Brad Pitt — who drove fashion headlines during the Bullet Train press tour with his colorful, casual-cool outfits and for wearing a brown linen skirt designed by Haans Nicholas Mott — is decidedly hands-on when it comes to his style choices.
For starters, the actor does not work with a stylist. As his manager, Cynthia Pett-Dante tells The Hollywood Reporter, “He’s not working with a stylist right now. He worked directly with Haans to create looks for the whole publicity tour, as he’s a fan of Haans’ work.”
Bullet Train costume designer Sarah Evelyn Bram also details to THR how closely involved Pitt was in collaborating with her on creating his on-screen look as Ladybug in the film, which opened Aug. 5.
“Brad was very involved, in all the best ways, right from the beginning,” says Bram, adding that her team made nearly all of the costumes, minus Pitt’s T-shirt and some accessories. “He has such an artistic sensibility and has been making films for so long. It feels so generous that he brings this deep intellectual and empirical knowledge to the process, because it only imbibes the costume with more meaning.”
Since nearly the entire film (save for flashbacks) takes place on a train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto, Pitt is seen mainly in a single costume in shades of green. He wears a peacoat and a workwear jacket, both of which are peeled off along the way until the actor ends up in a battered T-shirt and trousers. His accessories include a custom bucket hat, eyeglasses by Italian brand Police and All Saints low-top sneakers.
Here are the details on his Bullet Train look.
Known to personally favor bucket hats (from brands like Kangol in the ’80s to SSAM at the U.S. Open in 2021), Pitt brought the idea of this topper to the initial meeting with Bram and director David Leitch. “He said, ‘I feel like I had retired and I was sitting on a dock fishing,’” says Bram, referring to a backstory Pitt created off-screen for his character. “That made me so psyched, because I’m obsessed with workwear. It was such a cool, original idea. The fact that it was unexpected was so rad and the fact that he wants to take these kind of risks, I love.”
Bram says that she and Pitt, “went through a bunch of bucket hat silhouettes until we found two that we liked and combined to make a custom bucket hat.”
The Peacoat, Jacket, Pants and T-Shirt
Pitt’s sitting-on-a-dock concept inspired a slightly nautical feel for both the peacoat design and the choice of a white Wittmore x Velva Sheen T-shirt with a “Master Baiter Ozark Mo.” logo on the back, a custom graphic created by production designer David Scheunemann that the team printed on the T-shirt.
The actor dove deep into style details. “What the cuts were and what the fabrics felt like were really important to him,” says Bram. “Not in a vain way, but in terms of the real heritage of workwear and a real respect for fashion. Exactly how baggy the pants were and their length mattered. You could see, as he put these things on, that he was sort of becoming the character.”
One sitting was devoted to selecting a perfect design for the three pieces — no easy feat. “We went through a series of jacket silhouettes until we found one with the exact right simplicity and the fabric had the right hang,” she says. “It was, ‘I really like the body of this, but I like the collar of that. OK, which fabric are we going to use? This one is good; let’s see how it washes.’ Then we would wash it with different things and say, ‘OK, we like number three the best.’ We found a pant in a length we liked, with a leg we liked and mixed it with another pant that had a waistband we liked.”
Fabrics for the jackets and trousers were cotton twill, “true workwear fabrics,” Bram notes, while they went with an ultra-soft narrow corduroy for the bucket hat and a waxed cotton for the peacoat. “We needed to dye the jacket the right green, which was another whole process, because dyeing can be super tricky, especially when you are making multiples.”
Shooting one look for months on end, amid all of the blood-splattered fighting and action, required multiples with similar aging. Pitt’s duplicate wardrobe included 20 of the T-shirts, 14 pairs of the pants and 12 copies of the workwear jacket.
“Brad also has an artful eye for aging,” adds Bram. “Aging is such a craft, especially when you’re washing in clothing. These things become very worn and very textured and very character-like.”
