As the son of César Award-winning actress Isabelle Adjani and Oscar-winning Daniel Day-Lewis it would be easy for Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis to sink into the shadow cast by his parents’ success.
But the young Day-Lewis is carving out his own path. Though best known for his day job as a singer-songwriter, at GQ we recognise the 25-year-old as one of young Hollywood’s best-dressed men, with a wardrobe to rival his dad’s.
With a penchant for slick suiting and stomper boots, and with a jewellery box bigger than that of Harry Styles’, he’s a front-row regular at fashion weeks across the globe and has been given the nod from some of the biggest brands in the world. Case in point: he’s just landed a starring role (alongside his mother) in Ermenegildo Zegna’s “What Makes A Man” Spring/Summer 2021 campaign. No big deal.
Here, in his own words, Day-Lewis shares with GQ his style secrets, what he wants to steal from his father’s wardrobe and what his mum thinks about his many tattoos.
I’ve always love playing dress-up. Whether that’s for fancy dinners, black-tie events, red carpets, I love being able to wear suits on occasion. I usually would stray away from how people might normally do things. For instance, traditionally you might button up a shirt and wear a tie, but I like to use jewellery and my tattoos as accessories. I like to play around with the concept of suit and black tie.
I used to dress in a much more eccentric way. I used to wear lots of different, bright colours all at the same time and my style was definitely more flashy than it is now. I think, over the years, as I’ve got older, my style has just toned down a little bit. Now, I’m a really simple guy when it comes to my wardrobe. I just do T-shirts, nice jackets, well-fitting jeans and a pair of sneakers – I’m pretty much all set. And I think Zegna really fits my style, because, as a brand, it has found the perfect balance between dressed up and casual.
I really like an artist called Jesse Rutherford. He sort of has this rock-chic thing going on and that’s a style that I like and have definitely adopted myself. I’m really into distressed jeans, motorcycle jackets, statement jewellery and chunky boots.
My dad is a style icon. He’s so effortlessly cool. It frustrates me, as I put so much thought into what I wear. I think my dad just has excellent taste, although we’ve never really talked about fashion. He’s not much of a fashion guy per se, but his outfits are just cool. He’s the perfect blend, style-wise, of New York and London. He’ll wear a Paul Smith knitted, striped sweatshirt with a Carhartt jacket and it’ll blow the internet up. That’s impressive. He manages to make workmen’s boots look fashionable too.
My dad gave me one of his Oscars suits. It’s a navy double-breasted suit that he wore to the awards a couple of years ago and he gave me it to wear to my high school prom. Aside from that, I don’t really have any hand-me-downs.
I want my dad’s fisherman knits. He’s got a few of them, long-sleeved, ribbed and some have a turtleneck knit. They’re very tight to his body and he’s just got a very good posture, so they look great.
I’m a huge cinephile. I used to go to the movies at least once, if not twice, a week and I’d go by myself. I’m a sucker for all the 1990s Scorsese gangster movies. I love the suits that the Goodfellas wore – those long collars, thick ties and oversized fits. Ryan Gosling’s Handsome Luke style in The Place Beyond The Pines is badass too.
Timothée Chalamet has some seriously nice clothes. I’d like to raid his wardrobe. A younger me would have wanted to steal Billie Eilish’s look.
I’ve made some big style mistakes. I once wore white trousers, a pink snapback and a pink leather perfecto jacket. It was not good.
Skinny jeans are in my past. I definitely had a phase where I wore jeans that I needed to, you know, make a physical effort to get on. Growing up in Paris, there was a thing called Tecktonik, which was really big at one point and it was just, like, electronic dance. But it came with its own style. People wore flannel shirts, they had a lot of gel in their hair and wore really skinny jeans that would cut off their blood circulation. I hopped on that train for a little bit, but today I favour really well-fitted jeans. I’m all about comfort nowadays.
I have found my style. I’ve probably got the style that’s going to be the most consistent for a while now. I’ve tried a ton of different things over the years and this style that I’ve got today definitely feels the most sustainable. I mean, it might change again, but I think the basic element of a simple and elegant style is definitely what suits me best.
I don’t need to dress flashy all the time. I realised that I’m covered in tattoos and I’ve got this bold, dyed hairstyle right now and I wear jewellery, so there’s already so much going on. I used to wear a ring on every single finger and a bunch of chains, but now I only wear a few pieces. It makes sense to tone down my wardrobe choices. I don’t feel like I need to use my style to create a sense of individualism.
I like sneakers, but I’m a boots guy. I like wearing boots a lot. I love a cowboy, rodeo, pointed-toe style, but I like suede boots as well. You never know how to dress in New York, though, so suede isn’t really an option. We’ll get constant April showers from the end of March through to the end of May.
Throughout lockdown I wore my gym kit. I wore my shorts and tank top that I’d usually wear to work out in with my trainer. I was always ready to go for a run if the motivation hit.
I dyed my hair white for a music video. I’m shooting at the end of March, maybe the first week of April, and we are going for a wolf-like look. I bleached it for four hours and then dyed it a silver-white shade. I condition it every single day. I condition it before I wash it, then after I wash it, and I use a purple shampoo to make sure the colour remains. I’m a big fan of saunas and so I make sure I put a hair-protecting spray on my hair before going for one. I actually kind of like the way it looks so I’ll probably keep it for a little bit. I might start playing around with colours, maybe a washed pink.
I was always drawn to the idea of tattoos. I got my first one when I was 16 in Paris. You could only get one if you had a parent go with you. The first one I got was an initial for my grandmother and one for my uncle, who both had passed away around the same time. My mum made me promise that they would be my first and last. And I have yet to meet someone who’s only got one tattoo and not gone back for another. I don’t think I ever had the intention of looking the way I do now, I just got addicted to it. It wasn’t until about 2021 that I started getting tattoos in riskier places, like the hands and the neck.
Having tattoos doesn’t make me a bad person. My actions don’t line up with this widespread concept of someone who’s covered in tattoos. People think people with tattoos are these terrible people who don’t do anything with their lives, which isn’t the case. I’m a very self-aware and an extremely responsible person and I think the tattoos are my only edgy side. Aside from them, there’s nothing outrageous about me. I’m not a bad boy by definition, which my mum is happy about.
I have my morning and nightly rituals. I do care a lot about my skincare. I had a bit of a traumatic experience when I was 21. I’d never had acne growing up and then out of the blue I got really bad cystic acne that lasted almost a year and I had to go see a dermatologist. Now, I use rosehip oils and natural serums and I exfoliate a couple times a week. I also like using moisturising, vitamin C-infused facial cleansers and toners.
I’ll have bad hair days and there’s not much I can do about it, nothing helps. I usually use Oribe products, though, as they’re really good.
I’m super big on wellness. I got into cold immersion and heat therapy a little over two years ago. I go to this amazing place in Williamsburg in Brooklyn called Bathhouse. There’s a cold plunge, which is set at 10C and I go back and forth between the cold plunge and the traditional dry Finnish sauna and the tropical sauna. That process is really good because it’s great for stress regulation, boosts your immune system and helps with inflammation, circulation issues, stress, can improve your sleep and decreases anxiety.
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