Normally, when stars at red-carpet events get asked what they’re wearing, we tune out. Gucci? I’m sorry, did you mean Patagucci? But at Sunday night’s Oscars, there was one name we did recognize: The North Face (TNF). Alex Honnold took to the red carpet alongside Jimmy Chin, Chai Vasarhelyi, and the rest of the Free Solo team to claim an Oscar for best documentary. He was wearing a tuxedo designed specially for him by TNF.
Seeing Alex Honnold in a tuxedo is an odd enough sight. Most of the time he looks like he came straight from a rock gym—because he probably did. But we can get behind a tux designed by the same company that makes puffy jackets and backpacks (and sponsors Honnold).
Mona Al-Shaalan, a designer for the brand’s Black Series fashion and lifestyle line, made the suit to combine modern styling with technical fabrics. The pants and single-button jacket were made of 100 percent wool and paired with a stretch-cotton tuxedo shirt, while the pocket square and bow tie were adorned with The North Face logos. Al-Shaalan has a background in fashion, having designed for McQ by Alexander McQueen, Versace, and Givenchy.
She and tailor Devon Scott traveled to meet Honnold three times to measure and fit the tux. Scott has made custom outfits for professional athletes and Oscar attendees several times before, but Honnold was the first climber she’s worked with. “He has these really broad shoulders similar to a swimmer,” she says. “Then a very narrow waist, long arms, and a developed chest and calves, which gives you a great canvas to drape the cloth on.” Al-Shaalan says she went for a slim fit to highlight Honnold’s athletic physique.
It seems strange to hear a designer from one of the world’s preeminent technical outdoor brands talking about peak lapels and jacquard pocket squares, and even stranger that Alex Honnold—the man who climbs in cut-off pants—is at the center of it all. Don’t worry, though: The North Face says this suit was a one-time thing for the Oscars. Don’t expect to see performance-stretch tuxedos in your local gear shop any time soon.