Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Elementary, my dear Watson





Sherlock Holmes often wore an "ear-flapped travelling cap". That’s right - there was never any specific mention of the iconic accessory we most associate with his character. That particular head-gear was first dreamt up by illustrator Sidney Paget - who took this description to mean a deerstalker hat. Thus it was that a hat, alongside the memorable images of cape, pipe and magnifying glass came to be linked with only one literary character. Indeed, not only is it not necessary to have read anything by Arthur Conan Doyle to recognise Sherlock Holmes, his appearance is so familiar that one needs only to look at the silhouette on the tiles at Baker Street tube station to know whose profile it is.
Sherlock Holmes is often regarded as one of the most recognisable literary figures of the late 19th Century, with only the occasional curiously named Dickensian character to contest his fame. In fact, his renown spreads far enough that one knows who he is, regardless of whether or not they have read any of the stories. I for one have never indulged in ‘A Study in Scarlett’ or ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ – although the complete works is looking immensely tempting in my local Waterstones. And yet, despite my ignorance in most things Holmes-ish, I still know plenty about his appearance and attire.
There seem to be certain books, authors/poets and characters that transcend their pages to take on a life of their own. What they come to represent is something beyond the original work. Someone who is a “bit Brideshead” could be thought of as part of the privileged aristocracy, an Oxford-ian or aesthete perhaps, or simply a religious noble with a little too much appreciation of champagne. Furthermore, ‘Byronic’ and ‘Heathcliff-like’ seem to have become rather interchangeable when it comes to descriptions of dark and brooding types. Such phrases, among countless others, are indicative of one of the ways that literature has infused day-to-day life.

Similarly, we often rely on books to inspire us. A fashion shoot somewhere wild could be deemed as having a ‘Wuthering Heights’ feel, while anything even vaguely whimsical is assigned an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ comparison – regardless of whether or not blue dresses and Cheshire Cats are involved. Although the same books can be peddled over and over again, becoming more repetitive than the adverts one sees on the London Underground, there is a certain joy in using words and descriptions as a creative stimulus. And so here I am taking my style credentials from Sherlock Holmes, complete with a second hand (charity shopped) deerstalker hat and vintage leather gloves. Not sure what he would have made of the Laura Ashley velvet shorts though - even if they were cleverly customised from some too-short trousers. The jumper is vintage Jaeger, the shoes were a present (they’re Office), the tights are from Next and all other accessories are vintage.

Oh, and the title? I’m afraid to say that Sherlock Holmes never uttered those words – it’s actually “exactly, my dear Watson”. It’s like a glorified version of Chinese Whispers.

Do you have any other literary or film inspirations and references you use? I would love to hear about them. 

62 comments:

Crystal Lee said...

Love the Sherlock-Holmes inspired get-up. I am a sucker for a pair of shorts with tights! I guess my style is most influenced by Sissy Hankshaw in “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” (in the book and the movie) and Wanda Woodward in “Crybaby” but inspiration is everywhere, which makes dressing up so much fun.

Natalie Suarez said...

i love those shorts! looks amazing with you! xx

natalieoffduty.blogspot.com

Toshiko Shek said...

love the shorts and you look lovely!
itsnother-itsme.blogspot.com

Leanna Kay said...

You look darling! I love the shorts.

Kate said...

I love the Sherlock inspired outfit, it is always so much fun basing an outfit on a literary or film character, as it gives you a starting point that you can alter to make it completely yours, but still with clear references!
www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

Caitlin Rose said...

Rosalind I just saw your video for Nadinoo and I just wanted to tell you how beautiful you look in it! You look absolutely enchanting! I really enjoyed the whole thing!

Rose said...

I love your gloves and shorts/tights combo! And really, all films inspire me, though Grace Kelly ones especially. As for literature, The Outsiders and Alice in Wonderland are two of my biggest.

100%soie said...

what a beautiful outfit for the winter !!! I love the coloure and your legs are so long !
still beautiful pictures !!

Nadinoo said...

Love love love this outfit Roz, so cute x

Kelly-Marie said...

Wonderful outfit! One of my favourites I think. I always tend to use literary and film inspiration for my outfits. Especially silent films and any thing involving fantasy or Mythology. I suppose that means that I have a rather romantic and whimsical outlook on Fashion but if I remind myself of Mary Pickford or Snowhite then I'm happy. :) x

Closet Fashionista said...

LOVE those shorts! And yes, it's so funny to think that so many people have never read the books (myself included) but we know so much about the character! But I have seen the RD Jr movie though (not the second yet) none of the classics though. I mean even Disney did The Great Mouse Detective! (I was actually thinking while in London that they should add a Basil silhouette underneath Sherlock's at the Baker street stop!)
http://www.closet-fashionista.com

SymbioticLife said...

Beautiful pictures as always. I really do love the customized velvet shorts. I often see tights worn with shorts and a lot of the time it doesn't end up working for me. I think with your help, I've finally put my finger on the "why". You've balanced it all out really nicely by covering up your top half with a warm and snuggly looking top, leather gloves and that fantastically iconic like hat. Plus, the material of the shorts is really luscious. It's like you're on a private movie set or something. Very lovely with a great dash of insight into literature and modern day culture.

