It’s kind of baffling to think that Tom Holland has only just turned 27. The British actor got his big break on the West End stage as Billy Elliott in the heady days of 2008, and the well-received film and TV roles that followed were enough to convince Marvel to take a chance on him as their new Spider-Man. That was nine years ago, and he’s been (quite literally) hanging around our screens ever since, in some of the highest-grossing movies of the past decade. Not too shabby, and that’s without mentioning a certain Lip Sync Battle…
It's a formidable rise, and one that’s reflected in the evolution of his ever-impressive wardrobe. Over the past few years, Holland has increasingly found himself at the centre of a fashion multiverse. You might have heard that he’s in a relationship with Euphoria actor Zendaya, and that the couple once shared a stylist: retired fashion behemoth Law Roach. Over the years, Roach became the right-hand man to Z as well as the mastermind behind looks worn by Lewis Hamilton and fellow Spider-Man, Shameik Moore. Roach’s assistant Crystalle Cox has travelled everywhere from Italy to LA alongside the self-styled “image maker” and after a number of years getting to know Holland along the way, it seemed the perfect time for Cox to take on the mantle of overseeing Holland’s outfits.
The actor’s looks, of late, have straddled contemporary menswear and vintage classics: 50s rockabilly meets cool, calm 70s tailoring, with a dash of minimal modernity for good measure. Easy, breezy pieces imbued with personality and a well-fitted silhouette were what both Cox and Holland aligned with in his press run wardrobe for Apple TV’s latest release The Crowded Room, a true crime drama inspired by Daniel Keyes’ 1981 non-fiction novel The Minds of Billy Milligan, in which he plays a man accused of a gruesome crime.
The 10-episode drama takes place during the summer of 1979, and Cox was significantly inspired by the stars and styles of the era for the show’s press run. She tells me that “off-duty Steve McQueen, Robert Redford’s tailored looks, and even John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever suit” were big points of reference. Disregarding a buttoned-up shirt and tie look for formal engagements, collars were left open and suiting, courtesy of Prada for The Crowded Room premiere’s red carpet, came in a retro-inspired forest green (which, during the fitting at his home, both Cox and Holland noticed the shade mirrored that of his kitchen-come-dressing room).
The actor became the face of Prada after being snapped by David Sims for their SS22 campaign, so approaching the Italian fashion house for Holland’s custom looks was a no-brainer. The process, according to Cox, was seamless: “Tom is incredibly easy to work with and the Prada team were so forthcoming and collaborative. They went to lengths to create a look that felt elevated for Tom, but still in-keeping with his personal style”.
Cox delved into the Prada archive, selecting standout looks from seasons old and new and approached the Prada team with preferences: look 28 and 31 from their AW23 men’s collection. “Tom gravitated towards the slick straight leg of the trousers and I liked the boxy shape of the top,” says Cox. Striking middle ground, Prada added a zip to the top, modifying the runway look into an effortlessly everyday jacket for Holland.
But it’s not just Prada you’ve seen Holland wear. For the Monaco Grand Prix, an AMI shirt – in his favourite emerald shade – was slung over a vest and finished with crisp Zegna trainers. In New York on his birthday, a striped knit from British menswear label King & Tuckfield was combined with Percival and good ol’ G.H.Bass loafers. Refreshingly, his press wardrobe is peppered with affordable and approachable menswear, meaning that fans don’t have to save up for a piece of Raf and Miuccia to nail a superhero’s style.
Which is to say, you don't need to be a movie star to replicate Holland’s look. “Our approach is uncomplicated really: it’s trend lead of course, but also relies on those foolproof classics,” Cox tells me. “The key really is keeping it fresh and elevated with simple but slick pieces, whilst considering comfort and wearability – particularly on those long junket days”.
Speaking of the publicity trail, Holland has temporarily hung up his Spider-Man latex in favour of dancing shoes, confirming he’ll be part of a Fred Astaire biopic that begins filming early next year. If Cox’s styling hasn't convinced you to invest in a perfectly tailored wardrobe this summer, just wait until that press tour rolls around.
The Crowded Room will mark the actor's last project for the foreseeable future.
Tom Holland is taking a break from acting. Don’t worry, though—it’s only for a year. In a recent interview with Extra, the 27-year-old actor explained that filming his latest project, Apple TV+’s upcoming miniseries The Crowded Room, prompted the decision.
“I’m no stranger to hard work,” he explained. “I’ve lived by the idea that hard work is good work. Then again, the show did break me. There did come a time [when] I needed a break and disappeared and went to Mexico for a week and had time on a beach and laid low. I’m now taking a year off, and that is a result of how difficult this show was.”
Holland both produced and stars in The Crowded Room. The upcoming crime thriller follows Danny Sullivan, a man who is arrested in 1979 following a fatal shooting at Rockefeller Center. The series is inspired by Billy Milligan, a man convicted of many brutal crimes, who was eventually deemed innocent after he was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. His case sparked a debate about whether or not people with multiple personalities should be held accountable for their actions. In the first trailer for The Crowded Room, we see Holland's character grappling with similar circumstances. Check it out above.
Though the filming process was difficult, Holland said he’s excited to see the final product. “I feel like our hard work wasn’t in vain,” he said. This role is radically different from the blockbusters Holland is known for, like Marvel’s Spider-Man films, or the video game adaptation, Uncharted. According to the actor, he had to tap into a new psyche to pull it off, while also working on the business end of the production. “We were exploring certain emotions that I have definitely never experienced before,” he said. “And on top of that, being a producer, dealing with the day-to-day problems that come with any film set, just added that extra level of pressure.”
According to Variety, at one point during the filming, Holland nearly changed his appearance to shed the character. "I remember having a bit of a meltdown at home and thinking like, ‘I’m going to shave my head. I need to shave my head because I need to get rid of this character,’" he said. "And, obviously, we were mid-shooting, so I decided not to...It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
Now, with the production behind him, Holland says he’s learned to better manage his mental health. That is, in part, thanks to the research he did while filming the series. “Learning about mental health and the power of it, and speaking to psychiatrists about Danny and Billy's struggles, has been something that has been so informative to my own life,” Holland said.
Though Holland won’t be working on any more projects this year, you can see him in The Crowded Room, alongside Amanda Seyfried, Emmy Rossum, Sasha Lane, and Emma Laird, out now only on Apple TV+.
From: Esquire US