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It’s vestimentary, my dear Watson: Disguise, criminality, and British luxury fashion in Sherlock

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This article looks at the portrayal of disguise, criminality and British luxury fashion in the BBC’s Sherlock (2010–). Co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have re-imagined Arthur Conan Doyle’s depiction of Victorian crime and appearance through the self-reflexive representation of contemporary British luxury fashion design – including Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen – as a mode of disguise that can alternatively hide or reveal characters. This article argues that Sherlock draws upon Arthur Conan Doyle’s rendering of the will of the individual in an increasingly modern metropolis, while satirically detailing the persistence of late-Victorian perceptions of agency and transgressive identity as represented by what one chooses to wear.

Keywords: British fashion; criminality; disguise; luxury; neo-Victorian; sexuality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: City University of Hong Kong

Publication date: June 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Film, Fashion & Consumption is a peer-reviewed journal designed to provide an arena for the discussion of research, methods and practice within and between the fields of film, fashion, design, history, art history and heritage. The journal seeks to stimulate ongoing research on these topics and to attract contributions not only from scholars researching in these areas but also from practitioners, who are traditionally excluded from academic debate. The journal thus aims to unite and enlarge a community of researchers and practitioners in film, fashion, consumption and related fields, whilst also introducing a wider audience to new work, particularly to interdisciplinary research which looks at the intersections between film, fashion and consumption.
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