Daniel Craig’s Style as Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion
Did you watch Glass Onion from writer and director Rian Johnson on Netflix yet? I feel like Kate Hudson’s character stole the show with her exuberance but it’s the wardrobe of Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc that is getting the biggest buzz. I post a lot of women’s fashion from films and television shows but I figured I should also take this opportunity to post something for my male readers.
Costume designer Jenny Eagan has given many interviews about this character and even actor Daniel Craig had a say in what he wore for the second installment of the Knives Out series. “I had a number of references as ideas — things like the films of Jacques Tati and the Hitchcock movie To Catch a Thief. Jenny picked them up and ran with them,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
I’m sure most of you have seen To Catch a Thief but if you are not familiar with Jacques Tati, he was a French French filmmaker and actor who gained renown for his comic films that portrayed people in conflict with the mechanized modern world. Referenced for this film was Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday. If you are a very savvy television watcher, you might remember that Jacques Tati films play a part in the original Gossip Girl as a shared interest of Blair and Dan over the holidays which might have led to their eventual romance.
“There’s a dandy about him that takes you back to a time before,” she explains, also noting Blanc’s tendency to dress the part for his destination. “It borders on period and old-fashioned, but yet contemporized a little bit. He’s a character dressing for where he’s going and what he’s getting into. This detective has done the research and says, ‘Well, if I’m going [on vacation] with the very rich, I’ve got to play the part.’ And we also decided that he’s well traveled.”
For the scene when he arrives on the Greek island, Benoit Blanc wears a custom made suit, a pink dress shirt with cocktail cuffs by Anto Shirt, a bandana by Last Chance Textiles, Cutler and Gross 1302 sunglasses in honey turtle, and an Omega Speedmaster 1948.
They filed in May 2020 so they started with masks which of course, match all of their costumes and personalities. “Greece was exciting but preparing for this one, obviously with the pandemic, was a little bit different.”
Over and over again, Eagan returned to something Craig mentioned during their collaborative fitting process. “Daniel said, ‘Think about it this way — Benoit Blanc has been to all these places before. He knows where he’s going'” according to Netflix Tudum.
That thought led her to crafting Blanc’s signature item throughout the film: a series of multicolored knotted kerchiefs used as ascots to complement the character’s array of linen shirts.
“We had the ties from the first movie which had more of a floral theme. That’s where the cravat came from–we brought a lot of things to the table and let Daniel play. He’s got such amazing style himself so he’ll try anything. You just have to let them take a moment and see if it moves. Well these shoulders are great, but we love the pleats and the high waist. You try to mesh it into what fits that character. Then you build and you hope it fits.”
While he wasn’t given as an inspiration, the look reminds me another Bond, Roger Moore, wearing a similar safari look.
“In my dreams, I could look like Cary Grant,” Craig joked in a Netflix interview with Janelle Monáe. The Cary Grant references played out in the high waist trousers and the neckerchief. I thought when he was standing with his hands in his pockets it was the same stance as Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief.
Jenny Eagan said, “Rian writes scripts in such a beautiful way that is very descriptive, although he really allows us as creatives to give our two cents. He gives you that space that is so welcome and rewarding. You have to take the characters on the page and build them and what you see when the cast starts coming in. There are tweaks once you meet somebody or have a fitting, and you understand their physical shape or how they’re going to play it. But sometimes even after you start shooting the actors start to move their gait and things click.”
So, who is Benoit Blanc at the pool? After running through the options (“Is it an actual swimming costume that’s just a shirt? Who have I seen [like that] in the swimming pool [before]?”), Eagan settled on a concept. “Benoit would only wear something like a 1960s loungewear set by the pool that used to be terrycloth with those big, bold colors,” she says. Think of it as classic cabana wear for the classy crime-solving set.
To bring that natty vision to life, Eagan worked with a tailor whose father used to design Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs looks. “He made the top shape for Paul Anka, and then the shorts were off of a pattern that they made for Sinatra,” she says. Eagan could easily imagine Blanc walking into a shirtmaker, spotting the set, finding out it was made for somebody famous, and pouncing. “The character in him is always creating a scenario,” she says. “Does he really know what he’s doing, or is he playing the part of where he is? It’s always a little off but yet still so cool.”
The sandals are from Manolo Blahnik Settat Raffia Loafers for men.
Another literal reference to Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief is the striped sweater and neckerchief. The Boss Hugo Boss Striped Sweater is sold out on the website but there is one left here. In addition to custom linen pants, he also wears Rivieras loafers.
Jenny Eagan told Men’s Health, “Unbelievable that he can step from James Bond into this character, which are two different beings, and just embody them both. He’s having so much fun! I think that really comes through to the audience. Rian sets that stage and it’s for all of us. There is not a bad day on set. It’s very well organized and professional. It’s a fun atmosphere, which makes it less stressful and just happy to be a part of.
That’s also what’s interesting about Rian containing these movies. Because they’re in it for such a long time, the clothes cannot be distracting. There’s a lot of dialogue that people have to kind of pay attention to. Rian welcomes you to try to solve it and gives you clues–which makes it really exciting.”
When we see Benoit in the bath, where he’s trying to relax while having no cases to solve during quarantine, he’s wearing a funny little hat.
“Who is Benoit Blanc in the bath?” Eagan asked herself. She found the answer in a London hat shop, where she came across a tasseled smoker’s cap traditionally worn by men during the Victorian era to prevent their hair from smelling like stale tobacco. “It’s old school,” she says. “You could see him wearing it with a smoking jacket.” Originally, Eagan sent Craig a deerstalker cap as a nod to Sherlock Holmes. “It was too much,” she admits, noting that “Daniel has such a good sense of that character — he pulls it off so well.” from Netflix Tudum
When we see him dressed to meet Janelle Monáe’s character, he’s swearing a dressing gown which I think should make a come back. Daniel Craig tells Netflix about Benoit, “He gets up in the morning and he dresses. There’s a sort of psychology behind it which is about being prepared and armored and ready to go. He’s a detective agency. Someone might knock on the door and there might be business at the door. He’s got to be ready.”
Netflix optioned three films from Rian Johnson so it will be interesting to see where he sets the third film. I vote for New York so we can see more of Benoit’s home at 770 Park Avenue designed by Rosario Candela where he lives with his partner played by Hugh Grant.
Or maybe Paris. I picture him solving a murder in the City of Light where he speaks to the Parisians in Creole accented French and they pretend not to understand him. I bet his outfits for Paris would be amazing too. Fingers crossed!