The Fashions of The Durrells

The Durrells ITV

When I first heard that ITV was producing a new period drama based on Britain’s most famous naturalist, Gerald Durrell’s, novels I was rather sceptic. They had already been turned into two separate series, both called My Family and Other Animals after his first book from 1956 and both by the BBC. The first was in 1987 and starred the legendary Brian Blessed and the second, which I loved, was in 2005 and starred my beloved Matthew Goode and the incredibly talented Russell Tovey. However, when I started watching the new series, The Durrells, I was instantly entranced by it.

Gerald Durrel’s The Corfu Trilogy, consisting of My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods, were all based on his own family as they decamped to the glorious, sun-soaked island of Corfu during the 1930s. The mother of the family, Louisa Durrell, was an unconventional mother of the time and believed in life experience rather than regimented schooling. After years of financial hardship since her husband had died, she decided to pack up the home in Bournemouth and head to a much cheaper paradise island. However, their problems don’t stop there and they have to adapt to a life very different from what they’ve known.

Of course, I couldn’t let the first series of The Durrells finish without exploring the wonderful costumes by Charlotte Holdich on display in this fabulous new show. I mean, we all know how much I love 1930s fashions! And there are plenty to enjoy, mainly wore by the three female characters of the story.

Louisa Durrell

The Durrells - Keeley Hawes

The Durrells - Keeley Hawes spotty dress

Louisa Durrell, played by the fabulous Keeley Hawes, is the head of the family trying desperately to hold her family together. She has an array of separates, some lovely blouses, particularly one that has a double button placket, and a few simple skirts with the odd kick pleat in them. She also has a couple of pairs of trousers which is lovely to see in a 1930s based programme. These are all usually worn in and around the house but she also has some stunning dresses that are clearly for a more smart look.

The two above are my absolute favourites and I wish I could find full length shots of both. The first one in a peach, black, white and lavender Art Deco check print looks like an original 1930s dress. If it’s new it has definitely been copied from an original one as it’s so authentic. The spotty one has been playing on my mind since the moment I saw it. It looks like linen and has plain border sections that look like they’ve been stitched with matching blue lines of thread. I need to make one like this!

Florence Petrides

Florence, The Durrells

Margo and Florence - The Durrells

Florence Petrides, played by Lucy Black who was recently in ITV’s Jericho, is the only other British person on the island the family has come across. She is the wife of the local doctor and assists him in his practice. Louisa and Florence become friends after Louisa’s eldest son Larry falls ill and Margo Durrell tries her hands at becoming a part time assistant at the Doctor’s.

Florence is all about the separates. She has some really gorgeous blouses and I’ve featured my two favourites above. The sleeveless one I really need to make, it would be so lovely for the summer and so different from the usual boxy round neck sleeveless blouses with buttons down the back I already have. I love the bias binding around the wrap over neckline and it opens up so many options and versions I could make.

I also really, really love the skirt she wears with it in mustard yellow. It’s a really plain skirt apart from the four knife pleats down the centre front. I’ve recently been considering making a mustard coloured skirt and this would be so perfect.

Margo Durrell

Margo, The Durrells

Margo, The Durrells

Margo, The Durrells

Seventeen year old Margo (Margaret), played by Daisy Waterstone who starred in Testament of Youth a couple of years ago, is the only girl amongst the Durrell siblings and she’s so similar to teenagers of today. She loves nothing better than lying in the sun, flirting with boys and dreaming about clothes. And what a wardrobe she has. I’ve probably liked everything she’s worn so far and she has a lot of different pieces.

The blouse and skirt she wore at the doctor’s office were such a lovely combination and both pieces looked like original 1930s garments. The spotty skirt is an absolute dream. The green and white wiggly check print dress is definitely my second favourite dress of the show after Louisa’s polka dot one. Can you see those amazing checked pintucks underneath the neckline? The frills of the 1930s had never really appealed to me until I saw this and now I want frills on everything!

