Clothes from 1837-1919,  Girls in Films,  Guys in Films,  Interviews,  News

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Costume Trailer Arrives

The first trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace and Jared Harris has hit the net. It seems on track with the first film; lots of action and banter, only this time grimy London has been replaced by snowy Europe. Jenny Beavan returns for costume design; the look is late Victorian with a twist.

A few interesting sartorial notes pop up, mainly attributable to ever dapper Dr. John Watson (Law), though we are given a glimpse of Sherlock Holmes’ (Downey Jr.) nemesis, Professor Moriarty (Harris). New love interest Sim (Rapace) only really gets to showcase a wide brim hat, fringed bodice and long, billowing skirts. Yet there is no mistaking her role in the film; they do not call them ‘gypsy skirts’ for nothing.

Nice to see the return of Watson’s brown bowler hat and the scarf is a fun addition. Not typically wool until the 20th century, in fact cravats were generally known as scarves until this time; if it appears homemade then this was intentional. As Jenny Beavan explains exclusively to Clothes on Film:

“The idea was that Mary had knitted it for him (Watson) and Holmes therefore absolutely hated it! I chose colours she would have thought he would like, and he loves it because she made it for him”.

The design is distinctive but not specific to any particular institution. “No school or university colours intended!” she adds.

Watson getting married in a vibrant silk stock, although eschewing a hat, while his bride Mary (Kelly Reilly) wears an ivory, long sleeve wedding dress edged in lace and full veil. Perhaps something involving Holmes and his cravat, an explosion and/or fight is either about to happen or already has..?

Holmes is in drag, which he claims is necessary, while Watson displays his customary tweed and stiff double collar with necktie. Watson is a somewhat ‘countrified’ gent in Ritchie’s vision, his attire semi-formal but suggestively ready for action.

Our first reveal of Moriarty; he is wearing a double breasted overcoat, likely of the Chesterfield variety, as based on a frock but for use as outerwear, possibly fur trimmed or concealing a scarf. Moriarty’s hat gives credence to the idea that a Victorian gentleman’s social standing could be told by the height of his topper. The next shot of Moriarty shows him in a soft collar, striped shirt and four in hand necktie. This would have been hugely forward thinking for the era – could it be part of a disguise?

Holmes looks uncharacteristically smart in a 3 piece, dogtooth check suit. Later we get a peep of his tweed suit with ‘cutaway’ (morning coat) front, or his jacket has got caught behind Sim’s elbow. That there are two buttons yet to be fastened would suggest the latter. Sim appears to have changed broomstick skirt at this point in the story, from burnt orange stripe to teal.

Who do these pumps belong too? Likely a waiter dropping glasses (possibly in 18th century period garb), though swap the buckles for satin bows and those shoes could be worn for strict male evening dress now.

Definitely Watson’s finest costume moment is this ‘slip on’ raglan sleeve raincoat, seemingly covering his Blues Patrol tunic from Sherlock Holmes 1. The coat appears to be gabardine, which would mean it could only have been made by Burberry, in the context of the film anyway, as they patented the cotton weave fabric and retained exclusive manufacturing rights until 1917. It is amazing how much this garment jumps out of the trailer. Jenny Beavan cleverly mixes old and new, modern and traditional to ensure these movies are era specific, yet easily relatable to a contemporary audience.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is released on 16th December.

© 2011 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.


  • Clare

    I’m not usually a fan of male costumes but I was blown away by Sherlock’s outfits in the first film. I hope they are just as good this time around.

  • Alessia Pelonzi

    I’m Italian, I have a degree in period costumes and I can only thank you for creating this wonderful website. The analysis of the clothes is absolutely perfect and costumers’ comments are very useful to understand what cannot always emerge from the cinema screen.
    Many thanks and congratulations! Keep it up!

  • Katt

    I love the ruffled, lavender,velvet collar that Kelly Reilly wore at the train station on the way to their honeymoon. Can you give me some insight as to how it was created and what was the inspiration?

    Thanks for giving us an outlet to show our appreciation for great costume design.

    • Chris Laverty

      Hi Katt. I’ll definitely be covering the film in detail, probably for the DVD release so I can see all the costumes up close.

  • André

    That orange handkerchef that Holmes is wearing looks like Cashmere to me, but I’d like to have the real answer for that. Who can tell me?

%d bloggers like this: