New TV Who wears what?

The Suits of Hannibal: Psychopathy and Sartoria

Hello and welcome again to Your Gentle reminder!

With all the outfit and how-to posts I figured it was time to do another “Who Wears What?” post detailing the sartorial intricacies of one of my all-time favourite television characters: Hannibal Lecter from you guessed it, NBCs brilliant adaptation of Hannibal which is based on characters created by Thomas Harris most notably Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal is probably one of the best tv shows ever made and I personally find it to be incredibly understated. There are so many layers to it and each is executed with utter perfection, whether it’s the script, the casting, the cinematography or dear lord, the music. I could write a post about the music alone, it’s that bloody good, especially the song used in the season 2 finale. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, on with the post. Now while there are so many things I could talk about in this post, clearly the focus should be the costumes used because they’re very worth talking about especially those of the titular character, Dr. Hannibal Lecter played by the fantastic Mads Mikkelsen. So let’s get started!

Dr. Hannibal Lecter is one of the main antagonists (though the lines often remain blurred) of the books, films and subsequent television show. He’s a very successful and brilliant Lithuanian-American psychologist who is hired by the FBI and special investigator Will Graham as a psychological consultant to help solve various crimes. However, unlike his law-abiding colleagues, Dr. Lecter harbours a dark and disturbing secret: he himself is a serial killer and cannibal, consuming most of his victims in elaborately cooked meals, which represent another morbid but fascinating aspect of the show. This revelation comes early on but plays out rather subtly for about 2 seasons, when Will, Agent Jack Crawford and all other characters become fully aware of his obsession.

As a result of his financial success and some dark twists and turns in his past, Hannibal is considerably wealthy and thus appreciates the finer things in life. This theme flows consistently through the entire series not only his form of dress but also car he drives (Bentley Arnage), where he lives, the wine he drinks (his reference to Chianti is famous) his writing utensils (fountain pens by S. T. Dupont) to the knives (I spotted Global knives in his kitchen) and plates he uses. He has very good taste. His suits are the real stars of the show for me though. Every time Mads is on screen I am just mesmerised by how this character has enveloped him and his wardrobe definitely aids in his transformation.

Hannibal’s style can be pinpointed to a few specific details:

A predominantly strong peak lapel is one of the first sartorial themes that struck me. A few times in the series he can be seen with the standard notch lapel but I’d say throughout the series, the peak lapel definitely holds a prominent place and a very fitting one at that. Mads Mikkelsen is a tall, well-built man and the peak lapel emphasises his broad shoulders and toned physique even more in addition to adding a devious feeling to his wardrobe which is fitting of his duplicitous, sociopathic personality.

After the peak lapel, unconventional colour patterns take reign. Hannibal skips the standard navy and grey and instead goes for bold and rather ostentatious patterns such as windowpane and glen plaid checks which echo his rather refined taste and colours like green, brown and burgundy. He is by no means an ordinary man and this should reflect in the way he dresses, making him noticeable for all the right reasons.

In terms of accessorising, his shirts and ties mimic the boldness of his suits. Hannibal prefers vibrant and complex ties, with paisley and floral silk patterns prevailing. However, occasionally he’ll slip in a solid or foulard tie just to throw everyone off while still maintaining his usual uniform. His shirts range from bright pastel colours such as eggshell, salmon and teal, all the way to a strangely ordinary bengal stripe or plain white while consistently and simultaneously contrasting the complexity of his ties in some way. There is one particular moment where he even wore a pinstripe suit with a red shirt and purple tie and it just worked, even if I’d probably never wear the same combination. The man knows what he’s doing and we should just trust him, even if he’s a raging cannibalistic psychopath. His shirts also always feature a large spread collar allowing him to tie a beautiful and carefully symmetrical windsor knot (apparently Mads Mikkelsen tied his ties himself) which only exemplifies the narcissistic perfectionist even more as well as adding to his powerful, menacing persona. Dr. Lecter also never forgets a pocket square and even after bludgeoning someone to death, he stuffs it right back into the breast pocket. There is definitely something sickening about that kind of perfectionism…

In keeping with the theme of tailoring, it’s should also be mentioned that all of his “casual” outfits are tailored to fit his body and thus look exceptionally classy. Even when he’s relaxing in what he probably considers his sweats, he looks like a high class art dealer. We have much to learn from Dr. Lecter indeed although having a completely bespoke wardrobe would be very heavy on the good ol’ wallet.

The suits themselves are impeccably constructed, tailored and display the perfectionism that Hannibal strives for both in terms of craftsmanship, fabric choice and fit. He doesn’t wear an overly modern, tapered fit but rather a “fitted” but dynamic one, considering his survival mode must be perpetual. He aims to be both flexible and elegant simultaneously. His suits are always 2 button and come in alternating 2 or 3 piece variations. Most interestingly though, they are the sartorial reflection of his mind and depending on his mood or emotional state, the colours will be vary as well.

It must be noted that all the suits for the Hannibal television show were created by Garrison Bespoke in Toronto, Canada, probably one of North America’s finest bespoke tailors and one of the finest tailors in the world, who were also responsible for much of the clothing on another favourite of mine, USA’s Suits.

I hope that after reading this post you feel a number of things, among them, the need to watch this amazing television series, listen to its music and most importantly to go out and start dressing like Hannibal Lecter (sans the whole eating people stuff of course…). It really is a masterfully created show in every aspect and I can absolutely recommend it to anyone who is sartorially savvy and loves a brilliant crime show, with a deep psychological edge to it. Definitely check it out on Netflix when you get the chance but beware, it’s very easy to get hooked on and soon enough 3 weeks will pass and you’ll have no idea what happened. Don’t act like I didn’t warn you. I also hope you enjoy yet again another article by Your Gentle Reminder. Stay tuned for more quality posts and thanks again for taking the time to check out my site. I appreciate the love!

If you want to check out every single outfit Hannibal ever wore here’s a link to a great post, which is also where I got a few of the pictures used here!

Love and light,

J

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