As a firm lover of the sun, Margo has some fabulous knitted swimming costumes so classic of this era. The first one we see is a knitted bikini, considered very risqué in those days, and she ruffles a few feathers with the locals.

Larry, Leslie and Gerry

Larry & Leslie, The Durrells

Larry, The Durrells

Gerald, The Durrells

Louisa’s three sons Larry (Lawrence), played by Josh O’Connor who appeared in Peaky Blinders and Ripper Street, Leslie, played by newcomer Callum Woodhouse, and Gerry (Gerald), played by Milo Parker, the little boy in Mr Holmes, pretty much live in the same clothes day in day out. Larry either opts for a classic Breton top, perfect for the hot weather, or just doesn’t bother getting dressed at all, but rather walks around in his underwear and dressing gown.

Whereas both Leslie, who loves nothing more than going hunting and generally firing his gun, and Gerry, whose fascination with the local wildlife no matter how weird and wonderful, creates a menagerie of new house guests, live in khaki shorts and white or blue shirts.

The Durrells has proven a surprise hit for ITV, having brought in a total of 8.2m viewers for the first episode, and has become the most watched ITV drama of 2016. As a result a second series has already been commissioned for next year, which I’m so excited about. It’s such a gorgeous, heart-warming series, just perfect for a Sunday evening (and is directly followed by the fabulous Indian Summers on Channel 4) and I, for one, don’t want it to end.

The first four episodes of the first series of The Durrells can be watched on ITV’s hub but you better be quick as episode one becomes unavailable on the 3rd of May. The last two episodes can be seen on the next two Sundays at 8pm on ITV.



Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. A lover of all things old, especially the 1930s, seamstress, crocheter, maker of hats and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.


  1. I too am a fan of the clothes in The Durrells. I look forward to seeing your versions of the clothes.
    My first one is going to be the front and back inverted pleat skirt in local wool for the 1year1outfit project.

    • I did read that on your blog and did mean to comment but I got wrapped up in finding out more about the 1year1outfit project and then forgot. I will go and do it now! xx

  2. I have been waiting eagerly for you to post on this! I have been very much enjoying this programme, and want to read the books now. Just my kind of humour, the characters are hugely entertaining. And you’ve picked all the fashion highlights xx

    • Hahaha! You knew I couldn’t let this finish without doing a post. Yes, I’d like to read the books now but will have to look out for them in the charity shops. xx

  3. I love the fashions in this Durrell series I’ve been enjoying every minute of this show thus far! Great post about it, Cate! I’m making a hat at the moment that I’m copying from Mrs. Durrell and just love everything they’re wearing!

    • Oh I cannot wait to see the hat! I do love her hat as they’re more everyday hats and not over the top showy ones. Are you using a pattern or are you just doing it by eye? I’ve never made a hat but really want to, it just terrifies me too much. xx

  4. I LOVE “The Durrells.” It’s my new favorite show by far. Absolutely adore it and *need* to make most of the ladies’ wardrobes from the show.

    • Oh, I’m so glad you get it in America too! So many of the outfits are way too gorgeous not to make up, aren’t they? xx

    • Oh I hope you do! Apparently it’s on in the US and it’s been so incredibly popular that I’m sure it’ll be sold across international networks. xx

  5. Yet another series I won’t be able to catch as we do not get ITV in Belgium … Sigh! It seems worth watching for the fashions alone … What gorgeous outfits. I can see you wearing a couple of them. xxx

    • Oh no, that’s such a shame! Do keep an eye out for it though as I think this is going to be ITV’s new Downton Abbey as it’s proved incredibly successful. I’m sure they’ll be eager to sell it to international networks. xx

  6. Okay, I officially need to try eating at a table that’s partially immersed in water now. For all the time (and it has been a lot) that I’ve spent in the water in my life (more so in my youth), I can confidentially say I’ve never tried that (strange takeaway point from a fashion centered post, i know :)).

