Sunday, 5 March 2017

Legion: modern meets mod

David meets his sister Amy in Legion.Long-term readers of the Robot will know I love a bit of action, whether it's Edwardian tales of derring-do, 1960s spy-fi or modern comics movies. But I always try to keep things vintage for the blog, so you won't catch me waffling on about, say, Guardians of the Galaxy or Agents of Shield here. New Marvel series Legion has, however, left me in a bit of a quandary because it's not 60s – yet in a way, it is.

 The lead character, David Haller, has spent years thinking the voices he's hearing are all in his head. Now he's discovered he does actually have superhuman abilities, but it also seems like he has mental health issues too. He's unsettled in himself, and the programme's makers have deliberately blended together 1960s and 1970s elements in order to unsettle the viewer too. (Not just any old 60s, either: A Clockwork Orange was one of programme maker Noah Hawley's big influences. The psychiatric hospital in the show is even called Clockworks.) Watching the first episode, Mr Robot and I weren't entirely sure when it was set.
Sydney Barrett from Legion
The costumes are a fab mix of 60s and current. I can take or leave (okay, leave) the tracksuits Syd, David et al wear in the psychiatric hospital, but David's sister Amy wears a fantastic flowery suit at one point, and that's in the image at the top of this page. Costume designer Carol Case said, in an interview with racked.com, that it was directly influenced by Mary Quant. Also, I need her handbag. The general look of Syd, fellow mutant and David's sort-of girlfriend, were based on Brigitte Bardot's classic style, with tousled hair and wide headbands, or loose, low ponytails. (Her name is Sydney Barrett - how obvious a nod to the 60s is that?) The show is filmed in Toronto, and Carol Case bought pieces from a number of the vintage shops around the city, though she designed most of Amy and Syd's stuff herself.
Legion character Oliver Bird in his retro home on the Astral Plane.
Possibly the only person and place that feel completely period, where it isn't downright weird, are Oliver Bird and his home. He's been imprisoned on the astral plane for 20 years, so since the mid-90s, yet his safari suit and white plastic furniture makes him and his icy home feel like they date from at least two more decades before that. The more I look at that 'icy' background, the more it looks like something out of classic retro science fiction television - not the British sort where most of the sets were made of cardboard, but Star Trek or Buck Rogers.

I know it's going to be too much to hope that this sparks an interest in more 60s-esque styles – knowing my luck, if it sets any trend it'll just be for tracksuits, but I can hope. Have you watched Legion?

15 comments :

  1. I've seen velour tracksuits on offer for Spring so yes indeed, they're baaaack!!
    That belted safari sut & white plastic furniture look very Kubrick-esque to me.

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    1. You're right there! How could I miss the nod to Kubrick?

      I'm not wearing a velour tracksuit no matter how trendy they get. With my 'cuddly' physique I'd look like a teddy bear.

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  2. Not watched this Mim but it really sounds like it is worth a watch. I love the 1960's and 70's styles, clothes them were amazing and there was such a lot of diversity. I might just have to check this out. Would be really great to see some RTW with influences from then in the shops. Xx

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    1. It's intriguing, that's for sure.

      I can't see much I like in the shops at all right now. It's clearly not my year.

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  3. Haven't watched Legion, but I'm intrigued, so now I want to. I used to be into Clockwork Orange, love Mary Quant, and as for Syd Barrett, I love early Pink Floyd! Have tracksuits gone out of fashion then? Not according to my fellow public transport passengers ... But don't get me started, it' a pet subject! xxx

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    1. As superhero shows go, it seems to be appealing to a lot of people who don't usually watch that sort of thing.

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  4. I hadn't heard of this. It's hard persuading my husband about anything vaguely sci-fi (though oddly he likes Dr Who, which I loathe).

    Is your floor finished yet?! X

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    1. I too loathe Doctor Who. Actually, I like the old shows, and I love the radio dramas, I just don't like the current TV programme.

      Floor is sanded and the coat of coloured oil is on. Next weekend we'll be doing the clear coat. The cats hate the whole business, they don't like anything that's out of their normal routine. When Dan comes to do the kitchen floor they'll go scatty.

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  5. I can't bear sci-fi (much to Jon's chagrin!) A couple of customers were telling me that the Prime Suspect early years series on ITV is worth a watch for the clothes.
    Sportwear, gah! I'm either surrounded by it in Walsall or on the plane or getting really pissed off when the trader with a rail of shell suits, trakkie bottoms and 1990s cagoules is doing better business than we are! xxx

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  6. I've never even heard of this to be honest. What channel is it on?

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  7. I do love 60s fashions, as seen on star trek, sothis might interest me thanks for the post

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  8. It sounds intriguing,Mim,but not my cup of tea I'm afraid.,,

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  9. Intriguing. I do love a bit of sci-fi and this sounds right up my street. And a bit of Sixties costume is never a bad thing.xx

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  10. I'm another one who hasn't heard of this. And another who won't be wearing a track suit any time soon! xx

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  11. I'm totally loving everything about this series from the what the hell is going on storyline (I feel a big twist coming)down to the amazing sets and costumes. I like that you can't quite place what decade it's set in, I think it adds to the is it in his head or is this real feel to the storyline. Noah Hawley is a great screen writer, can't wait for the series of Fargo to start soon too.

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