Timothée Chalamet’s daring red carpet evolution


Written by Megan C. Hills, CNN

Actor Timothée Chalamet has had an explosive ride to Hollywood stardom. But while his acting talents have garnered him multiple awards, it is his wardrobe that has cemented his status as a menswear icon and secured the ultimate nod of approval from Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour: an invitation to co-chair next week’s Met Gala.

The annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York is one of the biggest events on the fashion calendar, and Chalamet is likely to dazzle on Monday evening’s red carpet alongside co-chairs Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman and Naomi Osaka.

Blending sleek tailoring and street style, the actor has challenged traditional ideals of masculinity through bold florals, sparkling leather harnesses and an arsenal of black leather boots. Unlike many of his Hollywood contemporaries, however, Chalamet does not work with a stylist — though he undoubtedly enjoys help from the fashionable friends he has made along the way.

Baby steps

Chalamet, who has been acting since he was a teenager, was not always the slick, polished dresser he is today.

Timothée Chalamet attending a Chateau Marmont party in 2013.

Timothée Chalamet attending a Chateau Marmont party in 2013. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Having picked up TV roles in shows including “Homeland” and “Law & Order,” he began making more regular red carpet appearances after making it to the big screen in films like “Interstellar.” As a fresh-faced newcomer, his awkward neckties and tight turtlenecks marked him out as a red carpet rookie — but they spoke of a desire to experiment and go beyond the conventional black suit.
Even in these early years, he offered glimpses of his sartorial calling cards by experimenting with bold patterns — like the galaxy-print trousers he wore for a screening of Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac.” He also began looking to varied textures and juxtaposition, like when he paired a pastel floral puffer jacket with black turtleneck at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015.
Timothee Chalamet in 2014 wearing galaxy-print trousers to a screening of "Nymphomaniac."

Timothee Chalamet in 2014 wearing galaxy-print trousers to a screening of “Nymphomaniac.” Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

As Chalamet became a household name in 2017, thanks to star turns in “Call Me by Your Name” and “Lady Bird,” his outfits matured with his performances. Turning to crisp suits, pressed collars and slick yet elegant outerwear, his look became that of a quintessential 21st century gentleman. What set him apart, however, were the occasions he chose to push boundaries by wearing suits in bold colors like cerulean and deep emerald.

It was around this time that Chalamet started embracing softness, as red velvet became a mainstay in his wardrobe. He also seemed emboldened to wear smart-casual attire at formal events, with sartorial wins including the purple suede jacket he wore to a screening of “Call Me by Your Name” and the red patterned polo he wore to a pre-Oscars event in 2017.

With friends like these

As Chalamet’s star continued to rise, his penchant for streetwear made way for something altogether more glamorous.

A crucial turning point may have been his friendship with designer Haider Ackermann, who was creative director of French label Berluti when the pair met in 2018. The young actor appeared to soak in Ackermann’s understated elegance, attending fashion shows and earning the nickname “Timo Bro” on the South American designer’s Instagram.

Chalamet wearing a white Berluti suit to the 2018 Oscars.

Chalamet wearing a white Berluti suit to the 2018 Oscars. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The dapper all-white Berluti suit he wore to the Oscars was a game-changer that forced the fashion world to sit up and take notice. It would prove to be one of Ackermann’s swan songs with the brand, as he announced that he was leaving Berluti less than a month later. But Chalamet proved his loyalty to Ackermann as the designer set up his own eponymous line, resulting in some of the actor’s most artistic looks to date.
Speaking to British Vogue, Ackermann said that he and Chalamet were “not searching for eccentricity… We’re searching for a new form of elegance, which might be more liberated, more personal, more daring.”
This meant that shiny loafers and brogues were replaced by an impressive collection of edgy black leather boots, while statement shades like red and green made increasingly frequent appearances. Street style crept back into the actor’s red carpet wardrobe, too, as he paired clean white sneakers with suits or a button-up shirt by luxury streetwear label Off-White.
Chalamet turned to designer Alexander McQueen for this floral-print suit, worn to the 2018 London premiere of "Beautiful Boy."

