Descendants Series

THE UNNOTICEABLE LUXURY OF THE STYLE OF THE HEROES OF THE SERIES DESCENDANTS

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29th May 2024 | 2 Views

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In recent months, during the release of new episodes of the show “Descendants,” accounts dedicated to the clothes of the main characters have become very popular on Instagram, and on TikTok they have been talking about a nondescript accessory – a baseball cap, which has taken over the wardrobes of the characters in the series. Fans of “Descendants” have been carefully following the evolution of the style of the Roy family and their immediate circle for three seasons.

A sort of modern Shakespearean tragedy, the HBO series follows business tycoon Logan and his children, most of whom seek to gain control of their father’s company, Waystar Royco. In addition to psychological intrigue and brilliant dialogue with biting jokes and endless subtext, the show gives a clear insight into the clothing style preferred by America’s biggest billionaires. Let’s figure out how the fashion of the super-rich differs from the rest of the industry and what the images of employees and owners of a giant media corporation symbolize.

THE DESCENDANTS SERIES: ANONYMOUS HIGH-END FASHION

In many series, the elite of society dress in exotic furs, the latest collaborations with loud logos, and diamonds the size of coins. But the Roy family members are above such a wardrobe. On a normal day, their dress code suggests maximum inconspicuousness: over the course of three seasons, we watch the main characters relax on yachts, fly on private jets, attend weddings in Scottish castles and Tuscany, while wearing clothes that at first glance look completely ordinary (but actually has a shocking price tag).

Descendants costume designer Michelle Matland characterizes the Roys’ style as “anti-glamour” – and the head of the family, Logan, adheres to this philosophy more carefully than anyone else. Although his clothes look restrained and minimalist, they are all made to order: Manhattan tailor Leonard Logsdale is responsible for the individual cut of each suit (he also made suits for Leonardo DiCaprio in the film “The Wolf of Wall Street”). Other essential pieces of Logan’s style include shawl-neck pullovers and minimalist baseball caps (we’ll talk more about those later). This style says: when everyone already knows that you are a billionaire, you don’t need your clothes to scream about it.

Other characters in the series also prefer plain shirts, sweaters and T-shirts without any identification marks. It may be difficult for the average viewer to recognize items from Tom Ford, Max Mara, The Row, Maison Margiela, Ralph Lauren or Gabriela Hearst in modest images. This is where active fashion lovers come to the rescue, wanting to share their knowledge with other Descendants fans. Starting from the second season, accounts began to appear on social networks (the most popular of them, @successionfashion, has already gained more than 34 thousand subscribers), carefully documenting the clothes appearing in the show.

29 episodes of the series “Descendants” showed what “billionaire normcore ” is and how real luxury consumers dress, who give their father-in-law a Patek Philippe watch for his birthday and carry Montblanc pens in their jacket pockets. The characters’ wardrobe clearly demonstrates that wealth does not equal style, and the characters are far from the world of haute couture: fashion is by its nature ambitious and progressive, while the members of the Roy dynasty, led by their patriarch, strive only to maintain the status quo, because they have and so everything you can dream about is already there. This explains the choice in favor of hyper-luxurious, but inconspicuous brands, which sharply distinguishes the show from more commercial HBO series like Gossip Girl, where you can see a Louis Vuitton handbag or something from the latest Balenciaga collection in the frame. .

HIGH-PROFILE EXCEPTIONS

The style of most of the characters in the Descendants series is so imbued with anonymity that any appearance of an obviously branded detail instantly stands out from the overall picture. It’s no wonder that when Kendall decided to wear a Gucci UFO bomber jacket and Gucci Flashtrek sneakers to his birthday, Highsnobiety devoted an entire article to the event.

Other standout finds from the series include a geometric Prada sweater, another Gucci bomber jacket (reversible this time), an Hermès Birkin handbag , a handmade pendant from Rashid Johnson, and Gucci Ultrapace sneakers.
Most of these decisions belong to Kendall, who in the new episodes is trying to rethink himself as a “defender of liberal democracy.” But the beginnings of his desire to be trendy are found from the very beginning of the show. So, in episode 8 of season 1, Kendall buys “stupid sneakers,” as he calls them, from Lanvin in the hope of impressing representatives of a youth art startup. While most of the time viewers don’t know whether characters choose their clothes themselves or hire stylists to do the work, Kendall often directly reveals that an item was a conscious decision.

By opposing his father, Kendall does everything so that the world sees him as younger and completely opposite to Logan. Despite the fact that he does not abandon his elegant looks (mainly in brown shades and from the Loro Piana brand), for public appearances he every now and then turns to more informal and progressive suits. For her TV appearance, Kendall opts for a casual look, consisting of a red-brown zip-up corduroy jacket, jeans and sneakers. And at an event with a strict dress code, he appears in a glossy dark suit with an Ai Weiwei pin on his lapel, associating himself with the Chinese artist and activist.