    Have a wonderful tail end of April,
    ♥ Jessica

    • Hahaha, that’s brilliant! Yes, wouldn’t it be wonderful, especially in a stunningly beautiful place like Corfu? So decedant! xx

  7. Ohoh fabulous I do love a costume post! I actually binged watched all the episodes so far again last night, its such a charming funny story and the clothes are just wonderful, I really think Keeley Hawes is made for 30’s fashions she looks so lovely and elegant in everything, I’m actually still dreaming of her blouses in Upstairs Downstairs I’d happily steal them all! xx

    • I love Keeley Hawes doing anything set in the 1930s! The remake of Upstairs Downstairs is still one of my all time favourite period dramas and yes, I want everything both Agnes and Persephone wears. Oh and that amazing green coat Beryl wears when she arrives at the house. xx

  8. The books are wonderful! I’ve read and re-read them. I would love to watch this adaptation, but alas, no access to ITV in my country. . . I hope one of our networks will snap up the series.

    • Oh that’s a shame! I do hope one of your country’s networks do pick it up as it is such a great series.

  9. I haven’t manage to see this yet so I’m glad that you said episode 1 disappears soon. I am so behind on my Sunday night tv watching! I loved the 1987 My Family and Other Animals and I got a lovely hardback copy of the book that year. These costumes are just lovely!

    • Oh Kate, you’ll love it, I know you will. I do hope you get the chance to watch it before it disappears. xx

  10. PBS just aired the 1st episode here in the US. Loved the show. Glad to hear it will continue beyond the 6 episodes to be aired this fall. My favorite outfit was the bikini Margo was sporting. Had to down load the trilogy on audible so I can read and knit! (not up for a bikini though)

    • Oh that’s brilliant, I’m glad it’s finally available in America! Yes, that bikini was gorgeous, very racy for those times though. Enjoy the rest of the series.

  11. I am green with envy for Gerald’s hat. Does that style have a name? Where can I get one?

  12. oops, there is a size list as one scrolls down

  13. Great post! Found it because I have been hunting for the family’s terry cloth robes. They wesr them outside and inside. Heavy, wild vertical patterns. I absolutely love them. I want one!

    • I’m glad you liked it! Yes, I seem to remember Larry lounging about in his robe for most of the series.

  14. Emma (@thevintagetourists) & (@midcentury_muser)

    Louisa is my current style icon, as I start to embrace a more 30’d style, especially as an older woman

    • Oh totally! As someone in her mid-40s, Louisa is a massive inspiration. Besides, the 30s was the era when the flapper grew up and became a woman, so it suits the older lady like ourselves. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your 30s looks. xx

  15. I’ve just finished watching the1st series on Netflix and Larry wears a really nice looking woolen coat.(getting on the boat with his girlfriend near the end of the last episode) Has anyone seen anything similar for sale in retail.?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • I know the one you mean, they were known as Duster Coats and women had them too, but they were more often made out of a twill or drill type fabric. They were used for travelling to keep the dust off, especially when in a car without a roof.

      You should do a search for either duster coats or relaxed coats in wool, I’m sure you’ll find one or two. The only modern one I’ve seen is this one - – but it’s a different colour obviously. xx

  16. Dear Cate, do you know where I might find Milo’s (Gerry in the Durrell’s series) straw hat that looks like an upside down flower pot? I so love it.

  17. Hi, my father wore shorts just like Leslie’s – the ones with the series of front buckle fasteners. I love them and have wanted a pair for years! I’ve asked a local dressmaker to make some but my o ly design is in my head (I’ve tried to draw them for her but I’m afraid I won’t have been accurate. I have tried to find clips of them being worn in the series but have so far failed.
    Please can you help?

  18. I REALLY loved the navy pleated tiny flower dress that Daphene wore. It had a flower stripe on the shoulders and down the button front. Do you know where I could purchase this?

Comments are closed.