Chalamet turned to designer Alexander McQueen for this floral-print suit, worn to the 2018 London premiere of “Beautiful Boy.” Credit: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

His love of florals also returned in full force during the press tour for “Beautiful Boy,” his styling combining masculine details with soft prints. Flower-embellished suits became one of his red carpet staples, like an exuberant rose-printed Alexander McQueen creation or his black Ackermann suit embroidered with elaborate white blooms

Red carpet remixed

In 2019, as his on-screen success continued with movies “Little Women” and “The King,” Chalamet also hit his stride on the red carpet. Though never strayed too far from Ackermann, he also began working with brands like Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney.

Social media exploded when Chalamet wore this black glittering Louis Vuitton harness to the Golden Globes.

Social media exploded when Chalamet wore this black glittering Louis Vuitton harness to the Golden Globes. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Gone were the awkward neckties and gangly suits, which were swapped for inspired accessories — like the instantly iconic Louis Vuitton harness he wore to the Golden Globes and the Eiffel Tower keychain he dangled from his fingertips at a Paris premiere.
Chalamet was, by now, putting his own spin on modern dandyism with suits in magenta and pastel pink. Metallics and extra sparkle meanwhile entered his wardrobe by way of sequined tops and silver jackets. Rather than wearing a blazer to the London premiere of “The King,” for instance, he chose an elevated hoodie encrusted with Swarovski crystals and sequins arranged like a constellation

The coup de grace was, however, the silver-gray Haider Ackermann suit worn for the movie’s Venice premiere. The ensemble, which he paired with no-nonsense black boots, went viral as an apparent homage to the suit of armor worn by Chalamet’s character in the period drama. But the thoughtful details, like a duochrome waist belt and silky cowl neck shirt, challenged preconceptions of red carpet menswear by combining a masculine silhouette with unexpectedly delicate details.

Yet another viral Timothee Chalamet fashion moment -- the star turned to Haider Ackermann for the premiere of "The King" in 2019.

Yet another viral Timothee Chalamet fashion moment — the star turned to Haider Ackermann for the premiere of “The King” in 2019. Credit: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

‘Dune’ and beyond

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing celebrity red carpet events into hiatus, Chalamet appears to have quietly shifted into the next phase of his style evolution.

Since re-emerging to promote “Dune” and “The French Dispatch,” the star’s wardrobe has been edgier than ever. Perhaps only Chalamet could have gotten away with wearing a sporty shell jacket to a Louis Vuitton dinner party, or an Elara pink tee (referencing the cult film “In God We Trust”) with rocker boots to a Cannes Film Festival photocall.
Timothée Chalamet wearing a Haider Ackermann outfit for the September premiere of "Dune."

Timothée Chalamet wearing a Haider Ackermann outfit for the September premiere of “Dune.” Credit: John Phillips/Getty Images

Thanks to a newly forged partnership with Cartier, he has begun adorning himself in the brand’s vintage brooches. (One of them, recently pinned to a hoodie, sparked speculation as fans wondered the diamond scarab design was a reference to his new movie, “Dune,” and the logo of its production house, Legendary Pictures). And his collaboration with Ackemann also continues to prove fruitful, with Chalamet dressing in a brown tracksuit by the designer at the Venice Film Festival last week.

Later that day, he held his own alongside co-star — and red carpet favorite — Zendaya at the “Dune” premiere in yet another Ackermann outfit: A black sequined ensemble, featuring power shoulders and the barest glimpse of a white shirt. As Chalamet rose for a standing ovation, the light struck his outfit making it glimmer in the process.

“Thanks for these precious moments,” Ackermann wrote in a caption as he posted a video of the moment to Instagram. And with many more red carpets to come, Chalamet is sure to produce countless more.

Scroll through the gallery above to see some of Timothée Chalamet’s best red carpet looks.





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