Kendall also surrounds herself with younger, more stylish people. First of all, this is his girlfriend, Naomi Pierce – the heiress of the Pierce Global Media company, with which the Roys tried to conclude a deal in the second season. Naomi, perhaps, can be called the most unambiguously fashionable character of the entire series: this is evidenced by both her stylish short haircut and monochrome outfits with metallic accents (as well as articles and numerous posts on social networks about the heroine’s costumes that appeared after the release of each episode of “Descendants”).

Naomi comes to Kendall’s “ops center” (his ex-wife’s apartment) in a black jacket with gold buttons from Celine, Feel Studio jeans and mules, dresses up for a party in a black and white Marina Moscone top and a wide necklace, and for Kendall’s birthday she chooses leather trousers and a black top from Proenza Schouler, unbuttoning a few buttons for a more relaxed look. Unlike Kendall, whose desire to dress stylishly looks too forced, Naomi manages to do it completely at ease.

CLOTHING AS AN INDICATOR OF STATUS IN THE SERIES “DESCENDANTS”

In addition to being an indicator of financial well-being, the style of the characters in the Descendants series is also personal and political in nature. Each character’s style of dress indicates their position in relation to patriarch Logan Roy, as most of his children compete to become the next head of media conglomerate Waystar Royco.

Attentive fans of the series on social networks noticed that in one of the episodes, Logan’s only daughter, Siobhan, changes her wristwatch three times over the course of two scenes. In general, the costume remains the same, but who Shiv is talking to at that moment changes – and this change of hours shows the dynamics in the distribution of forces.

The youngest son of the head of the dynasty, Roman, prefers a restrained and at the same time relaxed style, rarely agreeing to ties and blazers. His clothes convey a desire to show his father that he’s calm, collected, and at ease, but in reality, he’s the one who cares most about Logan’s approval. Much like his position in the struggle to control the company, Roman’s style remains static throughout the series.

In contrast, Kendall’s image changes greatly depending on his position in the family hierarchy. He uses clothes to express his emotions. After the dark finale of the first season, Kendall prefers a dark palette – grays, blacks, a departure from the past crisp white shirts, which returned to his wardrobe only after the confrontation with his father.
Characters on the show’s periphery, like eldest son Connor and his companion Willa, look as out of place as their clothes. Connor’s plaid shirts, pastel sweaters and soft vests show a lack of hostility and desire to get involved in the corporate affairs of the family business. And long floral dresses with prints in the style of the American prairies give Will away as an outsider.

HOW THE IMAGE REVEALS AN OUTSIDER

As perpetually perplexed Cousin Greg begins his first day at Waystar Royco, his boss and Logan’s brother-in-law, Tom Wamsgens, asks him some tough questions: “Sorry, but are we having a conversation on the deck of a majestic schooner? Can you see the salty spray of the surf on my weathered face? No? Then tell me, why the hell are you wearing canvas shoes? This dialogue says a lot not only about Tom himself, but also hints that fashion is important in this series.

From the very beginning, Cousin Greg demonstrates a complete lack of any work skills, which is a metaphor for his distance from the Roy family. While Kendall and Roman sit in executive meetings in their $5,000 suits, Greg, wearing a cheap jacket, is stuck in a low-level job in the theme park department, serving Tom Wamsgens.

Tom himself, being Shiv’s husband, despite his desire for wealth and power, also remains an outsider. He tries his best to fit into the tight circle of the Swarms and earn Logan’s respect, but instead he is constantly humiliated, ridiculed and made a scapegoat (by both his wife and her entire family).

In an interview with Variety, Michelle Matland explained how Wamsgens’ wardrobe reflects his black sheep status. “He’s just not equal to the people he competes with. He sees it almost as a competition,” said the costume designer. – “He is a very smart person. But he grew up in a not very rich family. He was not raised like them. Therefore, he can be called a pretender. With his clothes he only creates the appearance of a high position. It’s as if she’s lying on top of him, rather than sitting organically on him, as if she doesn’t belong to him.”

At its core, Tom’s formal looks are not much different from Roman’s or Kendall’s suits, but they are complemented by details that indicate excessive effort: highly polished shoes, perfectly ironed shirts, gelled hair and a handkerchief in his jacket pocket that matches his tie. It is no coincidence that both the Shiv brothers and the girl herself laugh at his suits, calling them too baggy and “rustic” (hinting at his rural origin). His attempt to ridicule Kendall, who came to disrupt the company conference, also looks comical – it is Tom who exclaims: “He’s not even wearing a tie!”, thereby showing how important appearance is to him.

James Lavine

@JamesLavine

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