What Exactly Was Timothée Chalamet Wearing at the Oscars?
And why did people hate it so much?
Timothée Chalamet showed up to the Oscars wearing a tracksuit. Granted, it was a nylon tracksuit by Prada, with a vintage 1955 Cartier brooch affixed to the chest pocket, but a tracksuit nonetheless. The internet was divided: some loved it, others hated it, but the general consensus was confusion as Twitter tried to figure out what exactly Chalamet reminded them of — car valet? A mechanic? A janitor?
For male celebrities, red carpets generally entail little more than a dark suit or tux. Occasionally we see variations, either in color or fabric, but few have been as bold as Chalamet to roll up to an awards show, let alone the Oscars, sans anything even resembling a suit.
Chalamet is no stranger to taking sartorial risks. Just last year he showed up to the Golden Globes outfitted in a bedazzled BDSM-esque harness (which he apparently mistook for a bib). His press tour for The King saw a slew of unconventional red carpet looks, like a sequined Louis Vuitton hoodie and a custom futuristic Haider Ackermann suit. Yet while those looks were praised for their refusal to adhere to the norms of traditional men’s red-carpet dressing, his Oscars look has been met with more contention than celebration.
The expectations for Chalamet’s red carpet arrival were high, considering his status as a fashion darling, which is why the response to his look was so harsh. How dare he show up to the biggest awards show and not even bother to wear a tie?
People were expecting so much from Chalamet that they weren’t expecting him to do what seemed like so little. It was similar to the reaction that Frank Ocean’s 2019 Met Gala look invoked. For the event, Ocean arrived in a white shirt, black tie, cropped wide-leg black trousers, chunky black boots and a Prada anorak — he could easily have been mistaken for a security guard rather than attendee. Ocean’s look offended many for the same reason Chalamet’s did: the occasion. Much like the Oscars, the Met Gala is revered for its red carpet and the strict dress code that’s understood to be in place; guests are expected to dress in accordance with the night’s theme, which many felt Ocean neglected to do. Chalamet has long been an admirer of Ocean’s, so the possibility of him sourcing Ocean’s outfit as inspiration isn’t unlikely.
For all the calls for individualism and self-expression on the red carpet, especially from men, people were quick to reject Chalamet’s look, despite the fact that it was borne from his own desire of what he wanted to wear, and not the forced hand of a stylist trying to create a “moment.” Chalamet is one of the few celebrities, especially young celebrities, who doesn’t enlist the aid of a stylist. Every red carpet look you see him in was developed by him alone, making his fashions all the more authentic and the pleasure he takes in getting dressed palpable.
Maybe to those of us accustomed to seeing nothing but suits and tuxes at the ceremony, he was slightly underdressed (although to be fair, when it comes to tracksuits, the Prada one is about as nice as it gets). But Chalamet looked young and fresh, and more importantly, confident.
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