8 TV shows where the fashion shines as brightly as the stars
Need some fashion inspiration to help rejuvenate your wardrobe? Look no further than these award-winning dramas.
When it comes to emerging fashion trends and glimpses of forgotten styles, perhaps no form of media offers such fertile ground for deep dives than that of television. From period pieces like Netflix's "The Crown," to modern, edgy thrillers like the BBC's "Killing Eve," inspiration for a wardrobe reboot is but a click away.
Below are some of our favorite series where fashion is just as important as the stories and characters playing out on the screen.
Michele Clapton, a three-time Emmy-winning British designer best-known for her work on HBO's "Game of Thrones," also lent her considerable talents to bringing to life Netflix's "The Crown." The series, which chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II, has sparked a revival of interest in British fashion from the 1940s and '50s.
As Clapton told Grazia Magazine, the designers created many of the costumes themselves using historical photographs for reference and accuracy. "We couldn’t solely use vintage because it’s so rare to find vintage costumes of that level of beauty you’d need for royals, and then they’d have to fit the actors," she said. "We decided really early on to make 80, 90 percent of Elizabeth’s wardrobe; it just seemed the best way forward. We had a really busy workroom from day one, making inspiration boards and working out the pieces that we might have to copy."
The impact of "The Crown's" style was palpable on the fashion scene, with Harper's Bazaar musing in December 2017: "Is Royalty-inspired Fashion The Hottest Trend Right Now?"
British designer Jane Petrie, who designed the costumes for season two of "The Crown," as well as previously managing the out-of-this-world designs for "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," says the response to Queen Elizabeth II's fashion sense is somewhat surprising. “It’s funny to say that [the Queen] would be a fashion icon because she has never followed fashion; she’s not a follower, she just is herself," she added.
'Jane the Virgin'
With an all-star cast featuring Israeli Yael Grobglas and Americans Gina Rodriguez and Andrea Navedo, "Jane the Virgin" caught the eye of fashionistas largely because of its practical, clean and colorful designs.
According to lead designer Rachel Sage Kunin, the series – which revolves around someone who accidentally becomes artificially inseminated – working directly with the actors and actresses helps to inform her creations. "My inspiration for the characters’ styles come from the script and getting the actors into the fitting room and collaborating with them," she told The Gloss. "The room changes when we find the right look for the character. For me it’s palpable."
For many, Jane's style has reaffirmed their own – with one Latina fashion writer praising the down-to-earth looks for bucking the over-sexualized designs often seen in telenovelas. "She isn't a caricature or a cliché," writes Mekita Rivas for Glamour. "And through her sense of style — which is largely unremarkable and isn’t a plot device on the show — I’ve finally found a Latina style role model who doesn’t just get me; she is me."
Hailed by Vogue as the "most fashionable show on television," the BBC drama "Killing Eve" is a dark thriller where the clothes play just as important a role as the characters wearing them. According to the British designer Phoebe de Gaye, the stylish assassin Villanelle, played by English actress Jodie Comer, uses high fashion to disguise herself.
"It was a good opportunity to develop that sort of chameleon quality she’s got, where she’s always keeping you guessing, and you can’t quite pin her down," de Gaye told The Ringer. "I wanted to try and get as many kinds of dramatically different looks for her as possible, so they were always very different."
Unlike other Hollywood female spies, Villanelle is notable for her choice not to blend in with the shadows, but to hide in plain sight with colorful and disarming outfits. After each successful hit, it's back to the store to peruse the latest styles. “That’s how she rewards herself for her kills," de Gaye added to Vogue. "She just goes out and buys something else."
The longest-running American live-action fantasy TV series in history, "Supernatural" has given fans plenty of scares and fashion inspiration over the course of its 14 seasons.
The show follows two brothers, played by American actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, as they travel across the U.S. investigating and fighting paranormal demons and angels. The series has also had its fair share of guest stars – including "The Walking Dead's" Jeffrey Dean Morgan, "Deadwood" star Jim Beaver, and Alona Tal, an Israeli actress best-known for her role on "Veronica Mars."
