Fashion

Keanu Reeves Dressed Like John Wick Before John Wick Even Existed

One doesn't need a murdered dog to dress in perpetual mourning.
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John Wick dresses how he feels. Dark. And there's good reason for the funereal garb: Everyone he knows, and loves, is dead. His wife. His lovely dog, Daisy. Even his extended family back in Belarus. But some time ago, long before the famed assassin ever had his vintage carjacked by Russian mafiosos, the man who became a meme for sadness laid the foundations of Wick's famous wardrobe. And they were set 22 years before John Wick even hit the big screen.

In the heady optimism of youth, Reeves smiled a lot more, but that brightness never made its way to what he wore. We saw black T-shirts, black overcoats, and black suits that stole a silhouette from his fellow Nineties heartthrobs, but were a little more Damien Thorn in their palette.

Highlights include, but are not limited to, a stunted tuxedo lapel at the 1995 Academy Awards. All in black. A few years earlier, the Bill & Ted star went boxy and casual with a T-shirt-suit combo in 1987. Again, all in black. At the Speed premiere, the actor again reached for the dressed-down tailoring. We'll let you guess the color of that one.

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What's more, Reeves was a foil to the mad shirts and Saved By The Bell retina-scorchers of the era. This stuff was a bit cooler. A bit more gothic. The heir apparent to Bela Lugosi was a prophet of sorts, too. In just a few years, The Matrix would ignite a taste for S&M-lite, in the form of black leather overcoats and hideously uncomfortable latex. Just this year, menswear had its lights turned off as the appetite for embracing the rainbow gave way to a total eclipse. And, in non-celebrity circles, the black suit saw life beyond a graveside farewell.

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Keanu Reeves at a party for Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing, New York (1993)

Photo by Catherine McGann.
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Can we thank Saint Keanu for all of this alone? Of course not. Though in times when reasons to celebrate were plentiful (economic surplus, Nelson Mandela's long walk to freedom, The Big Breakfast), John Wick kept things John Wick before John Wick ever lost his beloved puppy. Which is gloomy. But also very well-dressed.

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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