorite) posthumously, in 1957. He is credited with creating a new wave of fashion for men, a rebellion, a sign that the young stood firmly against what their parents had worn.  


That youth rebellion arrived on the streets in the mid-1950s. It shows up with a swagger, as teens adopted the fast pace and sharp looks of their screen idols. Maybe his untimely death, in a silver Porsche on the open roads of Paso Robles, added to his disruptor status. The impactful brevity of a shooting star had crossed our universe.


However, any student of film and fashion will look to The Wild One (1953), starring Marlon Brando, and before that, to A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) as the first to disrupt the male uniform, introducing sensuality and comfort to define a wardrobe. 


Brando, who was nominated ten times for the Golden Globes and won five, embodied the counter-image to the restrictive compliance of tailored suits that had ruled the 1940s. He was all masculinity with his leather jacket, cap, and jeans rolled up at the ankle. His wardrobe and posture in The Wild One created a blueprint that is seen in fashion today.


Every generation has an actor that disrupts the clothing status quo. They all carry traces of the former rebels.


Here, we trace a few of our current style leaders – Harry Styles, Timothée Chalamet, and Billy Porter. It is in their fashion choices that we see the lineage that recalls the previous generation’s disruptors of fashion: Johnny Depp, Steve McQueen, James Dean, and, yes, Marlon Brando.

Marlon Brando Marlon Brando

What Madonna did for the bra, Brando did for the undershirt. Both stars turned underwear into outerwear.


We have the U. S. Navy to thank for issuing the t-shirt as a staple undergarment, back in 1913. The t-shirt’s origins trace back to the Spanish-American war, in 1898. 


It was one of our literary greats, Scott F. Fitzgerald, who first used the word ‘T-shirt’ in print, in his novel This Side of Paradise.


The tee, as it’s lovingly called, would have stayed hidden, glimpsed only through the unbuttoned collar of a shirt. But then, Marlon Brando entered the scene.


Film buffs hail A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – and Brando’s performances as Stanley Kowalski – for popularizing the tee. It certainly solidified the mass appeal of such a humble, yet potent garment.


Brando had been seen in his undershirt, worn a little too tight, especially across the biceps and chest, bristling testosterone in an earlier film, The Men (1950). The storyline showcases Brando as a war vet coming to terms with his life as a paraplegic. The physical restrictions of the character allowed the full focus of Brando in his raw attired, as he dealt with the emotional fallout of being wheelchair-bound.


The one-two punch of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Men, followed by The Wild One in 1953, shredded the conventions of masculine dressing. 


It’s a style look that revolutionized men’s wear. Suddenly it was cool to wear a tee. Still is. Thanks, Marlon!

Marlon Brando Marlon Brando

The Wild One (1953) introduced the leather jacket as a staple of every guy’s wardrobe. Note: it is worn over a tee, and at that time, oozed rebellion.


Top left: The aviator sunglasses is still one of the most popular choices today. They add a sense of ‘cool’, even though it is now part of any fashionista’s closet.


The peaked cap still holds appeal. 


Now, look below at the similarities and differences between Marlon Brando and James Dean.

Marlon Brando James Dean

As the decade began, a pair of jeans, a tee, and a jacket were the uniform of youth.


(l) Brando’s look is bulkier. The jacket is a statement of power with its zips and neck closure. The jeans are wide-legged – turned up at the ankle.


(r) In 1955, James Dean starred in Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden. In the former, his jeans are a little leaner. The ankle detail is gone. The jacket is slimmer. 


The hair was gelled but for the ‘ducktail’ created in the front.

James DeanSteve McQueen

Top left: James Dean is seen in East of Eden with a leaner silhouette. The colors are forever stylish. Caramel on cream. The over sweater is tight on the bicep, hugs the torso, but not overly so, as if merely alluding to what lay beneath. His hair is almost the same shade as the sweater. The entire look provides a feel of being caged and wanting to break free, as befitting his character in the film.


Top right: Steve McQueen aka ‘The King of Cool’. While Brando was all machismo and brute force, McQueen emphasized the counter culture with the attitude that, if he’d tried to, he could’ve been part of the establishment. His disdain for conformity meant he’d mess with the concept of what it means to be a good member of society. By being true to himself, he beat them all.


The appeal was perfect for the 60s, when everything was in flux and the establishment was vehemently contested in many parts of the world.


