11/19/2014 07:58 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 05:59 EST

Fashion-forward Adrien Brody sports Dolce&Gabbana and period beard for Pirelli calendar launch

MILAN - Adrien Brody has long had a flair for fashion, but don't mistake the beard the actor is currently sporting as a bow to trend. It's for his latest movie role as Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in "Emperor."

The Oscar-winning actor told a black tie gala to celebrate the 2015 Pirelli calendar that he's "Charles V by day, Adrien Brody by night."

"Please excuse the beard," he added, perhaps unaware that beards have caught on in Europe's fashion capitals.

Brody, who wore Zegna to pick up his 2003 Oscar for "The Pianist" and has walked the runway for Prada, looked stylish in a dark Dolce&Gabbana three-piece suit with tuxedo trousers.

"I like to put on a suit once in a while and have fun," the actor said as he arrived to be master of ceremonies Tuesday evening at the globe-trotting annual gala, held for a second year in Milan.

The Pirelli calendar over the last half-century has become a highly prized cult object that counts among its recipients the Vatican, Buckingham Palace and the King of Morocco. The 2015 edition by reclusive fashion photographer Steven Meisel recreates stereotypical pinup images with top models scantily clad in latex.