Suit ability: Return of the Dark Knight

Image of Vanessa Friedman

Though he has kept a low profile since being accused of having incurred €4.9bn worth of losses through fraudulent trading, former Société Générale employee Jérôme Kerviel resurfaced in Paris on Thursday to meet lawyers in preparation for his trial, which begins next month. Hopefully, they advised him that a change of wardrobe might be a good idea for the courtroom.

After all, it was not perhaps the wisest move for a man contesting his depiction as the black sheep of one of France’s largest banks (he claims his supervisors knew what he was doing) to choose, for a rare public outing, an all-black outfit. From the open-neck shirt to the dark suit (not to mention cigarette) the look was more hip Hollywood gangster than wronged young financier – or, as he claims, scapegoat.

To the latter end, a baby blue or light pink shirt would certainly be more evocative of the “who? Little old me?” message, and a white shirt is a shorthand suggestion that one has nothing to hide. For that matter, adopting the general banking uniform of dark suit and red or blue tie would at least indicate someone who is trying to play, as opposed to subvert, the game.

By contrast, Mr Kerviel seems to be using style here to position himself as a sort of Dark Knight, exposing the underbelly of the system – though given that the Christopher Nolan film positions the titular character, Bruce Wayne/Batman, as a social and legal outcast, the comic book hero may not be the wisest sartorial, or strategic, reference for Mr Kerviel in this situation.

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