The Story Behind James Ivory’s Timothée Chalamet Oscar Shirt
Artist Andrew Mania tells us how his shirt ended up on the Oscar winner.
Photograph by David Crotty for Getty Images.
I believe in love at first sight, that chemical surge in your brain that happens when you see something or someone captivating and it sends an unexplainable jolt through your body. It’s impossible to mistake for anything else. This is the feeling I got when I saw Call Me By Your Name screenwriter and producer James Ivory on the Academy Awards red carpet in a tuxedo, with a drawing of Timothée Chalamet in scribbled ink on his white dress shirt. The shirt, designed by artist Andrew Mania, is detailed, delicate and childlike in its rendering; it captures the gentleness of Chalamet’s portrayal of Elio (plus, it’s simply an aesthetically pleasing piece of clothing).
Chalamet may not have won the best actor Oscar he was nominated for on Sunday, but Mania’s sketch is the perfect testament to his boyish wonder and sensitivity—he’s the perfect young star.
I was so transfixed by it that I had to call up the man who made it and ask him about its genesis, how it found its way to Ivory, and our shared fascination with Chalamet.
GARAGE: So, to start this off, what were your thoughts on Call Me By Your Name as a movie?
Andrew Mania: I saw the film back in December when it first came out, [and] I’d been looking forward to it for a while. I thought it was beautiful. It was. Everything works really beautifully from the acting, the way it was filmed, the story. I really fell in love with the shirt Elio wears [at the end of] the film—the faces and the Matisse style, but I really couldn’t find anything online like it, so I decided to just make my own. That’s how I started making shirts. I hadn’t painted on a shirt before. I actually really enjoyed it. And then I started to make one of Elio as well.
What was it about Elio that inspired you to make this shirt?
I think Elio looked more like my drawings—like the people who are in my drawings, anyway. Yeah, I think he’s kind of quite mysterious in a way. So I’m kind of interested in how in that moment between innocence and experience in youth—that moment when one is almost an adult. They’re sort of slightly confused and wide eyed to the world, whereas Armie [Hammer’s character Oliver] is a bit more knowing about himself and less mysterious in a way. I'm drawn to Elio, who just seemed more natural of a subject.
What was your mindset when you decided you were going to paint Elio and the particular scene in the film it captures onto a shirt?
I took a while to work out what style to paint it in. I could’ve done it in different colors, but I decided to keep it really simple. Actually, when I spoke to James Ivory about Timothée, he told me that Timotheé was playing himself, really, in the film. He’s actually just like Elio in real life, which made sense because Timothée is in this moment in his life where he’s really famous and he’s a sort of like a teenager in some ways. He’s a young guy who’s moving into adulthood and responsibility. You can see him being awestruck in this transition.
How did James Ivory come into the picture?
I mean, I just made the shirt for myself. And then I showed a friend of mine, Xavier Soloman, my shirts, and told him to go and see this film and he told me that he’d actually been to the premiere a couple weeks before and that he was friends with James Ivory. And I was like, Wow, I'm really jealous (laughs). And then when I saw Xavier in London before Christmas, I was wearing one of my shirts and I asked him if he could show James Ivory the shirts. So he took a photograph and sent it to him. Soon enough, he replied, saying he really wanted one and [asked] where could he get it. I told him I could make him one—and then I’m also secretly thinking, “Oh, maybe he’ll where it to the Oscars.” And then the next day came, and this message said, “Actually he’s going to need one on a tuxedo shirt to wear to the Oscars in case he gets nominated,” and then he actually got nominated and that’s how it started. I’ve been talking to him since Christmas.
Timothée took a picture with Ivory while he wore that shirt. Was that a big moment for you?
Yes, it’s an amazing thing to see these stars with my shirt. It seems unreal. I’m just overwhelmed.
Have you gotten a lot of offers for the shirt already?
I have had hundreds of offers online and I haven’t quite worked out how to do it. I think I’m going to do a tee shirt first which would be printed. And I also might do handmade ones people can commission, and they would send me a shirt. I haven’t worked out the details of how much to charge.
I’ve gone through your Instagram, and you seem to have a keen eye for the delicateness of human bodies and objects. What’s next for you as far as your art is concerned?
I just want to continue doing my drawings. It’s just quite natural. It’s kind of a organic process. I’m doing a show in Bristol and I’ve been asked to show my other shirts in Paris in April, which is quite fine.
Xavier wants me to do a drawing of Timothée, and I’d like to do some more drawings of Timotheé and hopefully meet him so I can draw him directly.
I hope that happens for you. I’d love to see it.
I know James Ivory has asked him if he’d model for me and he seems keen, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see what happens.
What was your favorite scene in the film?
I like the scene at the war memorial, because it’s actually one really long take from the moment they arrive on the bicycle, and they walk and talk around the memorial and then they go off. I’m really impressed by how they conducted that take. I’ve seen it about five times and I keep seeing new details in the cinematography and the acting, especially in Timothée’s face, emotionally, the changes he makes.
I find that quite fascinating—he is in this transition, moving from innocence to experience in these public areas.