Raf Simons, Issey Miyake, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme Des Garcons may sound like a list of the latest runway shows, but it’s actually just a few of the designers Robin Williams wore in his lifetime. The late comedic genius and beloved actor captivated audiences around the world with his unparalleled talent, but beyond just acting, Williams possessed a distinctive personal style that showcased his vibrant personality.
His personality and innate sense of playfulness were mirrored in every outfit he put on. Embracing an eclectic mix of styles, he fearlessly ventured into bold and colorful ensembles, reflecting his boundless creativity and free-spirited nature. Since the start of his stand-up comedy career in the 1970s, Williams was dressing with eccentric outfits, effortlessly melded casual comfort with flair. His fashion choices were a reflection of his zest for life, humor, and an unabashed willingness to break conventions, and by the time his fame grew in the 1980s and 1990s, he was not afraid to continue experimenting with is style and pushing personal boundaries.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that there are few celebrities with the fashion range that Robin Williams had. Williams was notably ahead of his time, wearing pieces that to this day are highly sought after. He showcased a love for both high-fashion and streetwear and everything in between, caring nothing for trends but rather becoming a trendsetter himself. Zelda Williams, the actor's daughter, echoed this sentiment when discussing her father's style on twitter.
"...Dad casually, daily wore things I have never seen another person dare wear, and I have always respected that flex,” she said in a now deleted tweet.
Whether he was wearing Raf Simons on the David Letterman or showcasing his fearlessness to wear anything by showing up in a cheerleading costume to a 1979 Broncos game, Williams has cemented himself as a true fashion icon.
At the tip of the Robin Williams iconic fits iceberg is the famous picture of him in the SS 1996 Jean Paul Gaultier trompe l’oeil muscle shirt. The buttoned-down shirt was from Jean Paul Gaultier’s collection titled, “Pin Up Boys,” and featured an unmistakably chiseled male torso rendered in red and white halftone dots. Showing up to a red-carpet event with this priceless shirt on in 1996, Williams had officially made himself known for his playful style.
The 90s had ample opportunity for the actor to showcase his looks. From his performance as “Mrs Doubtfire” in 1993 to the smash hits “Jumanji” (1995) and “Good Will Hunting” (1997), the decade was filled with red carpet events and plenty of paparazzi photos. While this time stands out for his acting credentials, the truth is Williams had been putting together amazing outfits decades before this famous picture.
As far back as 1979, Williams showcased that he had an incredible understanding of his own personal style. He thrived in putting together outfits that felt authentic to himself. He did not wear clothing to fit into any particular style, instead he wore pieces that you could tell he enjoyed wearing. in 1979, before Williams was affording expensive designer pieces, he was still showing off his ability to dress.
In this same year that he wore the aforementioned Cheerleader costume, he also threw together some eccentric looks for his HBO comedy special and out in public. For his special he wore a ringer T-shirt with a mysterious woman’s face printed on it and rainbow suspenders covered in pins. Then later that year at a friend’s event he showcased that love for accessories again, this time covering a bomber jacket in pins and wearing a plum and navy beret. It’s almost impossible to pin all the influences in this looks, as his style is so uniquely his own.
Williams was also known to show up to premiers and tv show appearances in incredible tailoring. At the premier of “Hook” he came in a Comme Des Garcons suit jacket. It was the blazer that John Malkovich opened the presentation of Comme des Garçons Homme Plus, Spring/Summer 1990 with, and the same one that Sir Elton John wore at the BMI music awards a year prior. Williams wore this blazer throughout most events surrounding the release.
This was not the only example of the actor in eccentric designer suits. At a separate red-carpet event he was spotted in a SS 1998 Alexander McQueen two piece. On another occasion, he proved his love for all things Issey Miyake on the Jay Leno show by wearing one of the designers abstract printed suits. A lot of male celebrities choose a more subdued suit when making public appearances, opting for traditional blacks, blues and greys but Williams could not be expected to conform to this. The actor had a nearly endless wardrobe with a collection of iconic suit appearances that just goes on.
Williams also proved himself to be somewhat of a hypebeast in the 90s and 2000s. In a fan favorite moment, Williams rolled up the premier of “Flubber” in the iconic AW96 Issey Miyake jacket. The jacket is now considered an incredibly important part of fashion history, with designers constantly looking to it for inspiration. Williams was also rocking A Bathing Ape so often that it was reported he knew the names of every employee at their SOHO store. Beyond that was also wearing brands like Visvim and Acronym before anyone else was, wandering the streets in them decades before they became considered techwear staples in the 2020s.
Robin Williams was a true icon whose style transcended the boundaries of fashion. His ability to seamlessly merge elegance with a touch of whimsy made him a timeless figure in the industry. Whether through his tailored suits, casual ensembles, or the characters he brought to life, Williams effortlessly demonstrated that style could be an extension of one's vibrant personality. Beyond that of his incredible talent and ability to make anyone laugh on the big screen, he was so unapologetically himself when he dressed, and his outfits remain influential today.