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Look of the Week: 6,000 years of style on Good Omens
Welcome back to Look of the Week, celebrating the best in TV and film sartorial excellence, past and present across sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genre classics!
In the third episode of Good Omens, 6,000 years of fashion and friendship is chronicled in a cold open that lasts 28 minutes. When the opening credits finally hit, you will be forgiven for thinking “Hard Times” was going to forgo Peter Anderson’s stunning animated title sequence. In fact, if this episode was just Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Crowley’s (David Tennant) trip down memory lane, I don’t think anyone would complain.Based on Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name, the six-part mini-series chronicles the forthcoming apocalypse, as demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale try to stop the end of the world. Their earthly style reflects these positions of “good” and “evil” represented by light and dark. Aziraphale wears ethereal tones, while Crowley sticks to a predominantly black palette. Blending in with humans means keeping up with the times — or at least finding a fashion lane that won’t look too out of place. For Crowley, leaning into rockstar fantasies is his contemporary choice, whereas Aziraphale’s prim and proper vibe give him the look of an academic. This fits with the bookstore the latter owns in Soho, London.
Confession: I am coming to Good Omens having not read the source material it is based on, but I was instantly drawn to the whimsical aesthetic and particularly the relationship between angel and demon (who I definitely want to kiss). The journey through time in Episode 3 cemented my already strong feelings about their bond, which also delivered a fun brief history of time tracing their interactions through Biblical adventures, revolutions, war, and art.In each century, their clothing reflects the period while maintaining their sartorial preferences. Robes, armor, and suits don't look similar; nevertheless, costume designer Claire Anderson has found a through line keeping several things consistent including the color palette and the details (which the devil is in, of course).
Variations on sunglasses do date back to the Romans, with Emperor Nero favoring emerald lenses for gladiator fight spectating. Crowley starts wearing eyewear in this period to hide his serpentine eyes; however, as with the rest of his look, he doesn’t just stick with the first pair he lands on. In Rome, he opts for tiny sunglasses that would fit right in with Keanu in The Matrix, but they barely conceal his origin as the snake in the Garden of Eden.As Crawley — he changed his name to Crowley — the serpent, he had a black body with a red underbelly, which informs his entire closet no matter the time period. The flash of scarlet is as subtle as the lining of his jacket collar or the soles of his shoes (maybe he influenced Christian Louboutin?). Snake imagery includes the hilt of his walking stick in Victorian London, a snakehead belt, snakeskin shoes, and clothing texture to match the scales of his former body. He even has a serpent tattoo sideburn. It is lucky for Crowley that snakes have influenced fashion through many different centuries. Angel inspiration that is also understated isn't an easy task, but Aziraphale manages to forgo the obvious all-white look. In 537 AD his fur-covered shoulders are wing-adjacent, but it is his top hat in St James’s Park in 1862 that looks the most wing-like with its feathered effect. Crowley’s most flamboyant look is probably his Elizabethan frills, which speak to his love of neckwear. During the French Revolution in 1793, he barely keeps his head because he can’t bear to alter his clothing standards to blend in. However, this is the one occasion in which Aziraphale embraces bold color in his wardrobe after Crowley shows up to save his ass.
The Victorian era is truly when Aziraphale comes into his own; other than his neckwear and hat, his costume pretty much stays the same from this moment on. His tartan tie evolves from super flamboyant to a cravat before settling on the bowtie in the present. This pattern comes into play in the finale — "Tartan's stylish" — showing Aziraphale’s taste shines through no matter the situation. Red is Crowley’s link back to his former life, while Aziraphale has gold stitching and a pocket watch as a nod to his ethereal self (and to the flaming sword he gave away).In the second episode, Aziraphale is aghast when a paintball hits the back of the coat he has kept in “tip-top condition for over 180 years.” If he miracled it away, he would know the stain was always there, despite appearances. Once again, Crowley makes things better by ridding the coat of the ink, restoring his outerwear to its tip-top state. Both take very different approaches to how they dress, but their clothing clearly matters to them — and like any good couple (platonic or otherwise), they complement each other.
Crowley’s signature, almost goggle-like glasses are introduced in the 1800s — the Victorian period had a big impact on both — although they will change in style into the next century. In the ‘60s, Crowley has a whole Beatles vibe going on, but in the present day, his style is more Rolling Stones. Both angel and demon are somewhat stuck in their sartorial ways, which only adds to the stylized nature of Good Omens. Most of Crowley's costumes are custom builds in-house, but he does wear a Balenciaga cropped jacket in the first episode. There is also something very Saint Laurent about Crowley’s look, whereas there are no designers currently working with styles to match Aziraphale. This is professor chic, not from the pages of Vogue.For a truly decadent timeless vibe, look no further than Jon Hamm as the angel Gabriel. He has no time for Aziraphale’s BS and he is impeccably turned out, no matter the occasion. Costume designer Claire Anderson told SYFY that Gabriel’s suits are courtesy Zegna and even his running attire is cashmere as this material, “just floats around you. It sits where it touches. It's delicious to wear. It feels sensational. And it just drips off of him."
Saving the world is hard work, but after 6,000 years on Earth, Aziraphale and Crowley don't have to worry about finding their fashion groove.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.