The suits of The King’s Man

Michele Clapton, whose filmography includes acclaimed titles like Game of Thrones designed costumes for the new film.
Still from Kingsman
Still from Kingsman

BENGALURU: A suit is the modern gentleman’s armour. And, the Kingsman agents are the new knights,” Harry Hart (Colin Firth), tells the newly recruited Gary “Eggsy” Unwin in the 2015 spy comedy, Kingsman: The Secret Service. If there’s one thing the Kingsman films have taught us, it’s that suits are more than just external clothing; they reflect the character’s psyche. And Michele Clapton, who designed costumes for the newest film in the franchise, The King’s Man understands this well. Sharing why the costumes play a vital role in the prequel, Clapton tells, “They are really important because they set the tone of the movie. Ralph Fiennes’s character as Orlando Oxford is very traditional and so it’s very period. And Harris Dickinson’s character as Conrad Oxford is the slightly more go-ahead, younger aspect of it.”

Elaborating on her approach to styling, she adds, “We found all these books when we were researching, which were fabrics from 1910. They were the old tailors’ books. I found them halfway through when we’d been buying all this fabric, and it was incredible—the colours and brightness—so actually we felt really confident that it could be that bright and that the suits could be lighter in that way.”

Michele Clapton, whose filmography includes acclaimed like Game of Thrones, The Devil’s Whore, and The Crown, is no stranger to period settings or the intricacies that are interwoven with such genres. In fact, the period in which the story of a film takes is a crucial factor for her to give a nod to the project. Her reason for her interest in The King’s Man is no different. “I was intrigued by this film being period. I prefer designing period films, so I was inquisitive about how that would be. I met Matthew and I liked his ideas of how he was going to treat it. He was taking it quite seriously and wanted it to be quite respectful to the period we’re filming in, which is obviously quite tragic, so I think that’s what pulled me in,” she says

Speaking about how she designed the Conrad Oxford, played by Harris Dickinson, Clapton says “I didn’t want him to be a sort of ‘Hooray Henry.’ It’s slightly more modern because he’s the young person that younger audiences will relate to. His suits are made by a modern tailor. They have narrow trousers and are high-waisted. The jackets were usually three buttons, cutaway, so you have that lovely length. And Harris is such a great clothes horse. When he walked through the door I thought ‘Oh, thank god.’ Sometimes a brilliant actor can’t be in the right shape for the period, and he was. So I said to the stunts, ‘Don’t make him bulk up! He needs to be slim. Please don’t make him too big.’ And they didn’t, actually, which is great.” “I was trying to look at characters from that period because then you glean more from them,”

Every detail counts. “We looked at lots of catalogues from that time. For instance, the sunglasses that Harris wears on the motorbike, we actually found evidence in the catalogues that they actually had that shape at that time. You wouldn’t believe it because they look so modern. But we were searching for things that could elevate his character a bit as well,” Clapton concludes.

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The New Indian Express