Nominated for six Golden, Globes McQueen took home two Henrietta Awards – an earlier honoree/incarnation of what would become the Golden Globe.


Above – right and below – left: McQueen is seen in the same jeans and jacket as the two previous rebels of style. But there is something urbane about the items. The jacket is much more tailored, as is the shirt. The belt is wider. The buckle is wider, making a statement, drawing the eye to the hip and the top of the fly. The trouser-waist is slightly lower, a trend that would continue throughout the 60s.


Now look at Johnny Depp Below – right.


Steve McQueen2015 Johnny Depp

With ten nominations and one win for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetJohnny Depp broke into the zeitgeist as the lead in 21 Jumpstreet. He became an instant reluctant idol delivering critically acclaimed performances, in films like Cry Baby (1990), Benny & Joon (1993) and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).


Exhibiting a unique dress sense with overtones of the young Brando – with whom he starred with in Donnie Brasco (1997) – it was his relationship with a model and fashion icon in her own right, Kate Moss, that cemented his role as the new fashion interruptor. 


Above – right: We see Depp in the same honey-hued jacket as McQueen, which he paired over baggy jeans. He finishes the look with a hat. Not what the average guy was wearing around the turn of this century.

2011 Johnny Depp2007 Johnny Depp

Another Depp fashion trend was the reintroduction of leather wrist guards – a holdover from the 70s. He embraced ‘stressed’ clothing – be it ‘torn’ jeans or ‘worn’ boots.


The star of Pirates of the Caribbean embraces waist coats over baggy shirts. Often a pocket kerchief is seen peaking from the breast pocket, or dangling from his trouser pocket.


A total GQ trait is to take the long sleeved shirt and roll it back all the way to the bicep.


Multiple chains, leather thongs and rings are a basic part of his wardrobe.


While he is known to wear contact lenses, he as readily dons his glasses – which are seldom subtle. The statement pieces are a fashion encyclopedia in their own right.

2009 Johnny Depp2005 Johnny Depp, 62nd Golden Globes

Timothée Chalamet, Billy Porter and Harry Styles seem to be of a different ilk in the fashion stakes, like nothing that has gone before – but are they?


First up: Timothée Chalamet – like Steve McQueen before him, veers towards a slim fit. He’s disruptive in his choices, comfortable in pushing expectations. 


(l) At the Cannes Film Festival this year, he wore a jumpsuit. It’s been done before, sure, but the strappy top and plunging back were firsts for a major star on the red carpet.


(r) Now cast your eye towards his kilt, tee and jacket. Remove the kilt and you are looking at the blueprint created decades earlier by Brando: boots, tee and, instead of a leather jacket, we have a cardigan that looks like a jacket. His hair is lightly groomed, adding to the look of disruption that questions a formal order.

Timothée Chalamet Timothée Chalamet
2019 Timothee Chalamet, 76th Golden GlobesTimothée Chalamet

Above: At the Golden Globes in 2019, the twice nominated Best Actor, (for Call Me By Your Name and Beautiful Boy) retained the monochromatic look of which McQueen was so fond. But Chamalet adds a piece that is a total disruptor: a sequined over-vest. It pulls the outfit up a notch and makes you wonder: why has it taken so long for men to do this?


Below: Harry Styles uses the same lightly groomed hair, but adds a flower to his lapel. How fun. Why not? At weddings and assorted special functions men have sported a boutonniere – we are just accustomed to them being a little smaller. Style’s isn’t, but its so cool – and we want to see others try it.

Harry Styles Harry Styles

Above and below: Styles and Chalamet echo Depp’s love of rings and nail polish. We should note the purse that Harry carries. For every woman who has ever complained about carrying her husband’s keys or wallet – this is the obvious solution. Men – carry a purse!

Harry Styles

Billy Porter has introduced men to the cape. He often goes monochromatic – as he does here, at the Golden Globes – and then adds a cape with a train. The train can be of contrasting color or not. He also sports a purse.


The evolution of men’s fashion spills from the screen to the red carpet to the mainstream. What shocks you today will be your go-to choice tomorrow. So open your minds and try something different.


Return on January 10th to see who will fill the shoes of Fashion Rebel at the 80th Golden Globes.

2019 Billy Porter, 76th Golden GlobesBilly Porter