Fashion

‘Servant’ Costume Designer Tells All About Each Character’s Distinctive Style

The M. Night Shyamalan and Tony Basgallop horror/mystery thriller Servant not only gives us a bird’s eye view into a family’s grief after losing a child, the second season also delves even further into each character’s damaged psyche.
And though we’re enjoying the creeping storyline of the foreboding drama, we’re also completely obsessed with what the characters are wearing.
Named one of Decider’s 10 Best Shows of January 2021, Servant is filmed almost entirely within the set of a Philadelphia brownstone, making it feel, at times, more like a stage play than a TV show. In fact, the brownstone feels like its own character as we watch the circular continuum of four main adults sharing a space. This, in turn, creates a subtle dialogue between fashion and the house.
To get an idea of what the characters are wearing and why, we asked costume designer Caroline Duncan to walk us through her favorite things from the show and explain how Dorothy’s funky aprons became an on-point shopping trend.

Photo: Moda Operandi
As a self-obsessed on-air newscaster, Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) comes off as both vain and moneyed. We know the brownstone they live in was given to them by her family and that she and her brother represent east coast elitism at its most obnoxious. Duncan wanted her style to be old money cool articulation. “There was a lot of fragility and stress in season 2,” she says. “And we pushed to overcompensate by overdressing her. The worse things at home, the better she looks.”
Nothing says this more than the bright, wild printed aprons Dorothy wears around the house to kick up her look a notch. “I think because people are cooking more at home, an apron has become an accessory that makes you feel like you’re changing up your own space (kitchen). People are getting into the fun of bold aprons, and wearing them way more than usual,” Duncan explains. We also love this bright Pieni Unikko apron from Merimekko, just $49.
Buy La DoubleJ Apron at Moda Operandi

Photo: AppleTV+
Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) opens up a little in season 2, but she’s still an outsider in the Turner household. It should be no surprise to learn that Night is a huge Hitchcock fan and, according to Duncan, also greatly appreciates Rosemary’s Baby. “Leanne’s look is turn-of-the-century, otherworldly and timeless—almost unnatural,” she says. “Let’s face it, most 18-year-olds don’t dress like her.” You can say that again. The sweater Leanne wears is the Miu Miu Cashmere Cardigan ($1510) but the Self-Portrait sweater is an affordable doppelganger.
Buy the Self-Portrait Cardigan at Net-a-Porter

Photo: AppleTV+
Sean (Toby Kebell) is the steady hand of the gang. A little grumpy, but always there when you need him. Unless he’s judging a cooking contest in LA, that is. Duncan wanted to play up his uniformity in the kitchen while showing how much he appreciates beautiful things. “He’s not hedonistic like Julian,” she says. “But he likes nice, neat stuff.”
Buy the All Saints Mode Merino Cardigan at Bloomingdales

Photo: AppleTV+
Julian (Rupert Grint) is not your everyday Ron Weasley. The fixer of the family, Julian is best described as an angry, yet dandy, alcoholic. Yet you still can’t help but love him. When he’s not wearing high end suits from Brioni and Hugo Boss, Duncan likes to mix him up in Theory and Ralph Lauren. You can nab his Purple Label Cashmere sweater for $500 on eBay or stick with the nicely discounted crewneck from Vince.
Buy the Vince Men’s Fair Isle Knit Sweater Neiman Marcus