Tom Cruise has done his best to take on James Bond this century in his Mission: Impossible series, not only in action and stunts but in style too. In the fourth film of the series, Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt channels James Bond by not only copying Pierce Brosnan’s helmet-like hairstyle from GoldenEye, but also by wearing a Bondian midnight blue dinner suit to ball in Mumbai, India.
Chris Laverty’s blog “Clothes on Film” spoke with Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol costume designer Michael Kaplan about his work on this film. Kaplan wanted a subtle 1960s look for the costumes, and he stated that Giorgio Armani made Kaplan’s dinner suit design for Cruise to wear in the film. Though Armani is best-known for his full-fitting, low-gorge, low-button-stance suit designs of the 1980s and 1990s, here he created a tasteful, classic dinner suit.
Cruise’s button one dinner jacket has an elegant, structured Italian cut with straight, heavily padded shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a lean chest and a smoothly suppressed waist. This cut bestows the 5’7″ Cruise with presence and height. The jacket is detailed with double vents and four cuff buttons in an overlapping “waterfall” fashion. The notched lapels, covered buttons and jetted hip pockets are trimmed in black satin silk.
I mentioned the notched lapels above, which are controversial on a dinner jacket. They are usually avoided by stylish men because they make a dinner jacket look less special when compared to a suit jacket. Though dinner jackets with notched lapels have been around since the early days of the dinner jacket in the later part of the Victorian era, peaked lapels and shawl collars are typically preferable and seen as more traditional. Peaked lapels give a dinner jacket a more formal edge whilst the shawl collar recalls the origins of the dinner jacket from the smoking jacket. In any case, the notched lapel dinner jacket is less formal than dinner jackets with the other lapel styles and is better worn at a fancy dinner (like James Bond wears his dinner suits in Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy) than at a grand ball such as this. When a dinner jacket has notched lapels, it’s imperative that all of the other details of the suit be correct, particularly the single-button front. Two buttons and notched lapels makes a dinner jacket look only like a suit jacket with fancy trimmings.
Michael Kaplan did a superb job at designing the notched lapels on Cruise’s dinner jacket to ensure it isn’t mistaken for ordinary suit jacket. The lapels are curved out with belly, and the front edge below the button gracefully curves to reflect the bellied shape of the lapels. There’s hardly any mistaking this dinner jacket for a suit jacket because of its notched lapels. Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation’s costume designer Joanna Johnston rectified the concern of a dinner jacket with notched lapels by choosing a peaked lapel dinner jacket for Cruise to wear to the opera. However, she committed a far greater black tie sin: putting him in a four-in-hand tie. For that reason, the Rogue Nation dinner suit will not see any coverage here.
The dinner suit’s trousers have a flat front, medium rise and tapered legs with a black satin silk stripe down the side of each leg. The waistband is trimmed in black satin silk to excuse the lack of waist-covering, and it has a square extension with a hook and eye closure. There doesn’t appear to be any method of trouser support other than a perfectly fitted waistband. Cruise forgoes a waist-covering by following the example James Bond set originally back in the Connery films, which Daniel Craig continued in Casino Royale.
Cruise’s white shirt has a spread collar, double cuffs with slightly rounded corners and the link holes placed off-centre towards the fold, a front placket and no bib. The shirt may have a texture to make it dressier than a plain white cotton, but if it is plain cotton poplin or voile it can still work for black tie. James Bond wears a plain voile shirt with his dinner suit in The Spy Who Loved Me to great effect. The collar and cuffs have standard quarter-inch stitching. The four studs—which are plain, flat mother-of-pearl without a case and only a small silver post in the centre—set this shirt apart from an ordinary white shirt. The cufflinks are round mother-of-pearl with a silver case. Cruise accessorises his dinner suit with a black satin silk butterfly bow-tie and a folded white handkerchief just barely peeking out of his breast pocket. The handkerchief should be showing a little more to avoid looking like a mistake.
The shoes are black calf oxfords (closed lacing) with a stitched cap toe on a slightly pointy last. These shoes are meant to be worn with suits, but they’re in a style that is passable with black tie. Rather than standard round laces, Cruise’s oxfords have flat waxed laces to give them a dressier look. Switching rounded laces to flat laces is an easy upgrade to make well-shined calf shoes look better for black tie, and flat laces are great with suits too. The shoes have some extra height in the heels, and there are likely lifts inside the shoes as well to make sure that Tom Cruise isn’t the shortest person in the film.