It seems that every tech genius has a uniform, even fictional ones. Following in the zipper tracks of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Mr. Robot’s cyber vigilante Elliot Alderson is rarely seen without his simple black hoodie. And as it turns out, the look was actually inspired by something from star Rami Malek’s closet.
“It’s based on his own hoodie and they just replicated it for the show,” Malek’s stylist Ilaria Urbinati tells InStyle. But if you’ve been following the actor’s off-screen style lately, there’s been much more Dior, Valentino, and Calvin Klein than say, American Apparel, on the rack. “I would still put Rami in a hoodie if the event was casual enough,” says Urbinati. “Then again, I can think of 100 more fun, casual outfits we could do instead.”
Fun is the perfect way to describe Malek’s recent red carpet rotation, which has ranged from eclectic printed shirts by Sandro (above) to head-to-toe blue by Strong Suit Clothing (below). Pretty much the exact opposite of his moody character. “His personal style is really adventurous, so I just try to hone that for the red carpet,” says Urbinati. “The funny story is that before I ever dressed him, I was watching Mr. Robot and said to my husband, ‘Now’s that is a Dior guy if I’ve ever seen one.’ A week later, I got the call about working with him and one of the first looks that we did together was Dior at the Golden Globes. We really got each other right away.”
Still, Urbinati follows a few guidelines when mixing and matching. “When we do a bold printed shirt, I stick to a simpler solid suit,” she says. "And with a bright suit, I keep the rest of the look really clean. If we want to mix prints, then I like to stay in the same color family. It’s about balance.” At a Mr. Robot event last month, Malek wore a crisp Valentino suit (below) with a striped shirt and white Kurt Geiger sneakers—a look that Urbinati says explains his style in a nutshell. “It’s a vibrant suit color, with unexpected accessories and a striped T-shirt to keep everything young and effortless,” she says.
And just like his Mr. Robot wardrobe, Malek is hands-on in the selection process. “Our fittings are the best—we are like two kids in a candy store,” says Urbinati. “Afterwards, we end up hanging out forever, shooting the sh*t, and watching random You Tube videos.” And though the two are usually on the same page style-wise, the actor likes to surprise her from time to time. “Before an event, sometimes he goes rogue and will switch up the shoes at the last minute,” she says. "I’ll get this text like, ‘Don’t be mad at me, but …' Even though it’s fun, I know he takes it seriously and will always make me proud on the carpet."
Watch Mr. Robot on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.