While fashion has long flirted with the 70s, often turning to the era for inspiration, it’s the latest BBC crime drama, The Serpent, that’s currently showing the glamorous and bohemian fashions off at their best. So much so, Jenna Coleman’s wardrobe as killer’s accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc is a masterclass in Seventies style. With online searches increasing daily for flares, trousers-suits and hair scarves, we take a look at the inspiration behind Monique’s wardrobe, and the key SS21 pieces to buy now.
At first look, The Serpent is simply the latest binge-worthy BBC crime drama series, tracing the real-life tale of Charles Sobhraj (Tahar Rahim), the conman and murderer who lured young western travellers to their death along the hippie trails in Thailand with help from his girlfriend, Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman.) But while the story is gripping, it’s the duo’s 70s fashion looks that are proving to be the most hypnotic. On the heels of the SS21 shows, where Seventies style reigned supreme, The Serpent’s looks offer a perfect mood board for influencing our own wardrobes this season.
With echoes of Bianca Jagger and Catherine Deneuve, plus a touch of Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy, Coleman’s wardrobe as Leclerc is a glamorous mix of jewel-toned tailored suits, oversized sunglasses and floaty geometric blouses and kaftans. For the show’s costume designer Rachel Walsh, the challenge was to use Leclerc’s style to tell the story of her journey from innocent young woman to accomplice. Even as her life with Sobhraj begins to crumble behind closed doors, to the outside world, she must present as her confident, model-esque alter ego, Marie-Andrée. Her lust worthy 70s wardrobe is part of her con, as she disguises her insecurity behind tight-fitting jumpsuits and low-cut maxi dresses — a nod to the decade’s wave of sexual liberation.
The 1970s were a period of several sartorial shifts — while it was the era that now-renowned designers Yves Saint Laurent, Halston and Diane von Furstenburg made their name, it was also the period that ushered in mass-market, trend-driven fashion. Women of the 70s had plenty of styles to choose from, ranging from the hippie style of Jane Fonda to the opulently glamorous looks of Diana Ross. For Leclerc, Walsh built a capsule wardrobe that mixes the decade’s sharp tailoring with its more bohemian styles, sourcing vintage blouses, dresses and jeans that she reworked to turn into bespoke pieces — Leclerc’s printed Hermès scarves and bug-eye Cartier sunglasses were replicas of originals, too.
Plenty of references to the 70s bohemian looks and masculine tailoring can be found in current collections, with Chloe, Miu Miu and Victoria Beckham all showing nods to the decade’s trends in their SS21 shows. Many of The Serpent’s outfits look like they could have been plucked off the Gucci Resort 2021 runway, a show which designer Alessandro Michelle confirmed was inspired by the decade’s period of liberation, with flared trousers, tailored jackets and vibrant geometric prints.