Hollywood’s highest paid actor, People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, Tim Burton’s favorite chameleon, guyliner’s patron saint. Johnny Depp has worn many hats over his decades-spanning career (including, by the way, that of the Headwear Association’s Hat Person of the Year). This June, the CFDA will add another feather to his caps when it christens Depp a Fashion Icon at its annual awards show, the first man to be so honored.
Surely, Depp himself is laughing off the style salute. More often than not, he snubs designer duds in favor of vintage vests and scarves, skull rings, and sunglasses, all of which—plus his dozen-plus tattoos—enhance his disheveled-meets-dashing appeal. Even his film roles are roguish, favoring freaks and loners. Twist his arm and he’ll play a romantic leading man—his way, as the seventeenth-century erotic poet the Earl of Rochester in The Libertine. Pretty boys play Don Juan; Johnny plays Don Juan DeMarco, the lover in need of a shrink.
He’s transformed himself countless times on-screen (into Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, Jack Sparrow), and almost as often off of it. He’s been a svelte, mop-topped teen heartthrob, a long-haired rock god, a gypsy-ish dandy, and a dapper, coiffed leading man on the red carpet. It’s a testament to the fact that versatility—and a willingness to experiment with that enviable head of hair—are some of the Kentucky-born brooder’s best qualities. (See Johnny work the ombré trend, pictured, long before it became Hollywood’s dye job du jour.)
Next month, he teams up again with Burton as vampire Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, a supernatural soap opera reboot set in the seventies. Business as unusual, you might say. But lurking beneath the fangs, the layers of white foundation, and the heavily rimmed lids is Depp as he’s always been: ever intense, never conventional.
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