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How Good Omens' costume designer dressed the show's handsome devils (and angels)
If angels and demons walk among us, as they do in Good Omens, how are we to tell them apart from us mere mortals? The longer they live on Earth, the more human they can appear, which is usually a good giveaway. The thing is, "more human," doesn't necessarily mean "more fashionable," as the Amazon series' costume designer explains.
Aziraphale doesn't care quite as much about fashion as his archangel boss, Gabriel. In the original script, author Neil Gaiman noted that Aziraphale is a "kind-looking gentleman whose sartorial style runs to bow-ties. He thinks a little tartan is nifty, and would use the word 'nifty' with pride."
With that being her primary direction, costume designer Claire Anderson tells SYFY WIRE that she decided Aziraphale would have a more traditional look and would wear clothes that look like he's worn them for hundreds of years. She decided on Victorian-era clothing, and added gold threads to his bow-tie — a look that actor Michael Sheen approves of.
"I wanted him to look like a comfortable sofa," Sheen says. "He likes quality and craftsmanship, so he's elegant, but he's also a bit threadbare."
Gabriel, however, would never tolerate looking a bit rundown. As played by Jon Hamm, the archangel wears bespoke suits and coats when he pops down to Earth (thanks to a Zegna tailor on Bond Street), and cashmere is his primary fabric, even for his running clothes. "Cashmere just floats around you," Anderson says. "It sits where it touches. It's delicious to wear. It feels sensational. And it just drips off of him."
"The celestial heavenly creatures were festooned with the best of everything," Hamm explains, "but they don't get any joy out of it."
"Gabriel thinks of his luxury clothes as more disposable, and would just wear it for a season and be done with it," Anderson noted. "That's not very angelic, is it?"
Gabriel's clothes have a lilac color scheme – silvery pearl-gray and blue-gray – to give him a bit of iridescence and match his otherworldly eyes. "To make Jon Hamm the most beautiful man in the world, what more can they do?" Anderson says. "He's already tall and handsome and he looks great in everything. So it's tiny, but we gave him Elizabeth Taylor eyes."
Not Elizabeth Taylor-like eyes, but her actual eyes. "Gabriel went and stole Liz Taylor's eyes and put them in his head," Hamm says. "He thought, 'Those are beautiful and unique and perfect, so I'll take those.'"
The effect is done, of course, with colored contacts, as are the various reptilian eyes of our respective demons. Hastur and Ligur, who don't come to Earth as often, aren't as skilled at hiding their true selves, and don't seem to realize what they look like they've just emerged up through the ground.
"I love the demons," Anderson says. "When I did my first drawings of them, I thought about the fires of Hell, and thought they should have burned feet and shoes that could be boiled and greased and given scorch marks. The bottoms of their coats are scorched. Their clothing is blackened and shredded at the hems. Everything is muddy and broken down and distressed."
Hastur, Ligur, and other Dukes of Hell wear what they died in, but Crowley (played by David Tennant) has been on Earth the longest and has had 6,000 years to acquire a good wardrobe. Like Gabriel, Crowley also appreciates human style, but only so it can make him look like the coolest guy in the room.
"He's sort of like Christian Bale in American Psycho," Tennant says. "He's kind of what yuppies were 30 years ago, so whatever version of that exists now. What currency does that give you? Crowley thinks he's really cool, and he wants to adapt his coolness to the time period, and so he's very profligate with his looks, his version of what's on trend."
Unlike Gabriel, Crowley is not too tailored — his clothes have an undone quality about them, although with sharp lines, to feel more modern. He's rather like a snake who sheds his skin, constantly updating his wardrobe (even if he remains a bit behind), wearing a few things that are a bit too tight so they're wrapped around him, and shirts that tumble open. And most of his look — from the serpentine eyes well-hidden by sunglasses, the serpent tattoo sideburn, a belt with a snakehead with gleaming eyes to the snakeskin shoes with red soles — harkens back to his origins as a snake with a red underbelly.
"He has slicks of red around his collars, and red embroidery in his fabrics," Anderson says.
Most of Crowley's clothing was made for the production, but there is at least one designer piece — a cropped Balenciaga jacket worn in an Episode 1 flashback ‚ that adds to his rock-star swagger. "Aziraphale looks at Crowley and thinks, 'I could never get away with that,'" Sheen says. "He would never dare."