While Mad Men is still on hiatus, BBC America is serving up the next show—The Hour—to feature posh retro fashion. The British drama spotlights an investigative news team during the Cold War times in England. While Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, and Dominic West may be the stars of the show, ELLE.com got the scoop from the behind-the-scenes crew—specifically the show's costume designer, Suzanne Cave.
Cave explained her sartorial choices, and ELLE.com is premiering an exclusive sneak peek at her sketches, mood boards, and the outfits that will be featured on the series.
ELLE: What inspired the costumes for The Hour?
SC: My initial research began by watching British Pathe newsreels and TV shows of the period. I then looked at photojournalism of the time, along with magazines and films of the day. I also referenced cultural figures from different eras: the effortless cool of Jack Kerouac and James Dean for Freddie, the androgynous chic of Katharine Hepburn and Susan Sontag for Lix, the classic elegance of Grace Kelly for Marnie.
ELLE: How did you create the looks?
SC: All the costumes for the principal characters were made from scratch. I used tailors and makers that specialize in 1950s cutting and the men's shirts were made by a well-known London shirt-maker. I sourced accessories (jewelry, bags, hats, etc.) from vintage markets, in particular, a London-based monthly fair where all the dealers meet under one roof. The costumes worn by the supporting cast and extras were hired from several London-based costume-hire companies.
ELLE: What was it like working with the actors on The Hour? Did they influence you?
SC: They were a great cast to work with as they all had a real interest in how their costumes could help create their characters. I like to listen to what an actor has to say about their character because at the end of the day, they have to play the part and feel comfortable that the clothing rings true.
ELLE: How would you describe your experience working on the show?
SC: It was a truly creative collaboration where all departments worked closely together in creating the world of The Hour. It was also a real joy to immerse oneself in 1950s London, in particular the seedy underbelly of Soho's nightclub scene!
Watch The Hour Wednesdays on BBC America at 9pm ET.
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What did you think of last night's episode? Apparently the sixth and final episode will also air next week but on Thursday at 9 PM on BBC 2.