It may not surprise you to find out that the guy tapped to co-host the 2016 Met Gala — and the one who looks like, well, this in a tux — has an interest in fashion. The Emmy nominee (who’s currently promoting Star Trek, so you’ll have lots of opportunities to see him wear a suit) tells PeopleStyle that his interest in clothes goes way back — and includes a sneaker collection that might rival DJ Khaled’s.
“I can’t even say [how many sneakers I have],” the actor said. “I have a whole room that has a container — half that container is trainers and shoes.” He’s currently loving Havaiana flip flops for summer, but you might see him rocking a pair of Kanye West’s designs as the weather cools down. “Believe it or not, the Yeezys are really nice stuff and I just got a nice pair that I love,” he says. “I am going to send him some of my gear and see if he likes that.”
His gear, of course, being his collection for Superdry — he’s on his second collaboration with the brand, which includes a range of tees (his favorite), jackets and shorts. And Elba says, he’s happy to be thought of as someone whose style is worth emulating.
“This line is something that is cool and affordable and represents me. I spend a lot of time in clothes and I’ve been complimented for a few years about the way I dress and that’s always been a nice feeling,” he says. “Whenever I go on red carpets I definitely pay attention … Long story short is yes, I kind of did have a beeline to want to be noticed in fashion a little bit. But not in a way that I am going to be the highlight of men’s fashion week and make a big splash like that.”
Despite the modesty, he made a major impact at the Met Gala in his Tom Ford tux, an experience Elba says was like a master class in red carpet dressing. “Tom Ford’s team is just immaculate to the inch. Every single detail is accounted for even to how you walk, where your hands should be,” he says. “I was told not to put your hands in the pockets. I was like, Oh, what do I do! I’m a man who puts my hands in my pockets. But I took away when you’re someone that is in fashion and you’re considered fashionable it’s all about that one moment when they take the picture, so look immaculate for it. It’s a fleeting second. And I definitely am a lot more conscious of that now that I am on the red carpet.”
When he’s off the red carpet, you can find him relaxing in a pair of patterned pants, which he says are the most surprising thing in his closet. “I have these African pants that are just made from African print. I wear them and I look a little bohemian, no one would ever think I would wear them because they’re super colorful and super baggy. I love those. Very easy to wear,” he says, adding that he wears them “just at home, when I am sort of, like chilling at the house. I got them from Ghana and I wore them a lot in Ghana. And then I got to London and I got conscious!”
That might come with the territory of having a teenage daughter (who has accompanied him to the Oscars and SAG Awards!) who’s at the age to critique her dad’s fashion choices. “She thinks I am cool — sometimes,” he says. “She says to me, ‘Dad, don’t you think your shorts are a little short?’ Oh no, I don’t actually, thank you very much.”
Despite the sass, she’s still on the shortlist to be his Emmys date; he’s nominated in the Leading Actor category, alongside fellow Brit Tom Hiddleston. “Tom and I are good friends. I’m looking forward to seeing him.” And Hiddleston’s date (who also happened to be a Met Gala co-host with Elba) Taylor Swift? “Psh – moving on!” he says, laughing. “Nah, I’m happy for him. He’s a great guy.”
What do you think of Elba’s style?
— Alex Apatoff