2019 has been dubbed the year of Keanu Reeves — or the Keanussaince, for fans of buzzy portmanteaus. Granted, Reeves never really went away to begin with, so this talk of a renaissance or comeback is moot, but a run of recent projects, including the third John Wick movie, a fun turn as daredevil Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4, and a self-deprecating role in Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe are the source of this revival buzz, not to mention the highly anticipated Bill & Ted sequel that is currently in production.
Talk show interviews (in which Reeves gives dreamy answers to existential questions), swoon-worthy magazine covers, and multiple red carpet appearances have all led to this Year of Keanu proclamation. He has never looked more stylish, so it was unsurprising when Saint Laurent tapped him for their Fall 2019 menswear campaign. If you're lucky, you will likely see him decked out in leather on billboards, in magazines, and online, exuding a level of cool matching some of the defining characters of a career that has spanned over three decades.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was released 30 years ago, The Matrix recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and Reeves' iconic genre streak has only continued with John Wick. Each of these franchises showcases a distinct style, starting with teen slacker attire, followed by the leather years, and culminating in tailored chic. On the red carpet, Reeves has a habit of mirroring the role he is promoting, having worked with stylist Jeanne Yang since The Matrix. There is a Keanu style for all occasions, and he has not met a T-shirt, suit, or leather jacket that doesn’t look good on him. Seriously, he wears a lot of suits in movies.
Now we look back at Keanu's most stylish genre moments over the last 30 years.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) - Ted “Theodore” Logan
It is still a mystery why Ted has a pair of sweats rolled up underneath his black shorts, but who are we to question Gen-X style? It's all about the layering, which reads as Ted picking up whatever clothes were on his bedroom floor that morning — including a Van Halen shirt, a black vest, and faded red jean jacket. The DGAF aesthetic is very appealing and there is nothing insincere about Ted (or Bill’s) style choices.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) - Jonathan Harker
Reeves made a definitive leap from Ted's baggy closet to incredibly stiff attire in Dracula, as Jonathan Harker’s collars couldn’t be more rigid if they tried. Costume designer Eiko Ishioka won an Oscar for her spectacular work on Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of this classic story. While Reeves doesn’t get to wear anything too out there, the windowpane check suit and black tie wedding look (when he maybe married Winona Ryder for real) is incredibly debonair.
Johnny Mnemonic (1995) - Johnny Mnemonic
Suits are a recurring costume choice for Reeves, and long before he played John Wick there was Johnny Mnemonic, which also takes place in a dystopian version of our world. Johnny has a cybernetic brain implant which allows him to courier information in a discreet manner, and the black suit he wears has an air of anonymity to it. It is also timeless in comparison to the more out-there looks of this version of the not-too-distant future. That's right: this movie is set in 2021.
The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003) - Neo
It is hard to downplay just how influential The Matrix and its sequels have been with regards to both movies and fashion. Many brands, from Christian Dior in 1999 to Alexander Wang just last year, have referenced Kym Barrett’s iconic costumes, and many more will likely follow. The leather trenchcoats, black tees, tiny sunglasses, and big boots are all components of the defining role. This is the perfect outfit to look cool in while doing all those stunts without breaking a sweat.
Constantine (2005) - John Constantine
What’s this? Another suit! Yep, Reeves has a habit of picking roles with source material depicting this standard menswear style — but he sure wears it well, even in this rumpled state.
A Scanner Darkly (2006) - Bob Arctor
As an undercover agent in Richard Linklater’s animated sci-fi thriller, Reeves looks the most like his regular low-key self in a series of tees, jackets, and button-downs. Yes, he is technically in animated form, but this particular technique uses live-action footage as its foundation, giving off an uncanny valley vibe.
The Lake House (2006) - Alex Wyler
For the softest and most romantic of all Keanu Reeves costumes, The Lake House has got you covered. Alex has a penchant for scarves and chunky knitted turtlenecks, perfect for daddy issues and falling in love via a mailbox that has time travel properties.
John Wick (2014- ) - John Wick
Assassins in movies are often well dressed, but no one takes their tailoring quite as seriously as John Wick. Luckily for him, it also has some very specific features for his particular profession. Costume designer Luca Mosca even cameoed as his tailor in the second chapter. John Wick spends a lot of time in the same suit in the third movie, but it is a testament to the craftsmanship that it withstands a number of gun and knife fights — plus he looks pretty fantastic riding a horse through the center of New York City.
Toy Story 4 (2019) - Duke Caboom
In no other movie does Reeves get to wear a handlebar mustache and a cape complete with a Canadian maple leaf on the back. Duke Caboom is the flashiest of his genre characters, and when he gets his confidence he can put on a hell of a show.