Ike’s Shark Gray Suit on Magic City
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Isaac “Ike” Evans, tough and shrewd hotel owner
Miami Beach, Spring into Summer 1959
Series: Magic City
– “Crime and Punishment” (Episode 2.01), dir. Clark Johnson, aired 6/14/2013
– “Adapt or Die” (Episode 2.03), dir. Ed Bianchi, aired 6/28/2013
– “…And Your Enemies Closer” (Episode 2.07), dir. Simon Cellan Jones, aired 8/2/2013
Creator: Mitch Glazer
Costume Designer: Carol Ramsey
In celebration of my friend and BAMF Style reader Eric’s birthday today, I wanted to pay tribute to the Magic City superfan by highlighting more of the magnificent mid-century fashions worn by Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), boss of Miami Beach’s ritzy Miramar Playa hotel.
Mitch Glazer’s stylish short-lived series aired on Starz for two seasons, set across the first half of 1959 against a backdrop of the Cuban Revolution’s aftermath unfolding across the Florida Straits. A former cabana boy in a Miami Beach hotel, Glazer had based much of the show’s intrigue and even specific plotlines from his own observations or stories he had heard about interactions between the Mafia and the CIA in the lobbies and lounges of iconic Floridian resorts like the Fontainebleau Hotel.
Despite his connections with gangsters and gamblers, Ike Evans is no mobster himself, striving for legitimate success as boss of the Miramar Playa. Yet, the start of the second season finds the hotel chief behind bars for murder charges. He soon receives his freedom from jail but must still vie with the powder kegs all around him from his ex-wife’s sophisticated sister Meg (Kelly Lynch) to his dangerous silent partner Ben “the Butcher” Diamond (Danny Huston), all while negotiating an opportunity to convince the Castro government that he’s well-suited to run casinos in Cuba.
What’d He Wear?
Introduced for the series’ second season is Ike Evans’ shark gray suit which, according to a Terapeak auction listing, had been the property of New York City costume shop Schneeman Studio Ltd. The suiting has a subtle sheen that suggests silk, possibly a worsted wool-and-silk blend, and a color consistent with his declaration in “Angels of Death” (Episode 2.02):
I build, I create… I am the fucking shark.
Ike’s gray suit is cut and styled like his other suits from the second season, all with single-breasted jackets rigged with slim peak lapels. Peak lapels have traditionally reserved for double-breasted garments, though the popularity single-breasted, peak-lapel jacket has cycled through menswear, peaking every forty years or so from its initial boom during the late 1920s and through the 1930s, again during the ’70s revival of Depression-era styling, and again during the early-to-mid 2010s when Magic City was in production, though it certainly was not unheard of for fashionable men in the late ’50s to have their single-breasted suit jackets styled with these double-breasted revers in a contemporary narrow width.
Shaped with front darts, the wide-shouldered suit jacket with its roped sleeveheads also has side vents, three-button cuffs, jetted hip pockets, and a welted breast pocket where Ike wears a straight “TV”-folded white pocket square. The suit jacket’s low two-button stance coordinates with the lower rise of his trousers, which are tailored to fit around Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s waist without belt, braces, or side adjusters, though this lack of a suspension system may also cause the trousers to sag to a lower rise than was commonly seen with late 1950s tailoring. The darted-front trousers have only an extended waistband tab on the front that, once pulled through a single belt loop, closes with a hidden hook closure.
Throughout Magic City‘s run, Ike Evans consistently wore white cotton shirts by Ike Behar, detailed with a spread collar and double (French) cuffs. Cuban-American shirtmaker Isaac “Ike” Behar had opened his first shirt factory in New York in 1957, expanding to manufacturing under his own private label in Miami 25 years later. Now, nearly forty years after the launch of the Ike Behar brand, the company remains under the solid management of his sons while Ike himself focuses his current efforts on his humanitarian works. Of the brand’s current offerings as of April 2020, the closest to what Ike Evans wore would likely be this “Ike by Ike” French cuff shirt in 100% cotton white mini-pique.
Apropos the shark-like color of his suit, Ike dresses it up to fulfill the image of the slick, imposing gangster, even if he does follow a more legitimate set of rules than Ben Diamond and those of his ilk. For each of this suit’s three appearances, Ike adopts the “white-on-white” shirt and tie that, when not worn by wedding grooms, maintains an association with the stereotypical movie mafioso.
In “Crime and Punishment” (Episode 2.01) and “…And Your Enemies Closer” (Episode 2.07), Ike’s off-white narrow silk tie has a barely discernible tonal geometric design woven throughout, each coordinating with the placement of black pin dots throughout the tie.
In “Adapt or Die” (Episode 2.03), Ike wears a richer cream-colored tie with an amoebic tonal texture. With both ties, he wears a slim gold-toned ridged tie bar that covers nearly the entire width of this latter tie.
