The hour is nigh: Cinematic Armageddon is almost upon us. In just over a week, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer will simultaneously hit movie theaters on July 21, unleashing the cataclysmic cultural phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer” on the world.
Indeed, this summer’s two most-anticipated blockbusters appear, on their faces, to be total opposites: Barbie is a movie about the plucky prototypical Barbie doll (Margot Robbie) finding her purpose in the real world; Oppenheimer is a movie about nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) developing the first atomic bomb. This difference has been evident in their respective marketing campaigns and the sartorial vibes of their stars, which have both been on display this week as the films kicked their promotional runs into high gear.
So far, these two movies’ opening fêtes could not be more dissimilar. The Barbie world premiere took place in Los Angeles last week under the blinding California sun, complete with a pink carpet, a pink Corvette convertible, and a bevy of manicured faux hedges and palm trees; there was also an earlier photocall at—naturally—the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, plus a subsequent premiere event today in London. Meanwhile, Oppenheimer premiered in Paris this week with a pared-back event featuring a gray step-and-repeat and a black carpet, followed by another outdoor carpet today in London’s Trafalgar Square…in the rain! (Even Mother Nature can’t help but get involved in the Barbenheimer discourse.)
In turn, the films’ leading men (including Barbie’s Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, and Michael Cera, and Oppenheimer’s Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, and Robert Downey Jr.) have been pulling up to their respective premieres in diametrically opposed menswear. On the red carpet—or, as the case may be, the pink or black carpet—Barbenheimer manifests as Gosling’s cotton-candy-pink Gucci suit with his shirt unbuttoned to the sternum, versus Murphy’s black-and-tan Prada look with his tie squarely knotted at the neck.
Scroll on to see all the menswear looks from the Barbie and Oppenheimer premieres, and please cast your loyalties accordingly.