Are you familiar with The Hour?
It’s a drama series starring Ben Whishaw (whom you might have seen in Skyfall) as Freddie Lyon, Dominic West (aka Jimmy McSmutty from The Wire) as Hector Madden, and Romola Garai as Bel Rowley.
The Hour is the news magazine that the main characters write, host and produce for the BBC.
The first series aired on BBC Two in the summer of 2011, and I while I don’t agree with the claim that it was the BBC’s own Mad Men, I liked it a lot.
The second series started on BBC Two last Wednesday, and yours truly rushed home to make sure I could watch it live instead of replaying later, something I don’t ever do anymore. You see, this year I am paying attention to the fashions a lot more than I was last time.
Apologies for the quality of the pictures, they are simply screengrabs from iPlayer, but I hope they show how pretty these outfits are.
Also, a quick disclaimer: I know naff-all about fashion history, my history is sketchy and my sewing terminology is worse. If you would like to correct, suggest or point, please leave a comment!
Series One takes place during the Suez Crisis in the Autumn of 1956, and Series Two starts (we are told) nine months later, therefore some time in 1957.
Let’s start with The Hour’s producer Bel Rowley, played by Romola Garai. Here is what she wears at the start of Series Two:
I am biased here, as this is of one my favourite shades of my favourite colour. But even if blue is not your thing, are you in love with that collar yet? I literally swooned when I saw it, thinking about whoever pressed them into oblivion. Amazing.
I couldn’t get a decent screengrab of the dress, but I promise it’s got even more awesomeness going for it.
Check out those adorable darts on the skirt! I can’t work out whether it has pockets or not but I have decided in my head it does. Because this dress is perfect, my friends.
The following day, Bel shows up for work in a shade of red that I find quite orange:
Again, a lot of loveliness at the neckline! Love the asymmetric detail. It’s a skirt suit, as you can see in the editorial meeting:
I love the slight flare at the bottom of the jacket, although I have to wonder whether it would flatter someone who isn’t as slim as her.
Incidentally, this also happens in the editorial meeting:
Ben Whishaw. Wearing a suit. Sporting a beard. Doing a smirky face. I need to find my defibrillator in the shed and have it handy for episode two later tonight.
When I recovered from Freddie Lyon’s appearance, I noticed the lovely blouse Bel is wearing with her red skirt suit:
My favourite part are these pleats (pintucks?) around the neckline:
The Hour pits different types of women against one another, just like Mad Men does. I like to think that the rift between those who stay at home and those who go to work is less deep these days, but anyone who’s ever heard women bitch about other women knows it probably isn’t so. At the opposite end of the spectrum from Bel and Lix Storm (Anna Chancellor), is Marnie Madden, played by Oona Castilla Chaplin. Here she is, at home waiting for her husband:
Is this skirt swoon-worthy, or is it swoon-worthy? At first I thought the waistband was cut on the straight grain, but upon further inspection it’s actually on the bias. I am not normally a fan of pink and black, a combination I normally find too tarty for my tasty, but I am awash with beauty watching this.
Incidentally, this being the Fifties, it’s a Circle-Skirt Fest! They are everywhere, to the point that you might get dizzy watching this! Here’s my favourite from this episode. Apologies for the poor quality of the picture:
There are also other gems dotted around the episode. This is one of my favourite. How do you convey that we are in a dodgy part of London? A man in a pork pie hat and a woman with -shock horror!- mismatched prints! And leopard!
Episode two is on tonight and I am looking forward to more awesome fashion to swoon over!
Disclaimer: All images remain copyright of their original owners and are used here for the purposes of discussion and review.