Ike’s black leather shoes may be the same single-strap loafers that he also wears with his chocolate brown version of this same suit throughout the second season, a reflection of the relaxing sartorial norms for mid-century businessmen as slip-on shoes were becoming increasingly accepted with suits and ties in the American workplace. (For what it’s worth, YourProps displays a pair of black calf five-eyelet wingtip oxfords by Ferragamo from the series next to a picture of Ike wearing this suit, but the listing describes them as Morgan’s screen-worn footwear from the show’s first season rather than the second.)
Despite flirtatious interactions with Meg, Ike Evans remained one of the few faithfully married male protagonists during the peak of prestige TV (calling out Don Draper, Marty Hart, and Tony Soprano, to name a few…), wearing his gold wedding band on his left ring finger throughout both seasons of Magic City.
In his office, Ike wears black rectangular-framed glasses, an updated style from the semi-rimmed glasses he wore during the first season.
Ike’s black sunglasses have the classic trapezoidal frames introduced on the Ray-Ban Wayfarer in the 1950s. The iconic frame was patented by Bausch & Lomb optical designer in 1952 and officially introduced four years later as Ray-Ban’s entry into a world of mid-century design archetyped by “Eames chairs and Cadillac tailfins,” according to design critic Stephen Bayley. From the Herman Miller Eames chairs in his office to the cream-colored ’58 Cadillac Eldorado convertible he drives around Miami, Ike would feel right at home in a pair of slick wayfarer-style sunglasses.
During the series’ 1959 setting, Ray-Ban would have been the only likely purveyor of wayfarer-style frames and a natural choice for Ike, though competitors like Oliver Goldsmith and Polaroid were just warming up their Wayfarer-inspired designs. Today, there are scores of imitators of varying quality, though the quintessential wayfarer remains the original by Ray-Ban, now designated RB2140 (via Amazon or Ray-Ban).
After wearing a Longines through the first season of Magic City, Ike has a new gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox for the second season, most prominently seen in the final trio of episodes. The Memovox was a revolutionary timepiece when introduced during the fabulous fifties as the first automatic watch with a mechanical alarm function.
Ike’s 18-karat yellow gold Memovox has a silver dial with black numeric hour markers, the watch’s signature double crown, and a smooth black lizard strap. The circle in the center of the watch coordinates with the “Wrist Alarm” function that is set by adjusting the crown at the 2:00 position until the triangle on the rotating center disc is positioned at the time of the desired alarm. The 4:00 pusher is reserved for winding the watch and setting the time.
You can read more about the history and the operation of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox here.
What to Imbibe
Ike Evans is an avowed Scotch drinker, drinking Dewar’s White Label throughout the series’ first season and Cutty Sark on the rocks at the start of the second, so he must have been delighted when Meg handed him a dram of Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare Vintage single malt whisky, citing it as her father’s favorite.
How to Get the Look
Ike Evans may be a legitimate businessman with his hotel, but he’s genre-savvy enough to know that he’s dealing with shady gangsters and needs to dress like a man who can hold his own against them. He turns the trope of the gray-suited office drone on its head by sporting a shark-like with fashionable detailing like narrow peak lapels and a fitted trouser waistband and ultimately completing his mobbed-up image with a white-on-white tie.
- Shark gray worsted wool-and-silk blend tailored suit:
- Single-breasted 2-button jacket with narrow peak lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and double vents
- Darted-front trousers with fitted waistband, extended front tab (with hidden hook closure), side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- White cotton shirt with spread collar and double/French cuffs
- Cream tonal-patterned silk tie
- Gold center-ridged tie bar
- Black leather single-strap loafers
- Black dress shoes
- Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox yellow gold “wrist alarm” watch with silver dial on black lizard strap
- Gold wedding band
- Black acetate-framed wayfarer-style sunglasses with gray lenses
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the series, and follow my friend Eric’s @MiramarPlaya Twitter account!
What a fantasticly detailed post about Ike! Phenomenal as always…
Yes a wonderful coverage, Luckystrike. Maybe this Ike should have been President Ike! His method of distracting a thug despatched to kill him by handing him a cheque and then whacking him was masterful.
This is exactly what an elegant hotel owner would be wearing in that era. The peak lapels are a little like shark fins! No doubt who’s boss at the Playa Miramar. I’d hate having Ben the Butcher as a partner, though. And who knows? Now the Castros are off the scene, I’ve heard the current regime in Cuba is desperate for tourist dollars and is thinking of letting casinos open there. Perhaps Ike was ahead of his time.
I see your suggestion on the ike shirt is the mini-pique, but doesn’t that particular shirt have actual texture? From the screen grabs and stills oh, it looks more like standard cotton twill. I believe that particular shirt looks around $295 I believe. Although I could be wrong. Was just curious between all the offerings and inside information that you may have. Also wondering if you may suggest a close alternative to the shark skin suits that he wears, cannot seem to find the right color to match what I see on screen.