Spontaneous shifts in costuming as the action progressed made it impossible to plan the aging of pieces (and duplicates). “At one point, Brad came on set in costume and said, ‘All right, put your hand in some ‘blood,’ take your hand, and make a handprint on my shirt,’” says Bram. “You better hope that looks amazing, because we were about to go to camera. And David is actually the king of aging. Having worked with him a couple times, I know whenever we’re going to have a big stunt scene, you need to be ready for him to turn around and say, ‘Give me a bottle of ‘blood.’ Let me get a brush. Can I get some dirt and a rag?’ He’s right in the middle of it, aging the whole thing in the moment.”
A flashback scene with Pitt was a “last-minute thing,” relays Bram. The clothes seen there, she explains, were versions of the workwear jacket and pants, plus a mustard-hued bucket hat. All were “part of the R&D that we originally made before we landed on the colors that would look best in the train with the rest of the cast,” says Bram.
His Other Accessories
Pitt’s bold black ’90s-inspired Origins Bullet 1 Man eyeglasses are by the Italian brand Police, while his retro low-top cream sneakers are by All Saints.
Stacked bracelets, rings and necklaces worn by Pitt in the film are his own pieces, alongside a prop Breitling watch. (The actor is an ambassador for the Swiss watchmaker.) “We ultimately ended up copying some of his personal jewelry for stunts,” says Bram. “I felt it was a cool touchstone, like a thread linking him with the character.”
In the mix are pieces from Amrit by Sat Hari by jewelry designer/holistic healer Sat Hari Khalsa, who partners with Pitt on his unisex God’s True Cashmere line. (Launched last year at Just One Eye and recently picked up by ex-fiancee Gwyneth Paltrow’s site Goop, the label’s cashmere shirts, starting at $1,990, feature seven jeweled button snaps representative of the seven chakras in stones such as emerald, rose quartz, moonstone and tiger’s eye. Earlier this year, the label added joggers and sweatshirts. Just One Eye also carries the Pitt-Pollaro furniture collection, in collaboration with New Jersey-based furniture maker Frank Pollaro, that debuted in November 2012.)
As for Pitt’s favorite styles from the film, he kept some pants and one peacoat, that was made during the R&D phase. “One waxed cotton peacoat we made was so waxy that, if it had been a Rick Owens peacoat, it would have been amazing!” says Bram. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, you can’t wear this. It’s so heavy and it’s too much for the character. It’s like a couture piece.’ But he said, ‘That’s awesome. Can I have it?’ So he kept this wild and crazy, overly waxed peacoat. He really appreciates all the things that fabric can do.”
Summing it up, Bram says, “When I’m thinking about my impressions of Brad Pitt and creating the clothing for his character, I find it kind of amazing that someone with so much attention on them is so open. Usually the instinct might be to close down, and yet he is so tactile and so open in his own life, trying to connect with energy, with aura, with color, with art.”
Mott — whose relaxed-silhouette designs for Pitt on the Bullet Train press tour were completely sewn by hand — describes a similar experience working with the actor. Says Mott, via email, “We make sequences of pieces around his thinking/feeling about color/fit/garment that he can then combine as he likes, working both generally (i.e. discussing color relationships and then executing pieces around that idea) and specifically (him wanting a skirt to go with the espresso worker’s jacket). As seen in the Bullet Train [tour] looks, he has such a unique and wonderful point of view when putting together outfits.”
Mott’s collaboration with Pitt went far beyond that talked-about skirt worn in Berlin, which the actor paired with a matching single-breasted jacket and a mauve button-front, worn untucked, also by the designer. (Pitt’s commentary to Variety on the skirt look was simply, “We’re all going to die, so let’s mess it up.”)
Also in Berlin, the actor donned mauve linen trousers by Mott with a dusty pink zip-front top. In Paris, Pitt went for a cantaloupe-colored, single-breasted linen blazer and drawstring pants with a burnt orange Henley-style top, plus the same ensemble in tonal gray-blue. In London, he replicated the look in hunter greens, then in browns with chocolate velvet suiting. The grand finale, in L.A. on Aug. 1, consisted of grass-green linen suiting, a teal polo shirt and yellow-and-maroon Adidas x Gucci sneaks to coordinate with Mott’s signature, colorful contrast stitching.