Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Watson and her style

I have been watching Elementary this week. I bought the first season on iTunes and okay, I am obsessed with it.

Which actually surprises me.

I am a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan: Conan Doyle's stories and novels and the Basil Rathbone films... all great memories. I dislike the Robert Downey Jr. films, but obsess over the Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman BBC series.


I didn't think I'd like the Jonny Lee Miller/Lucy Liu series, given my suspicion of network TV. But this is fresh, well-written, and well-acted. And I do love Liu as Watson: it's a great twist to have her staged as Holmes' sober companion. Her knowledge parallels his and even adds to it.

I also love her style. She is a character who is an ex-surgeon, someone who lives in with her addict charges, who lives (as she says) as a kind of nomad while her own aparment is let out and her belongings are in storage.

Watson has a kind of sophisticated street style, one that suits the show's relocation to New York and the shooting schedule in wintertime. It looks simple, in fact, but clean and urban, and I love it.

Basic elements:
  • t-shirts or tunic blouses in tissue-weight material
  • narrow dark pants or tights
  • short, flirty skirts
  • coats of hip- or knee-length in wrap styles
  • hats and scarves
  • high-heeled boots, ankle-height or, occasionally, knee-height
  • cross-over purses or briefcase
  • layers, layers, layers
  • solids, stripes and plaids; rarely geometrical patterns

Basic colors:
  • clean, pure white
  • wine, military blue, pale violet, gray (all shades), and bitter-rind orange

Here are some bloggers who also talk about Watson's style:
The last of these talks about the original, iconic style of Sherlock Holmes also translated to Miller and Cumberbatch -- interestingly, I presented a conference paper in 2012 on the "iconic" style of Holmes which was in fact created by the actor William Gillette, the most famous early stage version of S.H., which in fact initiated the famous deerstalker, caped coat and meerschaum pipe... not Conan Doyle.

Of course, Holmes as the centerpiece has usually been the "fashion" focus of illustrators, movie and theatre costumers and actors. In the BBC series, Watson as played by Freeman is a bland kind of guy, wearing fairly boring jumpers and anoraks compared to Holmes' curls and scarves. In the CBS series, however, Holmes is a bit clothing-retarded, wearing the fashion stylings of chess club/AV nerds of stereotypes... which is impressive considering Miller's marathon-ready, tattooed physique.

But it is Liu's casual yet eye-catching gear that lends style to the show.

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