Nicolas Cage, eternally freaky dresser, always has a story behind the clothes he wears. These days, he’s really been honing his craft—amping up the symbolism, even inventing straight-up suiting similes in real time.
GQ’s April cover star has been on the press circuit for his latest movie, The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent, an action-comedy in which he plays…Nick Cage, a down-on-his-luck version of himself. If that conceit sounds heady, Cage is at least dressing the part, all the while offering downright philosophical explanations behind his red carpet looks. For a screening of the film on Sunday night in New York, the actor wore what appears to be a glittery black lurex suit—a sui generis look, the sort we’ve come to expect from him, and nothing more than that. Right? Wrong! Nicolas Cage is dressing with storytelling at heart—and last night wasn’t the first time he’s done so.
While promoting the film at SXSW last month, Cage told a reporter that he’d selected the red tartan suit he’d worn that night because it reminded him of a box of shortbread cookies. (Given the hue, he’s gotta mean Walkers.) “I really like shortbread, and whenever I’m in England I go get a tin can of shortbread,” he explained, slyly. “I was feeling kinda happy, kinda like I was biting into some shortbread, so tonight I wanted to dress like I was a can of shortbread,” breaking out into a laugh.
Turns out, Cage had been in New Orleans filming the upcoming Dracula riff Renfield when he realized he had nothing to wear to the festival. “I walked to Brooks Brothers and they had a plaid suit and I was like, ‘I know you guys do seersucker, I didn’t know you did plaid,’” he explained, unknowingly advancing the “beyond suits and seersucker” ethos of the recent Brooks Brothers rebrand. “I said, ‘Wow, I’m gonna wear this and what’s more, I’m gonna really enjoy that I’m in a plaid suit because I’ve never had one before.’”
But the high-concept inspiration didn’t stop there—he double dipped with his glittery black suit for Sunday’s screening. On the red carpet, he explained that the ribbed fabric reminded him of the ridges on tree bark. (“Even my watch has tree bark ridges in it,” he added, tapping on the dial of his timepiece.) Matter of fact, just like that: Nic Cage wore a plaid suit because it reminded him of shortbread, and then Nic Cage wore a shiny black suit because it reminded him of trees.
Sometimes getting dressed really is that simple. As Cage himself put it: “I like shortbread and I like trees.” We’ll be here to report on any further adventures in suiting Cage undertakes on this press tour.