Sherlock Series 2: The Hounds of Baskerville Costume Discussion

We have reached the middle of the adventure, the story has been fantastic and exciting, and the costume designs brilliant. The costume designs by the lovely Sarah Arthur truly enhance the excitement of the story.  The color palette for most of the characters continues to be earthy, with small splashes of brighter colors. With the introduction of Henry Knight, his costumes bring a new layer of costume brilliance. Henry Knight played by Russell Tovey wears some great knits. From a simple pull over to a chunky rib knit sweater, the designs for this character are very classic, casual, and functional. It was hard to get a detailed look at many of his costumes therefore I did not try to identify the pieces. The knits are great for running around the moors at night and being paranoid, but in all seriousness Arthur's designs for Knight were very solid.

The Hounds of Baskerville starts out with a visually comedic costume, Sherlock’s blood covered outfit. Costume designing and blood, the small amount of insight I have into costume designing has given me peak into the process. As a costume designer and when working with blood it is very important to have multiple pieces. Like the television show 24, many times costume designer Jim Lapidus needed 24 multiples, but that show did have more violence, blood, and explosions than Sherlock. These small insights into costume designing I find very interesting, Arthur may only have needed one shirt covered in blood, since the viewer does not see Sherlock before he is covered in blood.

I am always excited to see what Sarah Arthur has designed for John Watson, The Hounds of Baskerville costume highlight for me was the Folk Jacket with the plaid shirt. The green jacket and colors of the plaid are very complementary, and looked fantastic on Martin Freeman. Another classic Watson costume was slightly changed, the Haversack jacket with the burgundy trim. This was worn with a red orange button down shirt and a burgundy knit sweater. John Watson’s slight color change could mean change for the character but the burgundy color still has earthy undertones, a color much more rich and interesting than just red. Last note on John Watson, he looks great in a cardigan.

I feel what was really highlighted in this episode was the powerful correlation between clothing and storytelling. Every costume designer knows how important the costumes are for the story and the characters, and many of Sherlock’s deductions illustrated this. Very early in the episode Sherlock deduced information from Mrs. Hudson’s dress. The dress contributes to the characters story, and this is pointed out to the viewer, but I feel many times with contemporary costume designs the meaning will be under the radar of the viewer. Another example of costume and character working together is Sherlock’s upturned collar. Benedict Cumberbatch does have a long neck and the collar creates a pleasing silhouette, but for the character the upturned collar is becoming much more than a nice coat, it is about Sherlock’s image and character. The image of Sherlock to the world, as John Watson describes Sherlock after he turns up his collar “you being all mysterious, with your cheek bones and turning your coat collar up so you look cool.” The play between character and costume is very interesting, and the upturned collar is such an integral part of the character now.

Often contemporary designs will not be as eye popping as historical costumes, but as many of you know they are just as amazing and important to the story. It is just another way a story can be told from a visual standpoint, and that is what I love about costume designing.

Check out Wear Sherlock BBC, these savvy people may have already identified some of the lovely knits. Also check out Sherlockology they will be updating soon with costume and prop information from Sherlock Series 2.

Check out my other Sherlock costume posts:

Sherlock: John Watson’s Costume: Part 1

Sherlock: The Suits: Part 2

Sherlock Series 2: Irene Adler 

Sherlock: Sarah Sawyer

Sherlock Series 2: A Scandal in Belgravia Costume Overview

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