'French chic' and a shopping trip to Selfridges: the story behind Stella Gibson's impeccable wardrobe in 'The Fall'
Ever since Gillian Anderson, playing DSI Stella Gibson, first slinked onto our screens in 2012, her silk blouses, immaculate tailoring and glossy blowdry have become an obsession amongst those of us who enjoy impeccable glamour as much as nailbiting crime drama. Even at moments of almost unbearable dramatic tension in the hunt to bring Jamie Dornan's Paul Spector to justice, Gibson is unfailingly polished.
Tonight, the third episode of series three will be broadcast and the next phase in Gibson's style evolution will become increasingly apparent - there is, apparently, an especially chic Diane Von Furstenberg wrap jumper to watch out for.
The responsibility for pulling together Gibson's wardrobe has fallen to costume designer Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh this series, and while she was never going to completely reinvent the elegant detective look, there are a few nuanced updates to watch out for.
"It was important that we kept the sense of her character, I know how much people love her," Mhaoldomhnaigh tells The Telegraph. "We decided that she should be a little bit more French and continental, so just even more chic. So everything became more fitted and sleek." The new look plays out via Paul Smith cigarette trousers ("Gillian loved those so much she bought two pairs for herself") worn with Manolo Blahnik heels and the addition of blues and burgundies to the monochrome palette we've become accustomed to. "You'll never find any pattern in Stella's wardrobe!"
With a busy job solving a major murder investigation, a real-life Gibson would never have time for constant shopping or fussy clothes. "She’s the type of woman who’s incredibly organised. You can imagine her thinking ‘Ok I need to get a few things for winter, I’ll set aside a few hours’ and she knows her favourite designers and the shapes that suit her so she can quickly get what she needs for the next 6 months," Mhaoldomhnaigh explains. "We bought a real capsule wardrobe of pieces that would all work together. You would never think that won’t work with that, or won’t go."
In that spirit, Mhaoldomhnaigh spent a day shopping in Selfridges for Stella's series three looks and nailed 90% of the costumes at the first fitting. "A lot of pieces this season came from the high street, we picked up pieces from The Kooples, Reiss and Jaeger, you can walk into a shop and immediately think 'Oh, that's very Stella.' "
If there's one item which defines the Stella Gibson look, it has to be the silk blouse. Always unbuttoned to reveal just the right amount of décolletage and invariably tucked into a just-so pencil skirt, it's become the piece which encapsulates the character's luxurious yet no-nonsense attitude.
"I had said to Gillian that everyone talks about the silk blouse so we wanted to do something with it; they're still there but we we avoided any of the shinier satin blouses in favour of ones with more of a matte effect," explains Mhaoldomhnaigh. A perfect example comes in episode 4 when we see Stella in a suitably Parisian burgundy silk shirt.
Although Stella is ostensibly a fictional character, Mhaoldomhnaigh is conscious of her very real sartorial influence. "It’s fantastic that somebody like that can still dress up and still be 100% professional. We were very aware that the character is a style icon."
In episode one of the current series, there is a scene where Gibson's assistant DC Gail McNally is sent to pick up some fresh clothes for her boss. We see her carefully pick out a fresh blouse from the wardrobe, still clad in its wrapping from the dry cleaners.
"That scene was done very purposefully," Mhaoldomhnaigh confides. "Her wardrobe reflects her mindset. She gets up in the morning and she’s already got planned what she’ll wear. She knows if something happens that she’ll have a back-up plan. I think it’s funny how the director put that scene in, such a great little touch. He knows how much people like what she wears and how people talk about it."
At 48, Gillian Anderson has also become the poster woman for a rarely-seen-on-TV grown-up sophistication. "She looks luminous!" Mhaoldomhnaigh confirms. "It’s fantastic to see a woman who’s not 20 years old looking that amazing. We’re presented with so many role models who are so young, but Gillian feels like a real woman, she looks after herself. It's aspirational."
queeniebridesmaid green bridesmaid dresses | champagne bridesmaid dresses uk