If you’re as fascinated with great television as I’ve been lately, then you’d know, at the very least, something about Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick, a Cinemax original drama series which airs every Friday at 10 PM EST. The show focuses primarily on the medical field at the turn of the century at the Knickerbocker Hospital, and inevitably touches upon the staggering issues of the time; from the wealth gap between the elite and the middle-lower class to the prominent racial divide in the country. All these elements coalesce in Soderbergh’s hourly depiction of the early Americas to form what many have come to refer to as a true masterpiece.
However, the focus of this article is not necessarily the topical issues of the 1900’s as it is more-so the costume design. The last time I saw men this well dressed on television was in Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men, and that was a groundbreaking feat in its own right. Ellen Mirojnick, the series’ costume designer, pushes the envelope in her design and recreation of traditional and period pieces, from the lower to higher class population, extras to the primary actors, and everyone in between.
The compelling attention to detail to represent everything as it truly was in those days is what brings the character of the show to life. The idea of medical professionals and hospital representatives wearing fully tailored suits with accouterments is a foreign and almost laughable concept in today’s medical landscape, but in those days, that was the standard. Throughout the series’ first and second season, we see variations in the style of chief surgeon Dr. John Thackery (played by Clive Owen) and his supporting medical staff, as the climate changes. Textures, materials, tones, silhouettes and accessories are thorougly explored with each character’s style; Thackery’s taking on a more bold and deconstructed look, while others — take Dr. Algernon Edwards’ character — had a much more tailored and sophisticated look which may be accredited to his time spent in Paris, a more fashion-forward city.
Three-piece suits, overcoats, top hats, leather doctor’s bags, pocket watches, etc. are some of the items you will see crop up in each episode of The Knick. So whether it is inspiration or just a good ol’ period drama that you’re after, you will not be disappointed.
Below are some of my favorite looks from the series. The final episode from Season 2 airs tonight on Cinemax and if I were you, I’d tune in for a unique viewing experience.