A Study in Style: The fashion of ‘Peaky Blinders’

Guest contributor Rishi Soneji takes us on a tour through the stylish, sultry wardrobe of grit-and-grime crime series Peaky Blinders. He offers us a personal insight into the stylistic choices of the show’s costume designer and lets us delve into his own wardrobe by putting together an outfit inspired by the dapper-edginess of the gang. 

Peaky Blinders packs a punch. Whether it be in the contemporary indie-rock soundtrack, or the flawless dialogue, it is certainly one of the most stylish shows around today.

Set in the late eighteenth century, the show exhibits a range of absurdly sharp outfits, paraded by the magnificent cast.

Although I can’t say I’m living in the 1890’s, it hasn’t stopped me from drawing inspiration from the work of the costume designer Stephanie Collie (http://www.stephaniecollie.com/). Stephanie’s attention to detail renders the show both believable, yet up-to-date in its propensity to involve us in its complex storylines. Stephanie’s work resonates with the lighting, cinematography and music to present us with an embarrassingly cool array of shades and cuts that have a distinctive and memorable impact.

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Here we can see ‘Tommy Shelby’ (left) played by Cillian Murphy and ‘Ada Shelby’ (right) played by Sophie Rundle. We’ll start with Tommy. His contrast lapel coat, tailored waistcoat, gold chain and pleated trousers come together wonderfully. Ada’s detailed lapel, patterned gloves and gold rimmed purse combines three simple colours with elegance.

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Here we can see ‘John Shelby’ played by Joe Cole, portraying one of the younger members of the Peaky Blinders. With the signature hat, stunning two-tone penny collar shirt and suit with shortened lapel, John works a youthful and bold look, not to mention the perfectly folded pocket square in his left jacket pocket.

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Stephanie Collie mixes warm pastel tones with bold prints in this image to tell us everything she can about the characters. On the right is ‘Polly Gray’ played by Helen McCrory. She’s wearing a printed grey and off-white coat with a bold lapel. The coat cuts across the body and parts at the knees. The oval sunglasses add a further confidence to the look, correctly portraying Polly as a character not afraid of much at all. On the left is ‘Lizzie Stark’ played by Natasha O’Keeffe. She is wearing a trench coat with an open collar, and a navy cloche hat with silver detail. The looks are bold and perfectly executed.

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The Peaky Blinders costumes are timeless. They work with the narrative to speak for the characters, especially important in such an aesthetically prominent show. Stephanie Colie furnishes the style of the characters effortlessly. She adds an invaluable aesthetic quality to the show that should not go unnoticed.

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The outfit is comprised of black wide leg cropped trousers, brown brogues, a light brown shirt and a black coat. It is inspired by the classic looks from the show, such as simple yet stylish trouser lines. The brown/black combination also lends itself to the seriousness of the Peaky Blinders outfits. The black overcoat pulls the rest of the outfit together by providing a strong shape to the whole look. I draw inspiration from the simplicity coupled with often subtle detail; taking classic styles to a modern look.

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