Wearing John Malkovich

The actor introduces a new laid-back menswear line.

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Photograph by Scott M. Lacey, Styling by Paul Petzy

Asked what inspired his summer men’s collection for Yoox.com, John Malkovich gets nostalgic.

“I’m from the Midwest—that’s a long way from California, or from water,” the Illinois-born actor, director, and producer says over the phone. “The West Coast was just a place that seemed so incredibly exotic, and paradisiacal and unreachable. And they had colorful things that were light and airy and not too overdesigned.”

Which pretty well describes his new line. Unpretentious low-tops, cotton scarves, and effortless shirts—all made in Italy to be comfortable and packable—have a retro Cali feel. “It’s a simple but not wholly inelegant look,” Malkovich says, and a big departure from the structured pieces in his main menswear line, Technobohemian, which he started in 2009. (His first venture, Uncle Kimono, folded about six years ago.)

Malkovich, who lives part-time in Cambridge—“it’s a nice, quiet life,” he says—has long been drawn to texture and color, collecting eye-catching fabric scraps for as long as he can remember. In high school, he even dreamed up new field attire during sports practices.

“If I had spent as much time in the weight room as I did designing football uniforms, I probably would have had a free college education,” he says with a laugh. “It was one of my many failings.”

Now Malkovich carries paper and colored pencils with him to film sets and on flights. “Sketching is never really a problem,” he says. “If I ever had two full days, I could design 10 years’ worth.” Although this modern Renaissance man doesn’t have a lot of downtime—this month he’s directing the French-language play Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Lincoln Center Festival—he hopes to make it back to one beach in particular the next time he’s in town. A college girlfriend’s great-uncle had “one of those Victorian, ramshackle beach houses at Salisbury Beach, which I loved,” he says. “But anytime I ask any member of my family to take a drive up there, I always get a big no.” Maybe this summer.

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Photographs by Marshall Troy

Technobohemian cotton-and-metal belt, $109, yoox.com

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Technobohemian nylon swim trunks, $249, yoox.com 

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Technobohemian cotton-and-rubber shoes, $253, yoox.com

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