Apologies for the lateness of this post. I had hoped to get it done before last night’s episode but life just seemed to get in the way.
On Sunday, if you weren’t watching Mr Selfridge or JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, there then was a good chance you managed to catch Channel 4’s new lavish 10 part period drama Indian Summers. This gloriously rich story is set in a turbulent India of the 1930s, the period when the British Empire’s hold on the country was coming to an end.
For the first week I religiously sat and watched Mr Selfridge and was left a little disappointed by Henri and Agnes leaving (I always looked forward to seeing Grégory Fitoussi on my TV on a Sunday evening 🙁 ). However, I did record Indian Summers knowing it was exactly the sort of show I would fall in love with. I mean, what more would I want than a TV show full of 1930s costumes (see previous post!).
When I settled down to watch it on Monday night I instantly recognised the actress playing the main female character but had to go online to check I wasn’t seeing things. If you watched the wonderfully gritty and beautifully shot Maison Close then you’ll know her as the forthright Rose. This got me excited straight away. I loved Maison Close and Jemima West was absolutely brilliant in it.
Jemima plays Alice Whelan, sister to Ralph Whelan who is the private secretary to the Viceroy of India. The very first outfit we see her in is a gorgeous bright orange dress which has a distinctive safari feel about it. This is teamed with a boater style straw hat which she wears at an angle to one side and flat lace up shoes. This had me hooked immediately just for the costumes alone. It is fabulously 1930s with its trumpet shaped skirt and is just the sort of thing I have recently become obsessed with.
I love subtle pattern on the skirt mixed with the bright floral pattern of the blouse in this simple casual outfit Alice wears in episode two. I find it so hard to mix patterns together and never would’ve thought to put these two together.
Fiona Glascott plays Sarah Raworth, a woman who believes everyone has their place and those in the lower classes should know theirs. Her outfits are probably the most girly of all the female characters which suits her mousey and slightly stuck up personality.
She generally wears dresses rather than separates and they always have girly detailing on them like bows, ruffles or lace.
I absolutely love Indian saris (I have one of my own which I have never worn!) because they are always so vivid in colour and have such stunning gold thread detailing. Ellora Torchia plays Sita, the forbidden girlfriend of one of the main characters, Aafrin Dalal (Aafrin is a Parsi and Sita is a Hindu).
Aysha Kala plays Sooni Dalal, Aafrin’s sister, who is a feisty and intelligent young woman and has ambitions of becoming a lawyer. Her saris are particularly stunning as they are always made in dramatic tones of orange and red which sit well with her fiery personality.
I love this outfit Patrick Malahide, The Viceroy, is wearing. It screams India in the 1930s with its mixture of formal English wear – a winged collar, silk cravat and pocket square and Indian safari wear – the pith helmet which makes me think of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum!
The eye candy comes in the form of Nikesh Patel (Aafrin) who I remember from Bedlam and Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Ralph Whelan) who is no stranger to the period drama having appeared in Parade’s End and Anna Karenina. His pale linen suit is the perfect attire for a young, rich and ambitious gentleman of this time and was often worn during leisure time as it was seen as more casual.
The evening gowns certainly haven’t disappointed so far with my particular favourite being worn by Olivia Grant (on the left) who plays Madeleine Mathers, a wealthy American staying with Ralph and Alice. It was rather more revealing than all the other women’s dresses and you could just tell she was out to get her man that night. Madeleine is quickly becoming my style icon of the series (she’s a redhead after all!) and she wears the most incredible peach satin robe during the opening scenes of episode two which is to die for.
Julie Walters character, Cynthia Coffin, is still stuck in the 1920s when it comes to her outfits and opts for more shapeless pieces than the younger women. She is quite an intriguing character with her common cockney accent but is seen as the Queen of Simla society due to her position as the proprietor of the British Club.
I look forward to more costume spotting over the next few weeks and I’m sure we’ve got some real head-turners to come. It’s all amazing inspiration for my on-going 1930s obsession and I know I’m going to want to recreate so many of the beautiful outfits they all wear.
Find out more about Indian Summers at Channel 4’s dedicated mini site.