when Showtime and Sky Atlantic announced back in January 2016 that a new series of Twin Peaks was in production, fans of the original series rejoiced. Over 600,000 images from the Nineties original have now been shared and relived on Instagram, meaning that the cult following of the David Lynch-directed drama series is still very much alive in the social media age.
But what was so special about a TV show that was cancelled after just two seasons? It turns out that Twin Peaks mania was as much about the costumes, and the distinct visual world that Lynch and costume designers Patricia Norris and Sara Markowitz created, as about the plot – and the series has since gone down in the fashion history books thanks to its influence.
“Twin Peaks was a weird world and weird is cool,” says Christopher Laverty, the costume historian and editor of Clothes on Film. “If you look at television of the time we were ingesting endless variations on Jessica Fletcher and her patterned silk neck scarves in Murder She Wrote; TV needed to break some boundaries.”
Compared to anything else on the box in 1990, the activities in this surreal logging town and the inquest into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer offered total escapism; a dreamland filled with oddball characters that were simultaneously abstract and relatable.
From the Log Lady and her kooky specs and ratty cardigans, to high school coquette Audrey Horne in her kilts and twinsets, the figures presented were cool because of their uniqueness.
Bay Garnett, contributing fashion editor at British Vogue says it’s no wonder that fashion designers still riff off of the costumes, when the entire industry is built on celebrating distinct characters and their personal looks.
“Fashion is all about characters and Twin Peaks was all about its characters,” she says. “The prom queen, the weirdos, the cherry pie cafe girl, the Fifties pin up – there was something for everyone in this show and quite often the personalities were so strong that they were like caricatures.”
Doesn’t Alessandro Michele’s Gucci girl have an air of said Log Lady about her? Don’t Saint Laurent’s dark-yet-sexy slinky black dresses remind you of the vampish Laura Palmer in the Red Room? Paris-based label Kenzo went so far as to formally collaborate with director David Lynch in 2014, asking him to build a runway set for them to showcase their clothes inspired by the series.
“That originality is why designers still reference the show today, and David Lynch had such an original point of view,” says Garnett. “For me, and I’m sure many others, I remember it so vividly because it was my first year of A-Levels so I was the right age to be really influenced by something great when I tuned in at 9pm on a Tuesday. Television generally wasn’t stylish and dark, but this programme was so not mainstream – we’d not seen anything like it before so we were obsessed.”
“It’s not like the clothes in Twin Peaks were outlandish,” says Laverty of the fact that much of the appeal was in their relatability and the fact that teens could easily copy them on a budget. “As in Lynch’s classic noir Blue Velvet, the costumes had an indeterminate period feel – sort of 1950s small town America. But then someone would wander onscreen in a very contemporary blouson leather jacket and break the illusion.”
“Really the whole Western look, which I would say is the basis for Twin Peaks’ costume design, gained a cult following,” he adds. “Check shirts in vivid oranges and browns worn with pale denim jeans – just fasten the top button and you’ve got the most straightforward fancy dress outfit of all time.”
Or a keep it undone and you’ve got a great, vintage-tinged outfit for next weekend?
source by tele…