I have a new style crush – The Hour, a new BBC drama starring Dominic “McNulty” West and Romola “her that wasn’t Keira in Atonement” Garai. Yes, there are a lot of comparisons with Mad Men, but it’s a fantastic show in its own right, and being set in 1956 London, barely out of rationing and in the publicly-funded BBC, means there’s a lot more quirk and ragged edges than you find in the ultra-slick Madison Avenue counterpart. The best part is that this series isn’t even about fashion – it’s about the shift in the purpose of television news around the time, where it went from being a government puppet supplying newsreels to a subversive, investigative element in its own right. It’s a riveting, wonderful show, and James is just as addicted as I am.
Still not interested yet? Well, you soon will be – American viewers, set your DVR of choice to record BBC America on 17 August at 10pm Eastern, because I have a feeling the style blogs are going to go nuts for this once it’s gone international (and UK viewers, you can watch the latest episode tonight on BBC2, or watch the previous episodes on iPlayer as it’s a series catchup show).
The thing I love most about the fashions on show here are that they’re not what you imagine 1950s fashion to be – this is as far removed from June Cleaver as you can get! Just like Mad Men changed our view of 1960s fashion from hippies and go-gos, The Hour takes us out of the mentality that the 1950s was all about Dior’s New Look silhouette. Think more British vintage style – impeccable pencil suits with nipped-in waists, stylish blouses and power dressing, plus a nod here and there to more noticeable 50s styles like the teddy-boy “Grease” look and even a Marilyn Monroe-a-like!
I’ve made a montage of some of my favourite looks so far in the first two episodes:
I’ve never been able to pull off a full vintage look, and I’m not sure I’d really want to, either. However, I love incorporating vintage styling and tailoring, colour palettes, and lush fabrics into my own sewing, and The Hour has given me plenty of inspiration along those lines! The colours have been especially vivid thus far – plenty of deep turquoise, royal blue, mustard, and claret red, and you already know my weakness for jewel tones already!
More importantly, I’m really jazzed up to make my trenchcoat now! Bel is wearing one in nearly every outdoor scene, and it just looks fantastic on her. I bought the waterproof gabardine, lining, hardware, and buttons in New York last year, and I was just waiting for the right time, so I’m definitely gunning for it after we get back from Budapest in September. That only leaves me, err, two months to narrow down my pattern choices, eek! I think I must have at least 50 trench coat patterns in my magazine archive…