Pinup boys: Brooches are the awards season fashion trend that should define 2024

Brooch games for Colman Domingo, Mark Ruffalo, Ncuti Gatwa and Cillian Murphy
Brooch games for Colman Domingo, Mark Ruffalo, Ncuti Gatwa and Cillian Murphy Copyright AP Photo
By David Mouriquand
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Gents, it’s time to pin up.

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Awards season is now finally over, and thank the stars, because I’m getting tired of typing the name ‘Oppenheimer’ over and over again.

As a cheeky awards post-mortem, it’s worth highlighting that awards recompensing artistic achievement aside, there are always fashion lessons to be learned from the seemingly never-ending November to March ceremony stretch – from the Gotham Awards all the way to the Oscars.

What sartorial takeaways are there this year? 

Well, classic vintage was in; red was definitely not dead; flared trousers made something of a comeback - and great, because the whole short trousers showing too much sock made everyone look like Berlin hipsters...

The main thing to retain is: Look at Colman Domingo.

Colman Domingo at the 30th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 2024
Colman Domingo at the 30th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 2024Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Seriously, look at him.

Colman Domingo at the 77th BAFTAs
Colman Domingo at the 77th BAFTAsVianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

Gentlemen, it’s time to be more like him.

However, one trend did stand out – one that personally made me feel significantly better about an increasingly problematic obsession of mine.

Throughout the awards season, but specifically on Oscars night, one stylish trinket was making an appearance. 

It’s one that can be applied to both men and women – but it has to be said that it got very popular with the boys this year, who weren’t shy when it came to getting in on the jewellery action and steering away from the conservative etiquette of red carpets.

Because let’s face facts – generally speaking, men’s fashion on the red carpet (MET Gala aside) doesn’t always lend itself to much whimsy.

I’m talking about the brooch.

Many A-listers were jazzing up their old Hollywood glamour tuxedoes with pins and badges, and as someone who rarely goes without an enamel pin on my blazer and jacket lapels, I felt – for once – less like an overgrown 15 year old who’s refused to put childish things aside and more like a vindicated fashion monger.

OK, little column A, little column B.

While not a new trend by any means, as the likes of Timothée Chalamet, Jared Leto, and Barry Keoghan have been showing off their pin-based game over the years, brooches deliver that certain je ne sais quoi that deserves to be the ongoing fashion statement of 2024.

While I don’t have the funds for the sparkly accoutrements and eye-popping stones you’re about to see, this trend shows once again that even if you’re not a brand ambassador (yet), a brooch-based personal touch can potentialize an otherwise traditional look.

Whether they’re message-driven pins, colourful callbacks to another shade you’re wearing, band badges, geeky enamel pins, or even an ornate brooch from either your gran’s jewellery box or a thrift store, a vest detail can go a long way.

Here are a few of my favourite examples, which should hopefully inspire you to spruce up your outfits.

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Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy
Cillian MurphyRichard Shotwell/Invision/AP - Canva

The Best Actor winner wore a bespoke golden brooch made by Hong Kong jewellery house Sauvereign, a pin reportedly inspired by the internal workings of the atomic bomb. Subtle, sophisticated, and a prime example of “method dressing” (think pink outfits for the Barbie team, for example), this was a highlight of the Oscars brooch game, and showed that sometimes less is more when it comes to design.

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo
Mark RuffaloRichard Shotwell/Invision/AP - Canva

The Poor Things scene-stealer wore this gorgeous floral brooch underneath his Artists4Ceasefire support pin, showing that fashion and political statements can co-exist. His silver brooch had three stems elegantly intertwined and it looked stunning. He wasn’t the only one going with flowers this year though...

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.AP Photo/Chris Pizzello - Canva

Iron Man for some, Rear Admiral Lewis Strauss for others, Robert Downey Jr. opted for an Elsa Peretti-designed Amapola Tiffany & Co. brooch which, like his Marvel co-star Mark Ruffalo, was a flower. Simpler though – a rose brooch which shone by its simplicity - and the fact it was diamond encrusted.

Ncuti Gatwa

Ncuti Gatwa
Ncuti GatwaJordan Strauss/Invision/AP - Canva

The Rwandan-Scottish actor who everyone now knows as the new Doctor, Gatwa spruced up his tuxedo with a Jean Schlumberger by Tiffany & Co. brooch. Research indicates that it featured 18 carat yellow gold and that centre stone is a tanzanite – which has a familiar Tardis shade of blue. Not quite sure what the brooch represents (flowers in a vase?), but it’s pretty.

Teo Yoo

Teo Yoo
Teo YooEvan Agostini/Invision/AP - Canva

Past Lives star Teo Yoo wore a Cartier tortoise brooch with a blue cabochon gemstone as the animal’s shell. It looks like a pin raided from a beloved grandmother’s jewellery stash; it was apparently a tribute to Yoo’s late leopard tortoise Momo that died in 2023. Cute.

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Ke Huy Quan

Ke Huy Quan
Ke Huy QuanJordan Strauss/Invision/AP - Canva

Last year’s comeback kid and Best Supporting Actor winner for Everything Everywhere All At Once, Huy Quan sported a rather ornate brooch which either looked like an envelope orgy or perhaps the visual representation of an echo – therefore a subtle callback to the multiverse shenanigans of EEAAO.

Enzo Vogrincic

Enzo Vogrincic
Enzo VogrincicAP Photo/Ashley Landis - Canva

The rakish star of Society of the Snow (who gave off some pouty Blue Steel vibes on Oscars night) had a jewelled image of a mountain range, an evident callback to the Andes setting of the film. So, both “method dressing” and a tribute to the real-life victims of the film? Let’s hope so.

Jeffrey Wright

Jeffrey Wright
Jeffrey WrightAP Photo/John Locher - Canva

Wright’s Chaumet Œilletbrooch featured four small flowers. Not the most original in design, but a neat reflection of the main man himself: refined, dependable and effortlessly stylish.

Colman Domingo

Colman Domingo
Colman DomingoRichard Shotwell/Invision/AP - Canva

The fashion MVP of the awards season had to do things differently, and he outshone everyone by putting this simple but refined brooch on his bowtie. Genius. 

Simu Liu

Simu Liu, left, and Allison Hsu
Simu Liu, left, and Allison HsuAP Photo/Ashley Landis - Canva

Brooches can be functional too and Liu, like Domingo, shook things up a bit by not going for the lapel but using his pin as a clasp for his jacket. Stylish sparkles AND practical. Bravo, señor.

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John Krasinski

Emily Blunt, left, and John Krasinski
Emily Blunt, left, and John KrasinskiEvan Agostini/Invision/AP - Canva

An all-white suit accessorised with a starburst brooch. Well played, Krasinski. Granted, the lilac stone gives off late Queen Elisabeth vibes, but it works.

There we have it. You know what to do. 

Be a pinhead.

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