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Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Look of the Week: Rose the Hat's boho style in Doctor Sleep

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Nov 8, 2019

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!

Clothes can help form an identity, and in the case of Doctor Sleep's Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), her name reflects the signature headwear she is never seen without. Pulling off a top hat in the 21st century is no easy style feat, particularly when it is paired with casual attire rather than a Marlene Dietrich-inspired tuxedo — but as the villain of the story, Rose's accessory is a fun style quirk that sets her apart from the rest of the semi-immortal clan known as the True Knot.

Blending elements of steampunk, bohemian, Americana, and even athleisure sounds like someone has grabbed garments from random places without much thought. However, given that this is all worn by someone who has lived a very long life, this patchwork style doesn't seem so out of place.

Spoilers for Doctor Sleep ahead.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Rose is introduced luring a little girl away with the promise of purple flowers to match her name. She uses her top hat as a prop, playing the role of a friendly magician when she is anything but. Her disarming charm is part of her terrifying nature, and she shows no remorse for the many children she has killed over her centuries-plus lifespan. In the book Rose's age is never revealed, but in interviews Ferguson puts her at at least 700 years old. Doctor Sleep doesn't hold back on the truly disturbing sequences, but it is refreshing to have a villain whose motives are clean-cut and who never wavers.

Redemption is not something she cares for, as the True Knot needs "steam" (psychic energy that Danny Torrance refers to as the "shining") to survive: Killing kids is part of their circle of life. The carefree way she moves through the world is matched by her glorious wardrobe of draped silk shirts, floral dresses, luxurious coats, even yoga pants. Rose is a woman who values comfort and looking sexy as hell.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Part Stevie Nicks twirling on stage, part mid-'00s boho chic, the mix of styles reveals her long life. She is full of contradictions, including the balance of femininity and a deadly ferocious streak. As the de facto leader of the True Knot, Rose has an inherently commanding presence. Even when considering all her horrifying deeds, she is incredibly fun to watch and commands every inch of the screen. You can see why a character like Andi (Emily Alyn Lind) would be drawn into Rose's promise of a very long life.

At the grocery store, she looks like any other shopper — quirky top hat aside — in a chambray shirt, jeans, and boots. She knows how to blend, and the True Knot doesn't want to stand out. However, Ferguson moves with such ease as Rose that it is impossible to take your eyes off her.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures 

Facing up against the powerful teen Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), Rose knows that she needs to focus her mind while astral projecting and this requires the comfiest clothes in her closet. An oversized gray knit sweater and luxe yoga pants don't really go with the top hat, but somehow Ferguson makes this combination work. We all have sweats or pajamas we put on at the end of the hard day, and Rose is no different.

As a sequel to The Shining, Mike Flanagan's Doctor Sleep straddles the line between Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick. There are nods to the latter in the second half of the movie, as Doctor Sleep costume designer Terry Anderson recreates some of the most iconic pieces by frequent Kubrick collaborator Milena Canonero. This includes the matching Grady twin gowns as well as Jack's signature maroon cord jacket. There is a nod to the blue Apollo 11 knit sweater from The Shining when Danny (Ewan McGregor) is talking about his dad at an AA meeting. His sweater is the same shade, but alas, minus the rocket.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Flanagan is also the creative voice behind Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House, and Rose the Hat's look bears a resemblance to Olivia's (Carla Gugino) vintage-infused costumes by Lynn Falconer — but in Hill House it is a bowler, rather than a top hat, that is the old-timey headwear choice.

In a recent interview, Ferguson did note that while Rose is maybe 700 years old, her hat is a more recent addition to her overall aesthetic. She mentions Rose probably picked it up in the Great Depression when the True Knot was having a grand old time, a link to her past as the present threatens to destroy this nomadic family. As far as the book and movie go, the hat itself doesn't possess mystic powers. Rose just likes it, and what could indicate the true power of fashion better than that?

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