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Black Leather & Half-Masks: Breaking Down the Groovy Looks of The Continental: From the World of John Wick
From halter dresses to groovy leather trenches, The Continental brings back '70s fashions in all their glory.
Peacock's The Continental: From the World of John Wick opens with a New Year’s Eve party scene that rivals the best of them. As we follow Winston Scott’s (Colin Woodell) older brother Frankie (Ben Robson) through a throng of dancing revelers at the hotel, we’re immersed in the glamorous, restless world of Studio 54 in the 1970s. Beyond the pulsing music and intense acting, it’s immediately apparent: the wardrobe is remarkably on-point!
NBC Insider talked to Emmy-nominated costume designer Sarah Arthur, who worked closely with director Albert Hughes to create the iconic looks of the three-part John Wick prequel. Known for her work on Sherlock (2010), Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2015), and The Sandman (2022), she revealed that one of her favorite scenes to work on was the Studio 54 recreation, “We had the boys walking around in football shorts and long socks, Adidas trainers, and bare chests. We had glamorous girls, and Lady Godiva on a horse. Really great fun,” she said.
Read on for a break down the key looks of The Continental, which streams its third and final episode this Friday on Peacock.
The Costume Design Behind The Continental: From the World of John Wick
In the John Wick universe, the Adjudicator is nearly all-powerful, able to dispose of people who disrespect the High Table and “deconsecrate” hotels with a single phone call. In The Continental, the Adjudicator’s mysterious and cold demeanor is enhanced by the porcelain mask she wears to hide her disfigured face. “We matched the lipstick on the mask to the costume color. Very tricky to wear this mask, quite hard to act, and quite claustrophobic. It really finished the whole look off,” Arthur told us. The plum-colored Thierry Mugler suit with structured shoulders and Alaïa corset belt “gave (actress Katy McGrath) the stature she wanted to play this part.”
Young Winston’s rise to becoming the manager of the Continental has many deadly twists and turns, but throughout it all, he manages to look polished in a sharp black suit, whether he’s being dragged, drugged, or beaten up. “Winston had been working as a businessman in London, lots of money, so I went for fine clothes like cashmere,” said Arthur, who incorporated many “little innuendos” to Ian McShane’s Winston from the John Wick movies. “The cravats, the Chelsea boots. Actor Colin Woodell absolutely loved those subtle touches that not many people would notice.”
Hansel and Gretel
These assassin twins (Mark Musashi and Marina Mazepa) are emotionless henchpeople who answer directly to Cormac (Mel Gibson). Like some twins, they’re dressed identically in black leather trenchcoats, but Arthur explains the costumes were trickier than they looked. “They’re serious, yet they’re both contortionists and needed the flexibility to kick their legs up into the sky and do back flips,” she said. High slits in the coat backs and hidden stretchy panels allowed them enough movement for the epic fight scenes. “Gretel had a special sock built into her boots because her boots kept flying off.”
Though her time on screen is brief, Mrs. Davenport (Claire Cooper), in a sparkly halter and headwrap set, brought memorable glamour to the first episode. The wife of an influential London businessman with whom Winston hopes to strike a deal, she embodied the savvy, bold vibe of the disco era. “She was based on Bianca Jagger and a Halston-esque look. That time in New York was so extraordinary, everybody that was anybody went to Studio 54: Liza Minelli, Michael Jackson, Blondie, Jerry Hall, Mick Jagger,” said Arthur.
Clothing often gets destroyed in such stunt-heavy shows, so Arthur commissioned 150 suits with duplicates on hand, many customized with secret Lycra panels. “Director Albert Hughes wanted to distinguish between the different groups of gangsters,” so Arthur used wardrobe to tell their stories. The men at the hotel who worked for Cormac (Mel Gibson) dressed “smartly” in black and navy suits, whereas the gangsters chasing down Frankie and Winston donned military garb and black leather.
An honorable mention goes to the psychotic “Henchman” (played by Kirk Ward, also the series showrunner). He appears in the impactful Episode 1 scene that introduces the Adjudicator, and his look is an intriguing left turn into ‘70s punk rock — a kilt, heavy eyeliner, and suspenders with vintage pins. Arthur noted that Hughes "had a very clear idea of how he wanted him to look. It was simple but really effective for that part.”
The Continental: From the World of John Wick is streaming now on Peacock - the third and final episode will be released this Friday.