Money talks, wealth whispers.
No show embodies that adage better than HBO’s Succession, with sprawling Manhattan penthouses and dazzling superyachts serving as the backdrop to the life of the wealthy Roy family. The most notable display of the family’s wealth, however, is their fashion, with each character’s clothing telling a nuanced story of what they wish to present to the world and what they are trying to hide instead.
As Kendall (Jeremy Strong) bluntly states in the show’s most recent episode, he’s already rich. With nothing to prove when it comes to wealth, he often dresses in simple, well-tailored suits, complete with a $600 cashmere Loro Piana baseball cap or a chunky pair of Valentino Garavani sneakers to show off his pseudo- pissed off hip-hop lovers (hint its infamous L to rap OG).
Her outfits exemplify Succession’s signature understated luxury style: timeless, high-quality, well-tailored pieces with a sophisticated yet understated essence. Neutral tones and expensive materials reign supreme in this subtle display of wealth, rather than the recognizable logos and eye-catching jewelry that’s typically worn by the wealthy.
The fashion of the other Roy children similarly conveys aspects of their characters. Shiv’s (Sarah Snook) transition from soft silhouettes and jewel-toned knits at the start of the series to cooler colors and sharper pantsuits by season two parallels her descent into the trappings of family drama. Waystar Royco. Roman (Kieran Culkin) dresses in suits without a tie, demonstrating the illusion of carelessness he strives to cultivate.
Common signifiers of wealth like fancy cars, expensive coats, and fancy handbags are also noticeably absent from the show. Roys don’t drive, they are driven, so they don’t need a personal car, and with seconds spent walking between their office, car, and private jet, characters don’t know the elements well enough to deserve a winter coat. Likewise, helpers keep all important items to themselves, so bags and purses are not needed or even actively discouraged for characters. These counter-intuitive details are so accurately outlined thanks to guidance from the show’s own team of heritage consultants, a role revealed by Culkin in an interview with fellow actor Dan Levy.
When Greg’s (Nicholas Braun) date violates these unspoken rules in the recent season four premiere episode, she is mercilessly ridiculed by Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) for her ridiculously roomy bag which Tom says is quite large. to hold both a lunch pail and shoes to carry on the subway two experiences ridiculously below the level of the Roys.
Notably, Tom is the individual to raise this misstep not only because he learned the rules of wealthy society in his quest to join the ranks of the Roy family, but also because he is one of the few characters insecure enough to comment on others. fashion flaws. The intruder Tom’s journey is best tracked through his fashion evolution throughout the series.
Here’s the thing about being rich, nouveau riche Tom tells Roy’s cousin Greg in season one. It’s fucking awesome. It’s like being a superhero, only better. You’re wearing a suit, but it’s designed by Armani, and it doesn’t make you look like an asshole. If any of the real Roys heard that statement, they would ridicule Tom immediately. Teeming with effort, his fragile ego betrays him. He wears flashy Italian suits and exaggerated designer labels, puffy waistcoats and spotless shoes, all of which demonstrate Tom’s tremendous desire to look rich.
Unfortunately, this desire is precisely what exposes Tom as an outsider. Roman approaches him in season two, casually dropping the devastating line: Nice vest, Wambsgans. It’s so inflated. What is it full of, your hopes and dreams?
What Roman means, and what the whole quiet luxury trend really implies, is that this effort isn’t cool. The really rich don’t care about the conspicuous consumption of intruders and social climbers. Having the security and confidence to put in no effort or at least exercise your wealth with a little more subtlety is what sets initiates apart. This balance is what the Roy children are born knowing and what the imposters fail to understand.
Ultimately, succession fashion tells a story: who fits in, who doesn’t, and who does their best to work their way to the top of the heap.
Editor Stella A. Gilbert can be reached at [email protected].
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