While it’s natural to side with the good guys on the silver screen, everyone likes to root for the bad guy every now and then. And if it just so happens that your allegiance is skewed towards a villain with a super-cool sense of style that matches his ice-cold heart, then all the better. Here we take a look at ten of the most sartorially memorable movie villains, along with some tips on how to recreate the look at home. After all, when you have a list of felonies as long as your arm, it’s nice to know that none of them are crimes against fashion.
10. Zorg – The Fifth Element (1997)
In the futuristic sci-fi world of 1997’s The Fifth Element, style has transcended today’s sartorial norms. French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier created the movie’s costumes, which make up a suitably fashion-forward – if terrifying – vision of future style: think colorful shirts, exaggerated collars, pinstripe vest, and a next-level comb over. While searching for the four elemental stones that exist to protect mankind, the nefarious Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, played by Gary Oldman, brings with him a whirlwind arrangement of clothing that might just be acceptable in another century. To recreate the look, find a green silk shirt and a pinstripe vest, take a razor to the sides of your head and then wax the remaining hair into that fetching comb over.
9. Alex DeLarge – A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Although the movie version of a A Clockwork Orange was released back in 1971, the iconic image of Alex DeLarge in a bowler hat and false eyelashes is forever etched into our minds. The charismatic but sociopathic Alex is perfectly portrayed by Malcolm McDowell in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ 1962 book of the same name. Alex and his group of droogs dress all in white, save for their hats and shoes, and their monochrome clothing contrasts sharply with that of their victims, all of whom are dressed in more vibrant attire. The film was the first to feature the costume creations of Milena Canonero – an Italian designer who later worked on The Shining and Marie Antoinette, among others. Copy Alex’s look by pairing a white shirt with white suspenders, a black hat, and a set of false eyelashes on your right eye.
8. Calvin Candie – Django Unchained (2012)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as plantation owner Calvin Candie in 2012 revenge thriller Django Unchained. Candie has acquired a slave named Broomhilda von Shaft, but unfortunately for him, she’s married to Django (played by Jamie Foxx), a freed slave with a talent for violence and a bloody-minded determination to rescue his wife. The costumes for the movie were fashioned by Oscar-nominated designer Sharen Davis. She worked closely with director Quentin Tarantino, who already had very definite ideas about how his characters should be dressed. She saw Candie as “a gambler, and a little bit like Rhett Butler.” His dandy western look is complete with a maroon suit and silk ascot tie, and a maroon and gold waistcoat.
Get the look:
Marc Darcy men’s wine three-piece suit, around $145
7. Gordon Gekko – Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Gordon Gekko is back, as is his sharp sense of style, in 2010’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the sequel to 1987’s Wall Street. This time, Michael Douglas’ Gekko – released from jail after serving a sentence for insider trading – finds an unlikely ally in Jake (Shia LaBeouf), his estranged daughter’s boyfriend and a successful Wall Street trader. Gekko appears to have retained his taste for expensive-looking clothing, despite a spell behind bars. Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick created Gekko’s looks in both films, and for the sequel she had to present a man who had grown older yet still kept a general sense of style. “I think that he’s a really fabulous character that has developed three-dimensionally and that needed to be accentuated by his wardrobe,” she said in an interview with Esquire magazine. “Sharks need to move forward. If they’re not moving forward they’re dying.” Mimic Gekko’s look with a black and white spotted scarf, a yellow tie with blue accents, and a pinky ring worn on the left hand.
6. Raoul Silva – Skyfall (2012)
Javier Bardem and his Prada shirt don’t even appear on-screen until well after the hour mark in the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall, epitomizing the term “fashionably late.” Bardem dazzled audiences and critics alike with his performance as former MI6 agent Raoul Silva, a cyberterrorist out for revenge against the British intelligence agency. And while Bond himself is all about classic, formal style, his nemesis is certainly not. The film’s costume designer Jany Temime was able to play around with Silva’s wardrobe, saying in an interview with GQ, “Silva is slightly nouveau riche, and I wanted to show that he did his best to impress Bond. I did the entire costume around that shirt.” If you’d like to coordinate an entire outfit around a similarly patterned Prada shirt, we recommend opting for a brown vest and cream blazer. Not a natural blond? A bottle of hair dye can deal with that.
5. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho (2000)
Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman (not Batman) in American Psycho, the 2000 movie adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ darkly satirical novel, first published in 1991. As his sadistic impulses come to the surface, the privileged professional remains primarily concerned with his appearance, following the fashions of the day with near-psychotic enthusiasm. In one of the film’s many iconic scenes, Bateman brutally slays a colleague with an axe, to a soundtrack of Huey Lewis and the News – although not without first slipping on a raincoat to protect his clothes from any blood spatter. Unlike the majority of looks in Bateman’s wardrobe, this one can be yours without spending several thousand dollars.
4. Bill “The Butcher” Cutting – Gangs of New York (2002)
Daniel Day-Lewis plays fearsome gang leader Bill “the Butcher””Cutting in director Martin Scorsese’s 2002 movie epic Gangs of New York. Bill is the leader of the Natives, one of the most formidable gangs in 1860s New York, and he often displays a pointedly elegant presence on-screen. “[Scorsese] wanted him to look like a dandy, like one of those sharply dressed gangsters in a 1930s movie,” costume designer Sandy Powell told The Guardian. “Expensive clothing can make a character look pretty scary, more so than someone who looks rough around the edges.” We can’t help but agree. Here, he appears in a gray button-down shirt, a brown leather vest, and a black skullcap; dapper but eminently ready for battle.
3. Jesus Quintana – The Big Lebowski (1998)
In 1998 comedy The Big Lebowski, John Turturro plays Jesus Quintana, a bowling ball-licking pedophile and one of the opponents standing between our heroes, The Dude (Jeff Bridges) and Walter (John Goodman), and ten pin glory. The exuberant Jesus – wearing an all-purple ensemble accessorized with a hair net and bowling brace – may be inclined to indecent exposure, but he also boasts some serious bowling skills. Turturro originally believed his character held greater significance in the movie, but when he realized that his part was small, he worked with directors Joel and Ethan Coen to develop Jesus Quintana into an unforgettable personality. Get the look by donning a purple button-up shirt, matching purple pants and a wrist brace – and be sure to practice your victory dance.
Get the look:
Storm Gadget wrist support extended finger, $86.95 on sale
2. Tyler Durden – Fight Club (1999)
Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, is the proverbial devil in a red coat sitting on the shoulder of the narrator (played by Edward Norton) in David Fincher’s 1999 hit Fight Club. Durden is the suave, if unorthodox, businessman who persuades disturbed insomniac Norton to live life on the edge and fight out his emotions. At one point, the ever-profound Durden tells the narrator, “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” Likewise, wearing this getup will not make you Tyler Durden; however, the red leather jacket, Hawaiian shirt and red-tinted aviators are certainly a start.
Get the look:
1. The Joker – The Dark Knight (2008)
The tragic death of Heath Ledger led to international scrutiny on 2008’s The Dark Knight half a year prior to the movie’s release. Ledger’s powerful on-screen presence as menacing, ruthless villain the Joker is undoubtedly enhanced by his phenomenal costume and makeup. By modern standards, the late actor’s makeup crew had a surprisingly straightforward time because his facial prosthetics were composed of three stamped silicone parts that took only an hour to apply. Ledger’s costume was designed by Lindy Hemming, who created the look to portray a character who “doesn’t care about himself at all.” Achieve that laissez-faire attitude yourself by pairing this purple suit jacket with a green waistcoat. And for a greasy-haired look, stop shampooing for a few weeks and apply some green hair color. Why so serious?
Get the look:
Paul Smith single-button jacket, purple, around $1,000