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FEATURE

Wilde Style

By Josh Woodfin, 20 May 2014

Starting tonight on Sky Atlantic, Penny Dreadful can best be described as Ye Olde Avengers or (allow us a bit of historical license here) The A-Teenth Century Team. It's a big-budget drama that brings together gothic literature's greatest characters in an action-packed, actually pretty scary new mystery show.
Wilde style

Picture: Allstar

Dr Frankenstein, his monster, Dracula's Mina Harker and loads of vampires jostle for attention in the foggy streets of Victorian London. But from all this darkness comes a well-groomed light: Dorian Gray.

Wilde style

Picture:

Played by Reeve Carney, this fine-looking dandy is inspired by the character created in Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray.

It's a fable about pride and beauty in which our smartly-dressed hero has his portrait painted and then trades his soul so that the artwork ages while he stays young and handsome (a grooming solution he takes to with abandon, inflicting all manner of booze, philandering and other bad behaviour on the poor painting, while remaining suspiciously immaculate himself). How about you just find peace with moisturiser like the rest of us, dude?

Wilde style

Picture: Landmark

So how will this fatally flawed fop contribute to the vampire hunt in Penny Dreadful? Well, the reality is, if you're essentially immortal, you have a heap of time on your hands to get good with a sword and nail down your look.

Although he's appeared in numerous telly and film adaptations, Penny Dreadful's Gray is by far the most stylish, favouring three-piece suits and precise tailoring. Gray goes for a dark palette featuring lots of black, navy and grey, with highlights of crimson. These make the whole outfit come to life, while offering an easy shorthand for the fact he's some kind of ghost/man/scary thing.

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