Listen, if you decide to be the best-dressed young actor in Hollywood, star in a car-chase flick and tool around Los Angeles on a vintage motorcycle, all while flashing a sweet — if ultimately cryptic — smile, a certain comparison is bound to be made.
To be clear, Ryan Gosling is not Steve McQueen. He got his start on The Mickey Mouse Club, for heaven’s sake. Still, something has been going on these last 18 months. There were the trend-presaging double-breasted jackets he favored circa the Blue Valentine junket. And the made-to-measure midnight blue Salvatore Ferragamo tux he showed up in at Cannes last summer foretold a mini-trend at last month’s Academy Awards. Even elements of that scorpion-embellished cropped and quilted bomber jacket he got all bloodied up in Drive were seen at the women’s shows in February (see looks 32 and 33 from the Proenza Schouler runway show).
Gosling has rapidly evolved into that rare Hollywood male: a living, breathing style machine. And, like McQueen before him, he’s done so by perfecting the art of wearing clothes very well while not seeming to care a whole lot about wearing clothes very well. He is studied but low-key. Whether he can do for flashy scorpion outerwear what McQueen did for the Baracuta G9 remains to be seen. That’s a question of staying power. But in a landscape that is, of late, devoid of men’s style icons, we’ll take what we can get.