Jurassic Park: The Lost World

Look of the Week: Dr. Ian Malcolm's signature style in The Lost World

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Oct 14, 2018

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!

Jeff Goldblum is the Chosen One of the Month and this also extends to Look of the Week, in which we started with his red carpet style evolution and now move onto some of his most notable genre movie costumes.

Practical attire isn’t always top of the list when it comes to what a character wears on screen. The Jurassic Park franchise has generated quite a lot of words on this very subject thanks to Bryce Dallas Howard’s impractical heels, which she wore throughout Jurassic World. In the recent sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, there was a very purposeful shot of her boot-clad foot to ensuring they wouldn’t fall foul of the running-in-heels debate — I get why Claire starts in heels, but it makes no sense for her she not to switch to flats or even barefoot during the film.

Jurassic Park: The Lost World


In Jurassic Park, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is not what you would call island-ready. A leather jacket, black pants, and black shirt are not exactly tropical island attire. Only his boots really seem appropriate for what they’re about to encounter. Of course, part of the reason he is dressed like this is to visually put him in contrast to the other experts, as Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) are better prepared in khakis and simple button-down shirts.

Even the double denim Ellie wears at the archeological site is more practical. Dr. Malcolm is also in direct opposition to John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) opinions regarding the science he is messing with; this is reflected in their all-black and all-white costumes. Even their choice of eyewear falls into two very distinct styles.

When Dr. Malcolm is summoned by John Hammond at the start of Jurassic Park: The Lost World, his go-to outerwear is still a leather jacket. It is no surprise he is recognized on the subway because he is still pretty much dressed the same as before — the main difference here being that leather jackets had improved since 1993. Thankfully, it is no longer a full-on leather blazer; this is not the level of cool dad style Jeff Goldblum displays IRL in 2018. Susanne Moore returns as costume supervisor and it would appear that once again there is no credited costume designer — as per this Fashionista discussion union regulations state a costume supervisor could only purchase, not design or build.


Courtesy of Universal

Standing in front of a palm tree gives the impression Dr. Malcolm is somewhere exotic when in reality he is far from it — he is getting on the subway in New York. He has ditched the tinted eyewear; his black shirt has been replaced by a brown polo shirt. He's still serving up sartorial Gen X cynicism, but with fewer buttons undone.

If you thought Hammond’s outfit looked like pajamas in the first movie, he is wearing actual pajamas in the sequel. His idealism and naivete are still very apparent when he tells Dr. Malcolm about his intended plan involving the second island of dinosaurs.

Jurassic Park: The Lost World


On this occasion, Dr. Malcolm has no time to pack for this next dino adventure, but I doubt he would be the khaki pants kind of guy anyway. Even after his last experience running away from a T-Rex in the pouring rain, I can’t imagine him popping into the Gap for some sensible island pants. But he does get a new jacket by the time they hit the island, which is more suited to outdoor activity than his original garment. Never fear, it still has a leather collar for that signature Dr. Malcolm look. He looks less out of place in this rugged terrain on his second prehistoric creature adventure.

Most of the other men are in practical khaki attire, but it should be noted that the audience is instantly clued into Hammond’s nephew Ludlow being a greedy POS when he quips that his suit cost more than Malcolm’s education. Dude, I cannot wait to see you get eaten by a dinosaur.   

Jurassic Park: The Lost World


The color palette for The Lost World isn’t all neutrals and camouflage tones. Malcolm’s young daughter, Kelly (Vanessa Chester) is not meant to be part of this team; she is a stowaway and totally unprepared for what this trip will entail. Her orange shirt is going to make her stand out against the foliage. Meanwhile, Malcolm’s girlfriend, paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) is already on the island; she is experienced out in the field but this doesn’t stop her wearing a color that might draw unwanted attention. Breaking the antiquated 'redheads shouldn't wear red' rule is more than fine; however, it might not be the best top to wear when dealing with carnivores wondering where their baby has gone. Thankfully, Sarah has her lucky ripped backpack that will later save the day.

At the end of The Lost World when all the dinosaurs are on their way back to the island, Malcolm snoozes in front of the TV with Sarah. It is here that his shirt has a few buttons undone, a callback to the iconic Jurassic Park moment but after all the danger has passed. Or has it?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Credit: Universal Pictures

In the recent Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — which follows a similar story trajectory to The Lost World except the dinosaurs now must live alongside humans — Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm. At the start of Fallen Kingdom, Dr. Malcolm testifies at a Senate hearing that humans should not attempt to go against the course of nature by saving the dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption, which will make them extinct for the second time. 

Here we see Dr. Ian Malcolm’s natural progression to silver fox territory complete with a rugged beard. The glasses are back, and costume designer Sammy Sheldon delivers a Senate-ready all-black ensemble. For the classic leather jacket older version of Dr. Ian Malcolm, look no further than the Jeep commercial that aired during the 2018 Super Bowl.  

There will always be some constants in the Jurassic Park franchise; wild creatures can’t be contained, greedy men will think they can make a profit but will instead cause millions of dollars of damage, and Dr. Ian Malcolm will turn to Johnny Cash for style inspiration.

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