I have to say I have thought long and hard about writing this post. The Serpent is one of the most intoxicating and stylish programmes of recent times, shot in such a way that it actually looks like it could be a 1970’s original, and there is no doubt that the leads, Jenna Coleman and Tahar Rahim, as conman/gem dealer, Charles Sobhraj and his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc are both beautiful and oh so stylish. But the crimes they committed were amongst the coldest and most horrific you will ever hear about, so it feels awful to be sitting watching and thinking about Jenna’s (Marie-Andree aka Dominique) white kaftan.
The 1970’s often gets a bad press when it comes to fashion, with thoughts of acres of ‘brown’. garish kipper ties and platform shoes that verged on the ridiculous, but this is a bit of a disservice. The 70’s was the decade that saw the rise to prominence of some of the chicest of style icons, Jane Birken, Faye Dunaway, Bianca Jagger, Farrah Fawcett with her unmistakable haircut. Later we had Debbie Harry and Kate Bush at two ends of the music scale – looks that still influence style today. This was also the decade where Jackie Kennedy became Jackie O, complete with the large glasses, silk neck scarves and classic macs. The 1970’s had much to recommend it style wise.
Costume designer Rachel Walsh has taken elements from many of these icons in creating the iconic looks worn by Coleman. There is nothing garish or cartoonish about her wardrobe – you would beg, steal and borrow every single piece. The psychedelic prints bring to mind Gucci, the glasses are inspired by Jackie O with a bit of Ali McGraw thrown in, and the general impression is one of opulent luxe, with nods to the 70’s hippie trail thrown in for good measure.
The Serpent is currently showing on BBC 1 on Sunday nights, and you can binge watch the whole series in demand.