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John Wick Needed a New Suit. Paco Delgado Gave Him Diamonds.

John Wick doesn’t have a cave, a fortress of solitude, a headquarters, or a spaceship. John Wick has a tailor. In fact, according to Wickian lore, Baba Yaga has two. The Tailor (capital “T”) in John Wick: Chapter 2 was portrayed by that film’s costume designer, Luca Mosca. But the seam rippers have since been passed to Paco Delgado, a Spanish designer known for his work on films ranging from the bizarre and underrated The Skin I Live In to the bizarre and appropriately rated Cats. Delgado was charged with iterating on a slim-fit silhouette so iconic it could pass for a special effect.

SPY spoke to Delgado about what makes the Wick suit – now a touchpoint for so many men experimenting with benchmade clothes – unique and how regular men can approximate a dangerously expensive look.

Courtesy of Lionsgate & Paco Delgado

This is your first John Wick film. What was it like inheriting a look and trying to iterate on it?  What did you want to bring to the character that you hadn’t yet seen?

Paco Delgado: I found it very exciting because I really like the franchise. I really like the whole idea and I really wanted to work with Chad again, of course, Keanu. When you come into a franchise like this, you have to keep something in mind: The characters are already made. You have to be faithful to that. On the other hand, I also think that if they call you, it’s because they want a different input on the character.

I tried to work with texture and light. For example, I chose a fabric that has a diamond dust inside. And when the light hits it, it creates a really different shape and shine. I tried to bring some contemporary style, but mixed in vintage elements.

Wait. Did you say that his suit has diamond dust in it? Excuse me?

Yes. It’s a fabric from a mill called Scabal. They do really high-end men’s fabrics for suits. We were asking the same question: ‘What? Is it true? Is it true or not?’ And it’s true – the fabric is part of a collection called  Diamond chip.

Trailer for John Wick: Chapter 4.

Okay, well, I could talk about diamond suits for hours but let’s move on and talk tailoring. What do you think about something as simple as a suit in the context of such a high-octane action film?

I think the suit is the modern armor for the modern man. We started working for Keanu with a well-established tailor in Berlin because we shot most of the movie in Berlin. And though they were really, really, really good tailors and very accurate and really precise and classy and stylish, the suit didn’t work at first. I had to find another type of tailor. We used Eike Neumann, a bespoke tailor that works in the industry and had dressed Keanu in the last Matrix movie. The suit became an architectural construction. There were two millimeters of a gap underneath the armpit and it made a difference. The suit still looked like armor, but it had movement.

And he still had to be able to kick ass.

Definitely. Those suits needed to have an amazing ease of movement. And we probably made something like 14 or 15 or 16 copies of each. Because Keanu does most of his own stunts, some of the suits got shot and then some of them got blood and some of them got destroyed through the action. It was like a war basically.

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4. Courtesy of Murray Close/Lionsgate

Time for the prerequisite Keanu question. He was super awful to work with, right? (Kidding)

Keanu is an amazing person. He is very genuine and warm, a very interesting guy. He has a really amazing presence. It’s really funny because you see Keanu coming into a fitting and he looks like a very normal guy, but then when he starts inhabiting the character, he becomes the character very quickly. Then that’s fantastic for a costume designer because he’s super accurate, super, super, super accurate. He was like, “Paco, I think this lapel is, I don’t know what to say, but one centimeter or one centimeter and a half high.”

Keanu Reeves playing John Wick. Courtesy of Murray Close/Lionsgate

And then we just took the measuring tape and yes, it was true. But he has an amazing eye that can pick up detail very easily. He’s [wants] perfection, but it’s a really wonderful challenge for a designer because you know that your work is gonna be excellent. It’s like some people can wear clothes and some people are worn by the clothes. In the case of Keanu, he wears the clothes. And he also has a charisma that you can feel, because I mean, to be a star, you have to be a good actor, but also you have to have charisma and I think Keanu has both.

For guys who want to pull off the John Wick look, where do you recommend they shop?

A lot of companies that do suits that are very similar: Prada or Tom Ford or Dolce and Gabbana. For a more affordable option, I think Zara is a good bet. The truth is that you could find a lot of similar things on the high street at a comfortable price, but what we do is bespoke. And bespoke is a completely different feeling and a completely different fit.

Courtesy of Zara


Buy Now

Zara isn’t hiding a high-end German tailor in the back behind the sale section, but the trim lines of its off-the-rack suiting capture a Wickian silhouette. Just don’t expect the suit to take as much of a beating.