For a while, I was kind of in denial that I am getting a bit obsessed with this Man in the High Castle but after a while and few nights in the row where I was nervously asking where is the show, and watching at least two episodes each day I had to admit this addiction. Even though everything started with the alternative history where Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan won World War II and now rule over the former United States, it was getting more and more exciting, chilling, and attracted me even more to the episodes full of psychological twists and turns. Acclaimed science fiction author Philip K. Dick really made this SFI story inspiring but it would not work totally without excellent writing and casting, to the level of detail and believability in the production and costume design.
Well, costumes…. of course, that my professional side leads me to this theme every time. I am already used to “accidentally` watching and commenting costumes from the first scene of each movie or show, but let me tell you this, in this case, I was a bit speechless. I knew the costume history and I was expecting to see Hugo Boss simplicity and style hitting Nazi Germany as well as paddy style of the American side but I did not expect this 1962 parallel worlds to be so incredibly real, and completely unsettling. Every detail that costume designer Audrey Fisher did was perfectly suited to the character and their surroundings. Brilliant job continued with
JR Hawbaker with an amazing understanding of the world, with its cultural influences and nuances. Her fashion is like a river where every small wave affects another and in her case, every decade was affecting the next one. Fashion story without Paris? Is it possible? Well, in this case, yes and it works, let me tell you just fine. In this show, there are no glittery Parisian Fashion houses, nor even a London scene. She removes fashion history statements and elements that we take for granted. Cult of individuality and consumerism was replaced with totalitarianism. So what does it remain then?
The focus is on perfect form and the architecture of the human figure, with the twist of nobility. You can kind of relate to the Nazi obsession with classical form and the Japanese poetic geometry underscoring them with a feeling of national pride. Something that we as humans do not want to accept from Nazi cult suddenly with the costume becomes kind of fashionable and appreciated. You start to admire the silhouettes and the lines. Rebel characters give form but the others give details and life. In this sub-reality, I would often say that I would love to have pieces in my closet and I am not into 50ies style usually. On some level, you don’t want to glorify these regimes. But, at the same time,
In the end, I became a fan of the show as well as the costume story. I read somewhere the costume designer statement:
‚‚The key to The Man in the High Castle,” says Hawbaker, “is the feeling that reality is only separated by a few choices, and that is actually the hardest part of the job. You like to think of yourself as different from the Nazis or the Japanese Empire, but really it’s about small shifts and we could be just like them. The clothes had to reflect this. ‚‚.And it reflected this SFI story as well as me to the fullest.