“A black suit is a black suit, let’s face it,” costume designer Penny Rose tells press on the London set of Men In Black: International. But, for the next chapter for the alien-cop franchise, she adds “there’s a difference in the cut” of the MIB agents’ wardrobes from the previous films with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
For one, Rose says the cast, led by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, are all wearing suits made by renown British designer Paul Smith. For another, they are slimmer and more bespoke.
“We partnered with Paul Smith at the beginning and the Men in Black, for this movie, are dressed by Paul Smith, as is Tessa and as is Emma Thompson [returning as Agent O],” Rose says. “I think you’ll find they are a great deal more stylish than they were originally.”
After Molly (Thompson) had an alien encounter at as a young girl and walks away from the Men in Black with her memories in tact, she spends her adult life tracking down this mysterious organization. When she does, entering the familiar New York headquarters, she talks her way into a job as Agent M and is sent off to London to partner with Agent H (Hemsworth) and suss out a potential mole problem.
“These agents are more sartorial than the guys in New York,” Rose says of the British agents. “I went shopping in America for the New York MIB boys, and I partnered with Paul Smith for the London ones.”
Even with the black suits for the New York agents, Rose wanted to update the look. “I think when there’s a time gap and then you do it again, you need to freshen the whole thing up,” she explains. “You don’t really want to use any of the same stuff. And it’s not that the other designer didn’t do a marvelous job, it’s just incumbent to slightly tweak it.”
Smith used “travel cloth” for the suits in International, a more stretchy suit that can ideally be packed into a suitcase and, “on the other end, you [whip it out] and it’s wearable,” according to Rose. “So, for all the stunts and the carrying on, it was ideal.”
Although, Thompson’s suit is unique to her. The actress gets her own specific double-breasted, two-button suit. “It’s exclusively to Tessa,” Rose says.
For more from our visit to the Men In Black International set, check out the links below: