Oscar Isaac made headlines this past month when he wore a shin-skimming gray pleated skirt, courtesy of Thom Browne, to a screening of Moon Knight in London. He looked incredibly handsome–and went viral. It’s not every day we see an action hero in a skirt but only the week before, he was spotted in a Commission skirt. Both looks were the brainchildren of stylist Michael Fisher. “It is his first Marvel project and he plays an unconventional superhero,” says Fisher. “We wanted to talk about that, different roles, and what a superhero looks like.”
Fisher’s client roster is full of other stylish, wave-making men. He’s put Sebastian Stan in a Givenchy suit with a pierced collar at the BAFTAs, Kelvin Harrison Jr. in a checked skirt for Coach, and Kieran Culkin in a herringbone Etro suit with a mustard sweater for a Mr. Porter dinner. There’s also the ageless Paul Rudd in a Paul Smith suit and a striped Comme des Garçons tie at a premiere for The Shrink Next Door, Ethan Hawke in a Bode shirt while doing press for The Moon Knight, and Jake Gyllenhaal wearing a Gucci suit layered on top of a silk track jacket and a T-shirt for the red carpet of Ambulance. The signature Fisher look is statement-making but not peacocking, and typically in a head-turning hue.
The stylist credits his former career in photography with developing his eye for color. He worked as photographer Annie Leibovitz’s archivist for 12 years, from 1994 to 2007. When he was figuring out what to do next, a friend recommended that Fisher try his hand at styling. From there, he began assisting Lori Goldstein, Bill Mullen, and Rachel Zoe. “I really liked the celebrity aspect,” says Fisher over the phone to Vogue. It wasn’t an easy transition. “I was going out there, trying to find an agent, and everyone kept saying, ‘You need to style women if you’re going to do celebrity.’ And I kept insisting, ‘No, I can do this.’” Finally, he nabbed his first client. A buzzy one. Mickey Rourke. For the Oscars in 2009, when Rourke was nominated for Best Actor for The Wrestler, Fisher put the actor in a three-piece white Jean Paul Gaultier suit. Rourke accessorized with a pendant of his late dog, Loki.
As a stylist, Fisher has to mesh his taste with the actor’s. “I do think I have a good instinct for tapping into what their DNA is, what they feel comfortable in, and then just kind of elevating it and pushing it forward a bit,” he says. “It does change from year to year and project to project with these guys.” The stylist also has to consider where the actors are in their career. Fisher worked with Sam Rockwell as the actor was moving away from character roles and towards being a leading man. To signal that shift sartorially, he dressed the actor in brighter colors and prints—monochromatic suits, printed camp shirts, and colorful socks. “He was transitioning from being a character actor to a leading man,” says Fisher. “I think I have good instincts about what you should look like in that transition and how we can push it forward and capitalize on a campaign like an award season campaign.”
Ultimately, Fisher’s vision is a relaxed one. He does not want his clients to appear as if they are taking everything seriously. (case in point: an Instagram of Fisher’s clients Hawke and Isaac playfully giving the middle finger to the camera.) “It should be fun and effortless. I take it seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. That really helps,” he says. “That’s also a good philosophy for most of these guys.”
That fun-loving spirit appears in the smallest details of Fisher’s work. “I do feel like socks are the period of an outfit, and a true sign of the person’s personality,” says Fisher. “Clients like Sam Rockwell and Oscar Isaac love a fun, conversational sock. It is also an easy icebreaker when they are doing press. People always comment.” (This love for socks has landed Fisher a collaboration with The London Sock Company.)
Fisher’s rise in styling came at the right time. We’re in an era where men are taking more risks when they get dressed—even Hollywood’s leading men. “[Coming out of the pandemic] more guys are willing to go there,” he says. “I think guys are not so intimidated or self-conscious about it anymore.” Expect more outré styling moments from Fisher–and definitely more skirts.