We’d Have A Brexit Deal If The Government Dressed More Like The Cast Of Succession (Maybe)
There’s a particularly brilliant scene in the fifth episode of the second series of HBO’s barnstorming show Succession. (if you’re not watching it yet, stop reading this now.)
In the scene, Logan Roy (played by septuagenarian Scottish actor Brian Cox), the patriarchal overlord of both his four-child strong family and his self-made media company, Waystar Royco, is in the process of negotiating a takeover deal of rival media conglomerate PGN with its owner, Nan Pierce (played with glacial homeliness by Cherry Jones).
It’s a brilliantly tense scene and one that fully encapsulates the ultra-tight, whip-smart writing that has come to define the series. Roy – who’s character and family is allegedly inspired by Rupert Murdoch and kin – is slouched lazily on a sofa opposite Pierce, in what one can only presume is one of many drawing rooms in her country pile, batting away her demands with the practised dexterity of a lion's tail flicking away horseflies.
Although Roy’s laid-back-to-the-point-of-being-bored demeanour while discussing the $25 billion deal on the table is captivating enough in itself (the line, “Would you like to hear my favourite passage from Shakespeare? Take the money!” barked by Roy at the close of the negotiation being a particular high point), it’s his ultra low-key, nu-power rig-out which forms the polish on this particular plutocrat.
Consisting of an unstructured navy-blue blazer (more of a cardigan, really), a buttoned-up midnight-blue knitted polo shirt which, one should assume, is either sourced from Loro Piana or Brunello Cucinelli, a pair of comfy grey slacks and a plain, navy-blue baseball cap just out of shot, it’s a look that whispers equanimous nonchalance and suggests Roy is not, in fact, a financial predator out for the kill but a respectful opponent with his back against the ropes. Instead of souring the deal with the altogether more liberal PGN by wearing the standard issue outfit of white masculine supremacy (navy-blue suit, white shirt, red kipper tie) Roy has opted instead for a look defined by an expensive softness, a wolf in proverbial sheep's clothing.
It makes you think. If David Davis had turned up to the negotiating table in Brussels wearing Roy's look back in 2016, would things have turned out differently on the Brexit front? Likewise, if Boris Johnson had gone to the seat of European power wearing a full fur-lined cashmere tracksuit by Billionaire, (or, even better, a merino wool polo shirt from Hermès and a pair of supple vicuna track pants by Zegna), we might not be on the brink of a no-deal precipice.
That being said, if David Cameron had, well, worn anything he liked and not instigated the whole stinking debacle, well, we wouldn't be here at all.
In the same, aforementioned episode of Succession, Roy’s heir apparent, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), wears a greige sweater beneath a muted brown cashmere overcoat with a shearling collar (very Cucinelli); while, elsewhere, Roy’s younger progeny Roman (an excellently slimy Kieran Culkin) wears the standard bad boy corporate getup of pale-blue business shirt (no doubt bespoke), jacket-less with collar undone and cuffs rolled up: two looks that BoJo cronies Dominic Cummings and Jacob Rees-Mogg would do well to consider sporting, because, well, they couldn’t look any worse than they currently do. Just saying.
The Roy family’s collective wardrobe has been brilliantly thought up by Succession’s costume designer Michelle Matland, with the direct intent of expressing the soft power of the show’s lead characters. Matland’s are clothes that afford the money-motivated weirdos who wear them a subtle potency; the ability to convey status and supremacy without needing to say a word – though, invariably, there's always plenty to say.
So, Boris, here’s the Succession-inspired outfit you should probably consider wearing if you really want to get Brexit over the line.
Blazer by Loro Piana, $9260 at loropiana.com
Polo shirt by Tom Ford, $800 at mrporter.com
Boots by Tod's, $540 at matchesfashion.com