Work / Life / Style


Men of Character - 1/1 - Jack Napier

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Not one that you will find on a GQ Top 50 Most Stylish Males article, but for me Tim Burton's interpretation of the iconic batman villain has definitely left it's mark on me. A child of the eighties, I was brought up on Batman and Batman Returns and I still love the movies today. I appreciate that they might not have aged all that well and that the real geeks don't think too fondly of them, but I enjoy the nostalgia. (plus, show me a better catwoman than Michelle Pfeiffer and I will eat my cowl!) Stylistically the noir backdrop of an Art Deco inspired industrial dystopia that is Gotham City provides the perfect canvas for a colourful character like the Clown Prince of Crime to really stand out.

Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker starts life as gangland mobster Jack Napier; the right hand man to Gotham's organised crime boss Carl Grissom. Napier's attire reinforces the 30s Art Deco feel to the film, the archetypal Goodfellas mobster with power and authority illustrated through costume. Suits and coats are typically American cut with wide lapels and high shoulders, whilst wide brimmed hats and elongated collar points all add to give the character an air of dominance. 

Already quite a mean, terrifying and emotionally unstable bastard, Napier's fall into a vat of acid is the catalyst that transforms him into the deranged, psychotic archenemy of Batman we all know and love. For me, the Joker's Beau Brummell esq costume visually defines the character more than the makeup and the hair. A real mix of styles, textures and colours, inspired by various eras, sticks 2 chalky white fingers up at the establishment. The outfit screams dandyism, mimicking the styles of morning dress, black tie and white tie; attire that usually represents the wealthy and elite of society, illustrating a real intelligence and silently shouts "I'm here to mess up your world" which he does, well.

What I enjoy about this style is that it's not ridiculous (for a man dressed as a dandy clown psychopath) The colours, although clashing, work together and the patterns, again clashing, work. This really highlights my ethos that patterns and colours should be clashed and can be done tastefully. What to note here is scale and tone, there are at least 4 shades of purple and 3 shades of green here and 2 strong patterns, different patterns in different scales. 

This isn't throw everything on and look as mad as possible, this is considered and calculated (much like the character) and thus iconic.