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Look of the Week: Keanu Reeves keeps it classic as John Wick
Welcome back to Look of the Week, celebrating the best in TV and film sartorial excellence, past and present across sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genre classics!
Some movie stars are defined by one iconic movie look, but for Keanu Reeves, this is far from the case. From the slacker styling of Ted to the all-black sleek Matrix ensemble, Reeves has been flexing his cinematic style muscles for 30 years. In 2014, forced-out-of-retirement hitman John Wick added fine tailoring to his costuming arsenal. Sure, Reeves has worn suits in other movies — including Constantine — but this assassin takes killer style to the next level.
Spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ahead.An assassin wearing a suit is not a new concept, but costume designer Luca Mosca has managed to make it look like John Wick invented the well-tailored-killer-for-hire aesthetic. Not only has Mosca designed all three installments of the franchise, but he also cameoed as the tailor in John Wick: Chapter 2 — a role he will reprise in the John Wick TV spinoff The Continental. And because John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum picks up where we left Wick at the end of the last movie, the suit he was wearing gets another workout. Thankfully, his ensemble is no ordinary off-the-rack garment, as it's put through the wringer on more than one occasion. Running through the rain, riding on horseback down a busy New York City street, and traipsing across a desert is a lot to put any outfit through, not to mention the many knives and bullets Wick has to dodge. Luckily for him, the only casualty of his wardrobe is a white shirt — and the numerous bloodstains reveal why he has a tendency to wear darker colors.
There is a certain amount of suspending your disbelief that takes place while watching this heightened and stylized version of the world we live in. The same applies to Wick's wardrobe, which must definitely be smelling pretty bad by the time he arrives in Casablanca (even if that particular brand of natural musk does belong to Keanu).
A hot bath and a change of suit are enough to make anyone feel like a new man. It is the least John deserves before he has yet another fight-to-the-death showdown back in New York — and what appears to be a classic all-black ensemble is, in fact, dark gray. In an interview with Gentleman’s Journal, Mosca explains, “Because of film lighting and the exposure on dark night scenes, eyes can often be misled with the darkest of fabrics.” Surprisingly, the only time Wick has worn all black is during the Rome sequence in Chapter 2.
In this same conversation, Mosca mentions that, rather than come up with a new look for Wick, he refined the concept of the original suit from the first movie. This is not the kind of person who will stray too far out of his clothing comfort zone.John Wick is not the only character in this franchise who delivers stylistically. Winston (Ian McShane) is suave with a penchant for cravats, but Chapter 3 also introduces a number of new characters who steal the sartorial spotlight from Keanu — including Anjelica Huston as the Director, serving a major vampiric vibe in a blood-red fringed shawl and a dramatic popped black collar. In Casablanca, Sofia (Halle Berry) changes outfits before the big showdown into something fight-ready, but even her action garb has gold embroidery. Her dogs also share this signature flourish on their bulletproof jackets. As a representative for the High Table and John Wick antagonist, the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) isn’t going to rock up to the Continental in any old thing. You know a character means business when they enter a building with their coat placed on their shoulders like a cape. The layered and belted ensembles are much more eye-catching than John’s classic tailoring. When talking about their character to SYFY, Dillon said: "This person is already mysterious, like, let’s make them a nonbinary character, because I’m a nonbinary actor, so why not?"
The structured but fashion-forward silhouette only adds to the Adjudicator's enigmatic aesthetic. A great villain needs a wardrobe to match, and Mosca ensured this was the case, including the mismatched earrings to add some dramatic flair.And for a man who looks great in a suit on film, Reeves is doing the same on the red carpet, sticking with a monochromatic theme that John Wick himself would be proud of — although the Grenson boots and the relaxed posture indicate this is very much Reeves and not the titular hitman.
The actor has been working with stylist Jeanne Yang since The Matrix — her client list also includes SYFY FANGRRLS favorites Jason Momoa, John Cho, and Robert Downey Jr. — and in a recent interview with Fashionista she refers to Reeves as “multifaceted, like a diamond.” In her role of stylist she notes, “I feel like I'm Q in the James Bond movies. I feel really happy knowing that he's well equipped and ready to go.” While these suits might not be bulletproof like John Wick's, Yang is definitely providing him with everything he needs to slay the red carpet.
The 54-year-old actor is not only having a good run of movies, but he has recently graced the cover of GQ and is the new face of the Saint Laurent men’s campaign, which will no doubt light up billboards and magazine ads soon.
Leather and polkas dots wouldn’t be favored by John Wick, but Keanu has fashion versatility. He is back in a suit in the Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe (out May 31) and will be doing the slacker thing once again as Ted “Theodore” Logan when Bill & Ted Face the Music hits theaters next summer.
It doesn't matter if it is Ted, Neo, John, or Keanu himself, this will always be an excellent style adventure.