Lydia said...

I have a Sherlock Holmes volume I picked up thrifting that I haven't read yet. My brother has read some and loves them. I adore this outfit!! The hat is amazing.

Katrina said...

Wow that first photo blew me away! And I know you don`t edit your photos, so it makes it even more special. The lighting, the setting, the pose - and that stunning outfit of yours of course. J`adore!!! And the last one is really good too, but they all are good in sowing the essence of the outfit.

>'.'<

styleeast said...

There's something about the colours and composition on the third photo that I just adore! Great link to Mr Holmes too. I get a lot of inspiration from films of the 60s and, more recently, the 70s, but I think even the most modern films inspire people (note the H&M Dragon Tattoo range!) x

The Fancy Teacup said...

I've always loved Sherlock Holmes as a kid, I collected the Strand Magazine editions especially. It is always wonderful how classic literature inspires us. You look absolutely darling, my dear!

www.TheFancyTeacup.com

Rosa Fay said...

Everyone is so cuckoo these days about Sherlock Holmes, i'm glad you did a post on it!

Fantastic outfit! You must have been freezing out on those county hills though!
Everyone seems to knock the 'ear-flapped traveling cap' because it is so unusual, but you wear it so well - I think it should be brought back!

I think you should do a Wuthering Heights shoot next, reminiscent of Kate bush.

designani said...

Awesome style!!!!

http://www.designani.net/

Page Song said...

i love your shoes, bag and tights!
page

dusanabotswana said...

we def rely on books for inspiration (but wish more people did more instead of just TV) & you did a fantastic job w/ the Sherlock Holmes inspiration here, the hat & shorts go perfectly & of course that countryside just ads to it. Beautiful pictures!

http://dusanabotswana.com/

Joy said...

absolutely adore this outfit from head to toe. i love the sherlock holmes reference! did you watch the modernised BBC version of the sherlock holmes? it's fantastic.

Ginta said...

I grew up loving soviet version of Sherlock Holmes! Over Christmas I watched the documentary about how the series were made, it was so interesting! Series were so good and so English! Just hearing the score makes me smile - the best childhood memories!

The life after said...

Super nice outfit!!! You look great in sherlock holmes shoes!

The Life After

Kirstin Marie said...

It's so very true. Books do inspire most things today, and I think that's amazing. Your photos are beautiful. I really like the Sherlock Holmes feel of this outfit. Excellent.

Also- I saw the video from wish,wish,wish and you did such an amazing job!

the nyanzi report said...

such a brilliant inspiration. great results - i love the location too.

Miu said...

Oh, I love Sherlock Holmes and I love the outfit you made out of it!

Vix said...

Sherlock and Conan Doyle would have been immensely proud. I love your interpretation of the sleuth's outfit. Maybe Guy Ritchie could introduce a female Holmes in the sequel!
happy New Year! x

just tututiny said...

I can't wait to see the new Sherlock Holms movie! You look fabulous my dear and look like you just stepped out of a magazine. Love the colors and texture of this outfit!

Hope you had a fab holiday!

celeste said...

hahaha! when i read the title i THOUGHT it was from sherlock holmes too. good one. but anyways, this look is wonderful. so unique. the color combo is amazing.

clashlot.blogspot.com

Sally from Sorelle In Style said...

you look gorgeous :) absolutely loving this outfit! and sherlock holmes. love the new movies.

i love your blog! i am following- i hope you can follow my blog, too! we are having a tory burch giveaway, i hope you can enter!!

xox,
s
http://sorelleinstyle.blogspot.com/2011/12/our-first-ever-tory-burch-giveaway.html

Flis said...

It's a shame that so many literary works are misquoted - another example is 'Alas poor Yorick I knew him Horatio' of course - it just makes life so much harder for English Lit. exams

http://felicityotoole.blogspot.com/

Jo said...

Ohh, the inspiration is incredible! I am truly obsessing over this look! <3 <3 <3

x
Lost in the Haze: Fashion Blog

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

i so enjoy your literary references! i can't think of any that i use...
you always looks lovely in browns.
happy new year, roz!

Lola said...

Sherlock is a great character to take inspiration from and you've nailed it perfectly! Love the colour palette you're working, so perfect for this season! X

Jessica said...

Great post, you pull of the sherlock look fabulous-ly! I take lots of inspiration from books and films :)

http://chicgeekblogger.blogspot.com/

Please take a minute to look at my trunkshow;

http://iouproject.com/tsh/jessica-karen/

Lacee Swan said...

love this outfit on you, hottie :)

amy said...

Your blog is my favorite. You have an enchanting glow to your style + structure. I love all of the atmosphere photographs.

Big Trees, Waters, Winds, it's all so magical. You are magical Miss!


sending you happy spells

amyflyingakite.com

Fashion Tales.... said...

