The Gentlemen creates surge in sales for upper-class fashion | Fashion

Heritage checks and tweeds, sharp tailoring and expensive watches – shoppers are increasingly seeking to emulate the old money English upper-class style portrayed in Guy Ritchie’s hit Netflix series The Gentlemen.

How to translate the extravagant outfits worn by the characters in the nobility-turned-gangster caper to real life has sparked much discussion online, from the red velvet suit worn by Susie Glass, played by Kaya Scodelario, to Theo James as Eddie Horniman in three-piece tweed and his brother Freddy, played by Daniel Ings, in a hand-feathered chicken costume.

Pinterest has reported an increase in search terms such as “Theo James aesthetic”, “flat cap”, “tweed jacket outfit” and “vintage watches” in the week since the show was released. Asos has launched a guide on how to recreate the show’s style using its clothing, while the Savile Row tailor Henry Poole & Co has partnered with Netflix on cufflinks and a silk scarf.

Brands featured in the series say they have seen notable sales increases. Cordings of Piccadilly said it had had “a really positive effect”, with the Wincanton trouser suit worn by Joely Richardson as Lady Sabrina, and Follifoot coat worn by Ings’ Freddy, now on a waiting list. Clare Haggas, which supplied the printed scarves, has seen “an upturn in website visits and sales and new customers”.

Styles worn by Dan Ings as Freddy Horniman are in demand and causing an uplift in sales for brands featured in the Netflix series. Photograph: Pip/PR

The Gentlemen seeks to capture the class signifiers sported by the kind of people who inherit country manors. Though amplified in Ritchie’s signature style, foreign audiences have been surprised to learn that the traditional yet eccentric looks worn by the English aristocrats in The Gentlemen are not so far removed from reality – and a long way from quiet luxury.

Ings said: “The lovely guy who’s the real duke of the house, when we were shooting he would come down and have a look around and he was in the bright red cords and the checked shirt there – for sure I don’t think there’s anything in it, in terms of the Horniman clan and that fashion, which is so unbelievable.”

Loulou Bontemps, a costume designer for the show, said she had been inspired by “walking round London or the countryside observing people”, adding that she had selected “quintessentially British brands”.

“Anyone who lives in the countryside or knows someone with an estate or goes to one of their pubs has met someone like this, whereas Americans think it’s ridiculous. That’s something Guy is very passionate about: every story, although heightened and stylised, has to be believable. It was exciting for people to see a cool version of the assumption of how people who live in that world dress,” she said.

Ings said his character’s posh eccentric style communicated his “ultimate privilege”. “We were trying to give the idea of someone who wore traditional country gentleman checked shirts and woolly jumpers and colourful cords, but would wear them wrong. So like a flat cap on backwards, or walk around in his jammies with a vest out. So there’s a sense of laissez-faire, ‘I kind of know these are the rules but I don’t really give a fuck’.”

He added that he had a disagreement with Ritchie over the extent of his character’s flamboyance – notably the enormous fur coat he wears to an underground boxing match in the first episode.

“My feeling was [Freddy] would dress for those occasions the way he thinks people should look and he would get it wrong – the big sunglasses, the big fur coat, he’s like ‘I can come and hang out with the hoi polloi’ and Guy felt it was slightly too on the nose.

“Freddy would have seen Snatch and would dress the way Brick Top in Snatch would dress, and he was like ‘Brick Top wouldn’t dress like that’, and I was like ‘yeah, but Freddy doesn’t know that’. So the upshot of that is we went and tried on an even bigger fur coat. I ended up getting my way.”

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Dan Ings sporting Freddy’s hand-feathered chicken costume. Photograph: Christopher Rafael/Netflix

Bontemps and Ings agreed that for a director, Ritchie is strikingly interested in how his characters dress, and how colours, fabrics and style look on screen. “He cares an awful lot, and he knows a lot about it too, so when it comes to things like watches and sunglasses you’re not going to get away with anything,” said Ings.

Bontemps thought some of the interest in the outfits, many of which are vintage, reflected a growing desire for eco-friendly, circular fashion. “I think a lot of people you’ll see wearing more suits, making more of an effort, rather than purely streetwear – I think the new movement is in buying vintage and secondhand, finding things and tailoring them.”

The Gentlemen echoes the rarefied world of ancestral wealth and status portrayed in one of the recent films that has generated most discussion for its sense of style – Saltburn, which is also set on a country estate.

Helen Warner, an associate professor at the University of East Anglia who researches fashion in film and TV, thinks the codified style in The Gentlemen tells the story of “the idiosyncrasies of the British class system” through its “anti-fashion” approach where its characters opt for timelessness over trends, reflecting the privilege of being able to wear old clothes without risking appearing scruffy.

Paradoxically, she thinks the British aristocracy may be having a moment as a result of broader declining living standards. “I wonder if it might be a response to increasing wealth inequalities in our society,” she said. “There is a fascination with how those with power and money live their lives, because their material reality is so very different from the rest of us.”

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