Netflix have released a short featurette about costume design for The Alienist, giving an overall glimpse at the work of Michael Kaplan and his team in putting together the era of 1896, New York. What is enticing about The Alienist, apart from the fact that it’s brilliant whodunit telly, is that it is set outside of England, which is so often the preserve of dramas such as these. This is NY style at a point in history when those with money were about to get a whole lot more. Expensive, in other words, and if you had deep enough pockets your taste in fashion would echo this.
Check out the video below:
The Alienist takes place during the Gilded Age in the U.S. that covered around thirty years toward the end of the 1800s. It was a time of significant socio-economic growth, as reflected in clothing for both men and women. Hats were ornate and overstuffed, dresses were heavy and rigidly corseted, while suits were narrow and richly trimmed. In this video, costume designer Michael Kaplan also makes reference to the leg-of-mutton sleeves worn by Dakota Fanning as modern-woman-in-a-man’s-world, Sara Howard. He correctly observes that they were a relatively short lived trend, just a decade or less and then pretty much gone for good. There is also an interesting aside from Daniel Brühl who plays protagonist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler on how wearing certain period costumes can affect the way actors walk and hold themselves in their role. All in all a brief but worthwhile watch.
The Alienist is currently available to stream on Netflix.
© 2018, Lord Christopher Laverty.