6 Jun 2013

1930's fashion in Agatha Christie's Poirot - part 1


"It is I, Hercule Poirot!"
One of my favorite tv series is Agatha Christie's Poirot. British actor David Suchet was a face of the master detective from the early 90's till now.
I read all of the books of Christie and loved the 20's-30's-40's setting for the detective stories starring Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. The little Belgian fellow Poirot with his famous moustache and French accent who proudly calls himself the best detective on Earth. He is a true gentleman, charming, elegant and well mannered, but can also be a bit egoistic and maintains a rigid daily schedule that often drives others crazy. He investigates and solves the cases through observation and with his 'little gray cells' as he calls his brain. Once he even solves a case without leaving his apartment! Intrigues, family secrets, secret love affairs, the world of the 'beau monde'... can one expect more?

Fun fact: To remain true to Poirot's mannerisms and speech, Suchet remained in character at all times on the set, even during breaks.
Throughout the seasons he consequently wears his 20's style, at some point quite old fashioned buttoned shoe spats and a flower broche which was a gift from a lady in his early years as a detective of the Belgian police. He leaves Belgium around WW1 and lives in London. Belgium is a small country and after arriving in England everyone mistakes him for a Frenchman.

Recently, while knitting I re-disovered the series, since there are quite a few episodes available on YouTube now. I fell in love with the costume designs. Pretty 30's dresses, hats, suits... Sadly I cannot discover who designed the dresses and there is no overview available. A lot of the costumes have very pretty details. Even the dresses and coats that seems 'plain' at first sight appear to have exciting details like embroidery, pintucks, ruches, and smocking in the close-ups.

I randomly picked one episode 'Hickory Dickory Dock' and made screenshots to show some of the clothes the characters are wearing. This episode (from series 6) is placed in the 30's, still the period of the Great depression (although you can spot some luxury evening dresses in the fashion show shot). Most dresses have the for the 30's typical calf-length skirts and geometric, art-deco-ish detailing around the neckline. There are 2-part suits as well and more accentuated shoulders what typical is for the late 30's, pre-war era.
The quality of the screenshots is not the best, but you get the idea.

A fashion show with evening dresses:

This dress has an interesting neckline with two fabric layers. On the left picture the ruche on the sleeve is visible, white on the inside and fashion fabric on the outside (this dress appears in just one scene and it is impossible to make good screenshots when someone is walking...

The blue dinner dress has a rather typical early 30's neckline while the right dinner dress with the gathered sleeves looks rather 40's, don't you think?

Miss Lemon, the secretary of Poirot prefers dresses with sloping shoulders and geometric, art-deco inspired motifs (her hairstyle is 30's as well)


Miss Lemon's pretty little crocheted bag appears in one scene:

Another suit with color accent and a (here rather invisible) matching green skirt:

Unfortunately this is the best shot of this beautiful blue dress, it appears in only one scene, filmed from this angle and from the back:

Miss Lemon again, wearing an apron for cooking. On her dress a nice smocked detail on the sleeves:


An adorable mint green knitted top and tucked details on the another green suit:


Late 40's style suit and skirt with pretty pintucks instead figure seams, unfortunately couldn't catch a better picture of it:


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