Style / October 2018

This Week We're Channelling: The Driver in Drive

Drive is stylish as it is action-packed. This week we unpack the sartorial identity of its anti-hero protagonist, the Driver.

Ryan Gosling stars as the steely-yet-stylish Driver in Drive (2011).

Nicolas Winding Refn’s retro-inspired neo-noir Drive (2011) is an enticing visual feast from start to finish, each scene meticulously styled and presented with purpose. Indubitably, designer Erin Benach’s costuming is largely responsible for this: her styling of the 'Driver' - played by the almost irritatingly handsome Ryan Gosling - is slick, striking and artfully steeped in 1980s nostalgia, leading us to revisit the film for a hefty dose of sartorial inspiration.

Of course, much of the Driver’s signature style comes down to that iconic piece: a white satin souvenir jacket with a gold scorpion motif embroidered on the back. It’s the perfect amount of ostentation for Gosling’s anti-hero character and acts as a necessary armour - a nonverbal means of identity expression for a man with very little dialogue. In an interview with Grantland, Benach revealed the jacket’s origin story: “Ryan had been really inspired by these 1950s Korean souvenir jackets. He had bought one on his own and was wearing it around... But the style and shape of them was definitely very fifties and slouchy. We felt like Driver was really buttoned-up, clean and streamlined and we didn’t want there to be much billowiness to him. So we built it piece by piece. We knew the collar had to be able to pop up, we wanted the knit around the wrists and waist to be 100 per cent wool as opposed to stretchy nylon. We wanted every element to be perfect.”

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Aobh O'Brien-Moody

Editorial Assistant at The Rake