In the five years Brian Cox played vitriolic media mogul Logan Roy in HBO’s boardroom drama “Succession,” viewers mostly saw him on-screen in a navy business suit and burgundy tie. But since the show concluded in May 2023, the Scottish thespian — now 77 — and his stylist Venk Modur have been cultivating a more, well, experimental look. (HBO and CNN share parent company Warner Bros. Discovery).
Cox has leant into his “retirement” (at least from the role of Waystar Royco CEO) with loud, florid chintz-printed jackets by independent designer Jasmine Chongo; a firetruck red suede Lowry jacket and matching auburn shades; and now, appearing on the Jimmy Fallon show last Tuesday, a striking pair of faux leather pants that scream — or likely squeak — leisure.
His high-shine trousers were made by Budapest-based label Nanushka, offset with a navy pinstripe shirt and a preppy pair of tricolor horsebit loafers from streetwear brand Kith. The slick, camel-colored bottoms were decidedly more flattering when Cox was upright rather than seated, upon which they looked unfortunately flesh-like. The trousers, if seen by Cox’s youngest fictional son, would almost certainly elicit the Roman Roy-ism: “If I cringe any harder I might become a fossil.”
Not many understood the vision. “Chap has clearly completely lost his mind,” wrote one X user. “I wish this app would stop showing me Brian Cox in those leather trousers and loafers,” added another.
But Cox is “always down to be the best,” wrote Modur on his Instagram. And he’s not the first man to don a pair of skin-tight leather-look ankle grazers. Freddie Mercury’s high-waisted leather breeches (in black and red) became his unofficial performance uniform during the 1980s, while David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison and even Elvis Presely have been known to talcum-up and tug on a pair. More recently, Joe Jonas has been praised online for his rotating selection of leather pants in red, brown, black and silver during the latest Jonas Brothers tour.
There are fewer rules in menswear today than ever before. Once upon a time, even forgoing a tie was considered borderline negligence. “Ever since the Middle Ages, powerful men in the West have covered their throats,” fashion historian Anne Hollander wrote in 2000 in the New York Times — somewhat horrified after seeing the chairman and chief executive of General Electric, then one of the most highly valued corporations in America, at a press conference both in open-neck button-downs. Lo and behold, two decades on, everyone’s favorite faux-CEO is bearing his calves — and more besides — in leather trousers on prime-time television. Fashion is a fickle mistress indeed.