Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, Jersey mob acting capo
New Jersey, Fall 2002
Series: The Sopranos
– “No Show” (Episode 4.02, dir. John Patterson, aired 9/22/2002)
– “Whoever Did This” (Episode 4.09, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 11/10/2002)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
Happy birthday, Michael Imperioli! Born 54 years ago today in Mount Vernon, New York, the actor won an Emmy Award for his role of hotheaded Christopher Moltisanti on HBO’s The Sopranos.
With Paulie Walnuts out of commission while he serves a jail sentence in Youngstown (in fact, actor Tony Sirico was out for the first half of the fourth season due to back surgery), Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt) breaks the news to the Soprano family—somewhat begrudgingly—that Christopher has been chosen to temporarily take over as capo of Paulie’s crew.
“That’s the way certain people want it and we trust there will be no ill will,” Silvio explains to his fellow mobsters, though he may be feeling some resentment toward the increasingly empowered young man himself.
Unfortunately, if there wasn’t any ill will before, Chrissy definitely stirs some up by letting the position get to his head, spending much of “No Show” (Episode 4.02) condescendingly telling more experienced mobsters like Patsy Parisi (Dan Grimaldi) to “use your head”. The smug acting capo’s arrogance comes to a head moments after his suggestion of a starting a poorly conceived rap career when he makes the equally poorly conceived faux pas of attempting to extend an intimate moment with his girlfriend Adriana (Drea de Matteo) to her friend Danielle (Lola Glaudini)… who’s secretly an undercover agent with the FBI.
Of course, the longer than the coked-up couple fights about it, the manipulative mobster manages to spin the story and convince Adriana that it was Danielle making a move on him, again invoking his condescending “use your head” expression for the second time not just in this episode but while wearing this outfit.
Christopher: Use your head, huh? What do I want with that skank when I got you?
Adriana: You were sayin’ she had a nice ass.
Christopher: I was tryin’ to say somethin’ positive ’cause she’s your friend!
What’d He Wear?
“First thing I’m doing is getting wings in my hair… You know, like Paulie,” Christopher jokes to Silvio. Joking aside, Christopher’s style does evolve in his new position of leadership not toward Paulie’s pressed silk tracksuits with suspenders and white plimsolls but toward his mentor, Tony Soprano, with his black leather sport jacket and dress shirts.
In two episodes across the series’ fourth season, Christopher dresses in a black leather single-breasted jacket that, for the sake of brevity and in accordance with common marketing shortcuts, could be called a leather blazer or sport jacket. The jacket has peak lapels that roll to a two black sew-through buttons. Like a conventional suit jacket or sports coat, it has a welted breast pocket and straight flapped hip pockets, though the short-vented cuffs have no buttons.
For the jacket’s most prominent screen time in “No Show” (Episode 4.02), he wears it with a plain white cotton shirt with a point collar, breast pocket, and a front placket worn with the top three buttons undone, showing off his chest and the gold religious pendant—perhaps with a likeness of St. Christopher—that he wears on a thin gold necklace. While this white shirt is already a surprisingly dressy choice for this outfit, the double (French) cuffs push it into excessively formal territory, though they provide the opportunity for Chris to show even more gold via his set of textured square links.
The grid-like texture of Christopher’s gold cuff links coordinates with his yellow gold 18-karat watch. “The Cartier?” Adriana asks when Christopher complains that his watch was stolen in “The Strong, Silent Type” (Episode 4.10). She could have been a little more specific as Christopher wore a different Cartier every season, aside from the second season when he sported a Rolex Datejust.
Having worn two Cartier Tanks and a gold Pasha toward the end of the third season, Christopher graduates to a distinctive Cartier Pasha Grid, so named for the golden grid over its round cream dial. The 38mm watch is strapped to his left wrist via a gold five-piece bracelet with a double deployment clasp. He would continue to wear the Pasha Grid for the majority of the fourth season until it’s indeed stolen and never seen again. His final Cartier timepiece, a stainless Roadster Chronograph, would appear on his wrist throughout The Sopranos‘ sixth and final season. (Got $10,000 to spare? Check out this 2000s-era Cartier Pasha Grid for sale via The Real Real, discounted from the original retail price of around $31,000!)
“Like your pants. Leather?” he asks when flirting with Danielle at the Crazy Horse. Luckily, he didn’t see the need to match his coat with a leather bottom half, instead wearing a more traditional pair of black slacks. Of course, his belt and derby shoes are black leather, coordinating the gold squared single-prong belt buckle to the rest of his jewelry and accessories.
“A look? So now you’re a fuckin’ mind reader now?” he condescending says to Patsy from behind his sunglasses regarding his supposedly subconscious decision to ask Vito and Patsy to hijack from a construction site. With their narrow rectangular lenses and thin black metal frames, the sunglasses are typical for fashions of the early 2000s and, though their popularity has waned in recent years, prominent eyewear brands still issue sunglasses with this style such as the Ray-Ban RB3534 (via Amazon or Ray-Ban)
Chris’ black leather sport jacket briefly shows up again when consoling Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) after his son’s accident in “Whoever Did This” (Episode 4.09). Perhaps apropos the mournful occasion, Chris opts for a more funereal all-black ensemble that swaps out the “No Show” white shirt for a black mock-neck T-shirt, not unlike something that would, again, be found among Tony Soprano’s wardrobe.
When he’s officially promoted to capo at the start of the sixth season, Chris has lost some of his youthful swagger and ditched the leather blazer that went with it. In its place is a (mostly) sober man in a series of tasteful sport jackets, graying at the temples with a kid on the way, who has matured his moviemaking dreams from screenwriting and acting into the more realistic prospect of producing.
What to Imbibe
Like Tony Soprano at the track a few episodes later, Christopher grabs a bottle of Cristal champagne to celebrate his new promotion in “No Show” (Episode 4.02) with Adriana and the woman he knows as “Danielle”. It’s a good thing Chrissy likes the stuff because he ends up with Cristal all over him when Adriana throws her drink on him after he makes a move on Danielle.
While a history enthusiast like Tony may appreciate Cristal for its pedigree as the official wine for the Imperial Court of Russia, the younger Christopher likely prefers it for its rap prestige as celebrated by Jay-Z in tracks like “Brooklyn’s Finest” feat. Notorious B.I.G. and “Excuse Me Miss” feat. Pharrell Williams.
How to Get the Look
The black leather blazer suggests a mobbed-up connotation, so it’s no surprise that Christopher Moltisanti—a hothead that we’ve observed yearning for underworld fame for four seasons—chooses to wear one after receiving a swift promotion in the fourth season of The Sopranos. Though he wisely balances the jacket’s relative flash with a toned-down white shirt and black trousers, he dresses the look intentionally to show off his gold jewelry and accessories that signal his success.
- Black leather single-breasted 2-button sport jacket with peak lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, and short-vented cuffs
- White cotton dress shirt with point collar, front placket, breast pocket, and double/French cuffs
- Gold textured square cuff links
- Black flat front trousers with belt loops and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black leather belt with gold squared single-prong buckle
- Black leather derby shoes
- Black socks
- Thin gold necklace with a round gold St. Christopher medallion
- Cartier Pasha Grid 18-karat yellow gold wristwatch with a gold grid over a cream-colored dial on gold five-piece bracelet
- Black-framed sunglasses with rectangular dark green lenses
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the entire series.
Use your head!