The King of Cool

Why Steve McQueen is still the world’s most stylish man

Nearly 35 years after Steve McQueen’s death, his influence on men’s style looms larger than ever. He dressed to please only himself and never wore anything that got in the way of winning a fight, a race, or a woman. His favorite items—stylish, fitted, functional—are now icons the world over. Hey, they didn’t call him the King of Cool for nothing. Case in point: Soccer superstar David Beckham is one of the biggest followers of McQueen on the planet, and among all the brands vying for his favor, he chose Belstaff, the British maker of high-end motorcycle gear, for his most recent collaboration. Why? Because, as Beckham explained to the London Telegraph, “Steve McQueen was one of the first people to [popularize] Belstaff, and I am a huge fan of his.” Last year Becks bought himself a classic 1969 Porsche 911, a perfect replica of the one McQueen drove in his 1971 film Le Mans, down to the King’s custom shade of slate-gray paint. And we wouldn’t be surprised if the famous Brit eyed an even bigger prize: McQueen’s 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, which he ordered while filming The Thomas Crown Affair and had delivered to the set of Bullitt. The Chianti-red roadster sold at a California auction on August 16 for $10,175,000. Driving McQueen’s favorite Ferrari is just a dream, but there are plenty of elements of McQueen’s style you ought to sport. Here’s hoping some of that high-octane cool rubs off.