I've read the books as a child, and always loved Sherlock Holmes. Superb inspiration, especially from such a strong character. The first shot is my favourite.

Nee said...

FAB!

Show love & support by following & leaving comments on my blog! xoxo
vivaladainty.blogspot.com

Ruta, Look Ugly in a Photograph said...

You write so beautifully! And that outfit just matches your words. I'm in love with your hat!!! Simply amazing, especially those shorts.

Shervin's World said...

mary kate and ashley inspire me a lot!
the girl from fight club

those are 2 actors/movies which inspire my photoshoots! :)

www.shervinsworld.com

great post and pics!

Mat said...

matching your outfit perfectly to the background, check! very elegant. I watched a musical on boxing day called On The Town and I can't stop thinking about it, I've been watching a lot of classic musicals and i adore the costume

Eva Silviana said...

Sherlock holmes wannabe! You look so gorgeous :)

xx
crunchy cheese me

Toshiko Shek said...

rosalind, thank you so much for your sweet comment on your blog! i've been following you for sometime now and i really love your style! and you are gorgeous! i love the recent video you did with nadinoo, amazing! i hope you will visit my blog again soon! xo
itsnother-itsme.blogspot.com

AvaPilar said...

Brilliantly inspired outfit. Do you ever watch Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch? I highly recommend it. I would say that most of my inspiration comes from literary and film characters. I've been reading quite alot about Keats's muse Fanny Brawne and her life and love for costume design inspires me. As for film I am always inspired by Anna Karina in all the Godard films, Clara Bow in It, the 60s fashion in Blow Up, the whimsicalness of Amelie, and the historicals costumes of Downton Abbey and Gosford Park.

By the way i saw a lovely short film of you on wish wish wish. I like your gypsy dance towards the end.

lucia m said...

beautiful!!!!

www.aroundlucia.com
www.aroundlucia.com

CCC said...

You are stunning, young lady! Always a pleasure to catch up on your blog!

- Chelsea

http://mixedmediumstheatre.blogspot.com/

The Foolish Aesthete said...

Beautiful interpretation of Sherlock Holmes (I love the deerstalker hat), and the setting feels appropriately Baskerville! I've actually had Holmes on my mind recently, not just because I've seen the new film posters around, but because I was reading P.D. James' new murder mystery set in Jane Austen's Pemberley. I was thinking how Sherlock Holmes could have solved the mystery after just a few interviews with the Pemberley household!

Have a wonderful New Year! xxx

Zorian said...

Love the photos. The light is so beautiful. You are wonderful in the photos.

adrielleroyale said...

Seriously? I want to live where you live! Such amazing and gorgeous scenery!! Of course you look amazing too (as always) :) Love Sherlock and his look on you. Fantastic photography :)

Irina Lakicevic said...

Perfect! AS always!

hannah, heart city said...

you make an excellent sherlock. and now i'm adding velvet shorts to my grocery list.

confusedbrit said...

I cannot tell you how much I love this post! I'm both a book geek and a fashion enthusiast, so to ponder the influence books have on all matters satorial is osmething I'd happily wax lyrical about.

For me, I seem to take a lot of inspiration from Ballet Shoes by Noel Stretfield...thats right, I was loving the ballet look waaay before Black Swan...tulle, nude and pink tones, ballet flats, cant get enough of it!!

Clara Turbay said...

My best wishes for you in this new year.
Great blog.

http://paquetevitasbien.blogspot.com

Ms Jelena said...

Love the Sherlock-Holmes inspired outfit!!! Stunning! xx

sacramento said...

Happy 2012, my gorgeous, tylish and always efortlessly CHIC friend.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

B. said...

I love your ability to pull-off colours that most people would call mundane/boring. You look fabulous, Bxx

wewantshops.blogspot.com

Fashionistable said...

Ahhhh seeing your post reminded me Sherlock was on. But i just missed it :-( I am sure I will see a repeat. Xxxx

Fashionistable said...

But Thank you for the reminder as I got to see Ab Fab. Xxxx

Emily said...

As always, I'm as in awe with the words you write as with how beautiful you look. I love the Holmes-inspired outfit. That hat is ridiculously cute! And your high-waisted velvet shorts delight me. Your shoes are sexy as hell too, and I'm quite jealous. Have a beautiful new year!

**kisses**
Emily

Melanie Fangting said...

How true your words are, Rosalind! I think it is amazing just how much books have shaped our view of the world. I can't say just how much this is true for other people, but as the avid reader that I am, I can't help but be reminded of stories that I have read wherever I are.

There are certain situations which automatically lead me to at least thinking of a specific literary epoch. An example of that? When I come to your blog, I immediately think of British literature in the early 19th century - think Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters. Another one would be that I can't hear someone talk about all-consuming dictatorship without feeling the need to refer to George Orwell.

On a side note: I adore the Tomboy feeling of your outfit, though I can definitely see the influence Sherlock Holmes had on it!

Have a nice day
Melanie
The Bookish Fashionista

bella said...

Your photos look like from a magazine!