The recent show Patrick Melrose presented by Sky, in my book was a triumph of film making (or tv show-making?). Bursting at the seams with an incredible cast including Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Heritage Bundersnatch), Hugo weaving, Pip Torrens - One of the most underrated actors in television at the moment, who stole the show every time he came on screen- and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
But more importantly what stood out to me most was the attention to detail with regards the costumes.
This is why under normal circumstances, we should forgo the pleasure of making the shows in the UK. We should in fact leave it to the Americans... (But of course, with British actors). Half of their culture is based on the grander narrative of film, the American dream, Hollywood, Film noir and so on. It’s their thing, and as much as I hate to hand it to them... they are bloody good.
Admittedly some of the greatest actors to have crept the boards so to speak are British, but we really haven’t got the hang of production at least the same way the Americans have.
At least the BBC haven’t, take any show; Luther, the body guard, etc etc. and you have a seemingly perfect cocktail. Brought down by sometimes bad writing but more so I believe bad costumes.
Given that film and television are inherently visual mediums shouldn't we pay more attention to what goes on to the screen versus what we hear? (or at least as much as).
There seems to be a strange illness which only seems to affect British costume designers who probably believe they are being gritty, and perhaps they would be if they didn’t have such bad taste. Which makes them get so close to the mark yet fall short and miss it completely. I mean how often can you think, “right he’s a bit edgy but not too edgy… it’s gotta be a Barbour jacket,” give me a break.
There is something so off the hangar which seems to come across as absolute carelessness, yes, they are presenting people but in the end, we don’t want to see real people do we…
If we did I would walk down my road and sit at the bus stop next to Morrisons, (which to be fair is a hoot).
But it just destroys the magic of TV when. All I am thinking about is why pick that bloody piece for the character. Most of the time it seems like they have done the very British thing of knowing what they want and then gone down the high street for it to save some cash.
What productions should and most of the time do, do, is have everything made so they have a hand in the actual design process.
Anyhow as per usual I digress.
Patrick Melrose… or rather David Melrose (Hugo weaving), perhaps the most hideous sadistic villain to have refracted through our screens on to the walls of our living rooms in recent memory. Who really does makes one’s skin crawl and wince at the thought of every scene he's in.
But damn is his Pyjama game on point.
As it’s getting colder and like me, you have a hatred of all things double glazed, you’re going to need to have something elegant and substantial to keep you suitably comfortable. This I might add for clarity, does not means a dinner jacket onesie for those reading from their Durham or Oxford Brookes student halls.
Jim jams are in my book an essential, I hate sitting on the sofa in the evenings fully clothed in whatever I had been knocking around in that day. And I equally hate what some members of society refer to as sloppys. I have no sloppys and never wish to.
Two-piece matching pyjama sets are the solution and an excellent one at that, paired with a heavier perhaps quilted lined dressing gown, and if you really want to commit; throw in a pair of velvet slippers, the louder and brighter the better. I really want the coral coloured ones the pope cuts about in.
As it is a form of evening wear; the time a man can really engage with fabrics such as silk and velvet in dark and vibrant hues. Patterns are key to the whole shenanigan, the grail Pj’s in my mind are a dark navy, silk polka dot, two-piece. Variations on which you can find at Derek Rose who are my go-to.
New and Lingwood however take the crown for dressing gowns located at the Jermyn street end of Piccadilly arcade their windows are awash with exotic prints and luxury fabrics. In particular the stalking leopard lined velvet dressing gown, and the jade dragon unlined silk dressing gown for the warmer months.
And of course, no pyjama filled evening (and or party) is complete without an obligatory night cap (a beverage mind, not scrooges cone hat).
Words by Tom Heap