At last night’s Oscars, the standout red carpet moments were those that defied convention—whether Timothée Chalamet’s chest-baring Louis Vuitton jacket or the prevalence of tailored white shirts on some of the night’s starriest arrivals, including Zendaya and Uma Thurman. And while Kristen Stewart’s subversive take on the short suit may have got the most of the attention when it came to idiosyncratic red carpet looks, there was another look cut above the knees that sparked plenty of conversation, worn by none other than Wesley Snipes.
The Blade star—who was attending the ceremony to present an award along with his White Men Can’t Jump costars Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez, in honor of the Spike Lee classic’s 30th anniversary—took to the red carpet wearing a custom burgundy suit by Matthew Williams for Givenchy. Looking at the top half, which featured a jacket with a cropped, squared-off hem and a shirt and bow tie in a matching hue, the only detail that might have seemed out of the ordinary was the silver brooch Snipes pinned to the lapels of his jacket. Look below the waistline, however, and Snipes had a radically different take on the classic red carpet suit. In place of a meticulously-cut, ankle-length trouser, the actor opted for a pair of bermuda shorts with matching leggings underneath and a silk loincloth embroidered with the Givenchy emblem.
Within the world of men’s red carpet dressing—which, let’s face it, can often feel a little bit staid—it was a breath of fresh air. While the shorts suit for men has something of a checkered history, in recent years it’s emerged as a stylish alternative for sartorial risk-takers like Pharrell or LeBron James, with both favoring the crisply tailored versions in suiting fabric made by Thom Browne. (The designer himself is also a walking billboard for the virtues of the shorts suit.) While Snipes’s look might have set social media abuzz, its unexpected charms lie precisely within its willingness to be divisive among a sea of standard-issue black and white tuxedos. If anybody could pull it off, it’s Snipes.
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