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!
The trench coat is must-have outerwear for those wanting to exude power — a common item of clothing that has evolved from military apparel to visual shorthand for spy attire. This garment is both practical and chic. In Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) sticks to blazers and leather jackets, but the trench coat makes a striking impression as worn by Angela Bassett. Bassett is new to the Mission: Impossible franchise, playing CIA Director Erica Sloane.
In previous Ethan Hunt outings, bureaucratic red tape has threatened his ability to save the world. This installment is no different, but this time the CIA has gone one step further by sending one of their agents to accompany the IMF team.Henry Cavill and his much-talked-about mustache is Sloane’s hammer to the more precise scalpel that is Ethan Hunt. Cavill plays Agent August Walker; he too favors a trench (sans belt), and his wardrobe is all business. Costume designer Jeffrey Kurland sticks to a color palette of military tones for Walker, given that he is a man that wears practical CIA attire.
The difference between agency dress codes is clear. The IMF team is clearly having fun with fashion — such as Luther’s (Ving Rhames) fondness for hats while Benji (Simon Pegg) mixes patterns, a bow-tie, and suspenders as part of his signature work look.
The women of this franchise have worn super sexy frocks as part of a mission — including this previous Maggie Q Look of the Week — but practical elements are also taken into consideration. Jane (Paula Patton) removing her pumps in order to pursue someone in Ghost Protocol is still a standout moment in the great running-in-heels debate. Angela Bassett’s look is all business in Fallout, but pearls offer a touch of femininity while also showing her position of power and wealth.
The fashion capital of the world is the scene for several big Fallout action set pieces. These take place on the windy streets of the French capital, as well on the banks of the River Seine and in a Parisian nightclub. It is impressive how Fallout utilizes visually iconic locations in Paris and London — it a good tourism ad for both cities.Paris has also been a centerpiece for Fallout promotional material. The image of Bassett, Cavill and the Eiffel Tower has been likened to a very popular meme. At the world premiere, which took place in front of this landmark, Tom Cruise emphasized the role this city plays in Fallout, “We truly hope you know this is our love letter to you.”
For the glamorous setting, Bassett ditched the CIA-looking threads for a sparkly Naeem Khan jumpsuit. She followed this up at the premiere held in Washington D.C., with a sheer lace Mario Dice frock. Not what you would file under a typical federal employee ensemble, but stunning nonetheless.And for her appearance on The Late, Late Show with co-star Tom Cruise — where they discussed cake and working out — Bassett chose a very on-trend metallic purple suit.
The oversized earrings are a strong accessory choice, switched out from the classic hoops worn in Fallout. This might be my favorite look of Bassett’s from the press tour so far.
In a recent interview with Net-a-Porter’s online magazine Porter Edit, Bassett discussed her confusion when she first got offered the Fallout part. “I said, ‘What is that?’ I didn’t think it could be the mega-franchise. It was 7 in the morning, and I hadn’t had coffee yet. But I’ve also never seen anyone who looked like me in those films.” She notes the slow evolution in Hollywood, as there are more leading roles for black women than when she starred in What’s Love Got to Do with It, but “There’s always still work to do on this house.”
It has been 24 years since Bassett received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It and she has been working steadily since. She has appeared on four seasons of American Horror Story and is currently starring in the Fox drama 9-1-1. But it is her role as Ramonda, the Queen Mother of Wakanda, in Black Panther that has made her recognizable to a wider audience. In the Porter Edit interview she discusses why this film is important.
“The audience for it has been from 6-years-old to 86. Every now and again, something comes along that moves movie culture forward, and Panther definitely sits on that throne. To have a black male superhero, but also to have strong, complicated, vivid, black female characters was special. Usually we are just the mothers of, the lovers of… Culturally, socially, it just resonates on so many different levels, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
Angela Bassett is having a very good 2018. Long may she reign, whether in a trench coat, crown or sparkly jumpsuit.