Box-set dressing: now television is taking over the catwalk
Charlie Gowans-Eglinton on the hit series whose plotlines are influencing designers’ hemlines
As winter draws in, it is a strong will indeed that can resist the lure of an evening in front of the TV. And, frankly, with shows this good, why would you want to? The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale and Stranger Things II are all worthy of binge-watching, not just for the plot lines but for the costumes, too. If the spring/summer catwalk shows last month are anything to go by, we’re not the only ones that think so, with designers pledging allegiance to their series of choice. It’s common for fashion to nod to pop culture, but it’s rare that the references are quite so literal as what we have seen recently.
Welcome to box-set dressing...
When the stylised series The Handmaid’s Tale came out in April, it chimed perfectly with summer’s trend for modest fashion – hemlines es had dropped from above-knee to mid-calf, and dresses came with full-length sleeves. The launch of fashion e-tailer The Modist, focusing ing on modest dressing, seemed particularly timely, and Puritanical al dresses were everywhere from the e high fashion houses to the high street, from Valentino to Zara.
But last month’s Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s catwalk show w during London Fashion Week took k it one step further, as co-designers s Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thorntonn paired their signature lace and silkk dresses with bonnets – the modestt headgear worn by handmaids.
Even the colour palette of brightt white and blood red matched those e seen on screen: the letter As embroidered in scarlet on to said dresses were, of course, a reference ce to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel, notes of which are echoed inn Margaret Atwood’s dystopian future. re.
Meanwhile, over at Vera Wang, black bonnets recreated the lines of The Handmaid’s Stranger Things the handmaids’s own exactly, paired with black tailoring that hid hands and feet. This crossed a line from modesty into suppression but, just as in the show, there’s subversion in the severity of these designs – a jacket pulled off a shoulder, a long skirt slit to the thigh. Clearly Wang, a fan of the novel and its TV adaptation this summer, would like to rewrite the story somewhat.
A highlight of London Fashion Week was the Erdem show, which didn’t so much reference the Queen as offer a wearable, beautiful reimagining of her mid-century wardrobe. Already one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite designers, Erdem Moralioğlu sought inspiration from an infamous meeting between Queen Elizabeth II and American jazz pianist Duke Ellington in 1958; Her Majesty made such an impression that Ellington composed a suite of music for her.
It is this period of the Queen’s life that has been recreated in technicolour in the next instalment of Netflix’s glossy series The Crown. Series one covered the Queen’s coronation and early reign, finishing in 1955; the second will follow her to 1963.
The costumes for the series struck a balance between historical accuracy and on-screen glamour, something Moralioğlu echoed. Motifs from the Norman Hartnell-designed coronation gown such as the thistle and the rose were reimagined and red bows at the right shoulder emulated those the Queen wears to display her order brooches – but we doubt Her Majesty would opt for quite as much embellishment. But since series two launches on Netflix on Dec 8, perhaps we can be forgiven a little extra sparkle.
The strangest thing
It is saidsa that fashion treads the line betweenbetwe art and pop culture, and nowherenowh was that more apparent than at LouisLou Vuitton’s SS18 show. A model wearingweari a Stranger Things promotional T-shirtT-sh layered over a printed blouse and white trousers walked down the catwalkcat in the Louvre to close Paris FashionFas Week. It would seem that NicolasNi Ghesquière, the brand’s creativecr director, has been awaiting the second series of the Netflix sci-fi series,ser which saw Winona Ryder andan Millie Bobby Brown reviving EightiesEi fashion, as eagerly as the restre of us.
AndAn days before, Stella McCartney tippedtipp the show a wink in her own Paris Fashion Week show. Marc Jacobs was ana early adopter, showing oversizedovers corduroy jackets in his New York f fashion week show last February. With the second series due to land on NetflixNetfli on Oct 27, things are likely to get even stranger – or, at least, provide a timely Hallowe’en costume.
Life imitating art: London and Paris have seen fashions that seem to step straight out of, clockwise from left, Tale, TheeCCrowno aanddS