As for style, "Supernatural's" Winchester brothers generally prefer corduroy jackets, wool, plaid shirts, long-sleeved henleys, and other items that would fit right at home in an Eddie Bauer clothing catalog. The angels and demons, meanwhile, vacillate between chic and goth; with leather jackets, high-heeled boots and skinny jeans. With 14 seasons to pore over, you should be able to find plenty of divine inspiration for your wardrobe.
'Sex and the City'
Over the course of its six seasons on HBO, "Sex and the City" managed to both reflect and inspire the New York City fashion scene at the turn of the 21st century. According to Patricia Field, the American designer behind the series' iconic looks, making a mark beyond the show, however, was never her intention.
"I never really tried to consciously create a trend," the renowned costume designer once said in an interview. "All I really ever did was try to make things look beautiful and interesting and tell the story."
Some of the fashion statements made by Carrie Bradshaw, played by American actress Sarah Jessica Parker, that still echo today include a belly-baring crop top, the practical fanny pack and billowing tulle skirts.
“Wherever I go in this world, you know, people tell me they recognize me. They tell me how much they loved my work,” Field told Jezebel. “I see a lot of tutus and a lot of tulle skirts on every level from street fashion to designer fashion. I’m happy that people like what I do, and take it into their lives.”
From its perfect suits to plaids and go-go boots, the evolving fashion of AMC's hit series "Mad Men" was all brought to life by American designer Janie Bryant.
“For me, it’s about the script and understanding what the characters are saying to each other, what the setting is, what the mood or tone or feel of each script is and how I can help to tell the story of the characters through the costume design," she told The Huffington Post. "The point of inspiration starts with these scripts."
Bryant, who earlier won an Emmy for her work on HBO's western drama "Deadwood," is also notable for not only inspiring women's fashion but also men. Slim suits, skinny ties, and pocket squares were suddenly back in style. Even Banana Republic released a collection solely inspired by the series.
"That was an incredible part of the show, and I always felt like it was such a huge compliment that men were influenced by it," she told Vogue. "Even more so than women, because we as women change our clothes and change our fashion and styles all the time. And this was a show that really pushed men into experiencing that and having knowledge of how to dress."
'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina'
Based on the comic book series of the same name, "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" offers a darker take on the more kid-friendly 1990s series "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." While the style of dress is somewhat informed by the 1960s setting of the comic, Australian costume designer Angus Strathie revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the overall theme was one of "eternal autumn."
As for Sabrina Spellman, played by American actress Kiernan Shipka of "Mad Men" fame, that red coat she dons throughout most of season 1 (which, incidentally, has become a sought-after fashion item in the real world), was made to help her stand out in dark moments. "A lot of her scenes are in the forest and outside and we really wanted her to pop in the landscape," Strathie said.
Those looking to complete their fall wardrobe should binge "Sabrina" for ideas on everything from high-neck dresses to peacoats and colorful wool sweaters. And watch for one particular pair of killer shoes. “Madame Satan can run across a bumpy graveyard in Jimmy Choos with absolutely no problem whatsoever,” Scottish actress Michelle Gomez, who plays the villain, told Glamour. "She sleeps in her Jimmy Choos. I think she’s even had a bath in her Jimmy Choos. She just wouldn’t be seen without a perfectly poised ankle."
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
More than 20 years after Buffy Summers stabbed her first vampire in 1990s chic, the Internet is still bitten/smitten with this superhero's sense of style. The fashion of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" it seems is just as immortal as the undead she sought to defeat.
"I wanted things to be either the cutting edge of trends — starting the trend — or on-trend and, mostly, I just wanted things that we hadn't seen before," American costume designer Cynthia Bergstrom told Fashionista. "Also mixing the feminine with sort of the warrior-esque, slightly masculine aspect of her job as a slayer."
Trends started by "Buffy" that can still be seen today include the visible bra strap, ankle boots with chunky heels and – of course – leather jackets and low-cut tops. As Bergstrom notes, even the American brand Hot Topic sells a Buffy line of fashion inspired by the series.
"It was almost like she had her day looks and her evening looks: her school outfits and then her fight outfits," she added. "So she had a very distinctive look when she would fight and [it's] what I carried out through all the seasons I did."
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