Here at Project: Rooftop, we rarely venture outside the world of superhero costume redesign for our discussions, but I have to say, I think The Doctor falls under our purview. Although he didn’t originate in comics, he is pretty dang superhero-y, really. Last of his kind (sometimes), alien with superpowers (in a pinch), with rad transport (even radder on the inside), special weapons (let’s call them tools), and of course, sidekicks (COMPANIONS, man). Anyway, coming off of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor exit this past Christmas, Doctor Who resumes later this year with Peter Capaldi tuckering (deep cut) into the much-beloved role, with his brand new wardrobe. Let’s take it to the Rooftop Roundtable for thoughts! –Dean
Dean: First, where does an 800 pound slimfit wool topcoat sleep? On my Christmas wishlist.
Joel: It’s a stark look with just a smidge of showbiz flash. Not a huge departure from the silhouette of Eleven’s pseudo-Victorian outfit, but with a more severe palette. There’s been a lot of talk about how it connects to the Third Doctor’s look (and the peculiar pose Capaldi is striking seems to be a nod to that), but it puts me in mind of the outfit Colin Baker says he put together when he was first cast as Six. Having been told that this was going to be a more serious Doctor with darker themes, he described dressing “like Hamlet,” with simple shapes and a lot of black (the producers, of course, dictated a slightly different look).
Okay, so, to break it down: we have a Crombie coat, which is a elegant type of men’s coat that has been in style for about a hundred years. It’s a very skinny version of one, tight enough to fit the style of the moment, but also echoing back to Regency-era mens wear. Excellent. That sort of timelessness always plays well for time-travellers.
We have what I guess has been generally agreed to be a cardigan, although it might be a sweater vest, given the lack of bunching in the arms. Either way, It adds just a bit of casual slump to what is otherwise a very buttoned-down look. And I’ve heard speculation that the buttons on the cardigan are mis-matched. That would be a very subtle nod to the Doctor’s eclecticism, but I don’t see it.
White shirt with long, pointed collar and french cuffs? Personally, I think a spread collar looks a lot better when going tie-less, but I suppose they are emphasizing the shift from Eleven, and the long points bring a lot of attention to the place where the bow-tie isn’t. It’s a crisp white, which is the most formal element of the whole costume. If they want to soften the look at all, simply changing this out for a light blue or ivory or something would immediately have that effect. I think those are french cuffs, the kind you wear with cufflinks, but they might be portofino (or “James Bond”) cuffs. If french, I’m excited to see what kind of cufflinks the Doctor wears, and how long it takes Etsy to be overrun with hot glue-gun knock-offs.
I have some pretty strong reservations about the pants. 1. They do not fit. This isn’t an opinion, that photo is an objective depiction of what ill-fitting pants look like. 2. The tightness around the calves contrasts badly with the slightly bulky shoes. 3. The leg-cuff ends prematurely. 4. Black/charcoal is an awkward pairing with Navy Blue. 5. But most importantly of all, for the love of gawd, who thought of putting pleats on skinny pants? DO NOT PUT PLEATS ON YOUR SKINNY PANTS. YOU WILL LOOK LIKE YOU ARE WEARING A DIAPER. Fortunately, the pants are the single easiest part of this outfit to change without anyone noticing. Let’s all assume that these are “For Placement Only” pants.
And then, the Doc Martens! Worn by punks and bobbies alike, they’re very English, and eminently practical. Good for running, very durable. Come with a “for life” guarantee, which is a real deal when you’re a Time Lord.
Dean: Yeah, my hope is that the pants are going to be swapped out, and that damn well better be a cardigan. I don’t think I can stomach a sweater vest, though I said the same thing when Matt Smith’s Doctor swipe Tucker Carlson’s bow tie. Now Malcom Tucker wants Rick Santorum’s vest? Please no.
This is a bit inside baseball, but I wonder if the tie-less, buttoned-up look is a BIT of a swing at Elementary, the (arguably more enjoyable, demonstrably less filler-packed) modern day Sherlock Holmes series NOT co-created by Doctor Who series showrunner Stephen Moffat. On Elementary, that’s Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes look. It’s most likely completely unrelated, but it does seem like an oddly specific choice, and would completely overrule the distinctiveness of the same choice for JLM.
I love the coat so much, and I like that we aren’t departing too much from Matt’s second look, just modernizing it. Red and blue have been major color themes throughout the show since Moffat took over, and Matt’s purple coat seemed like the obvious combination to conclude his run. I have to admit, this navy and bright red appeals to me even more, though. With the white shirt, it’s properly Union Jack’d up. Good and superhero-y, like I like things.
Erica: Whenever I look at this picture I’m wondering where the “The Doctor is back, and now he means business” tagline is. I’m really torn on this. There were a lot of similarities in how they presented Tennant and Smith, so I like the departure, but at the same time I wonder if it’s trying too hard to look cool (although I’m sure oldschool Who fans thought that about Eccleston).
ANYWAY. I wish we could see the jacket in a normal resting position because unless he’s going to have Fabio-style fans on him all the time it won’t be blowing back enough to reveal the red all the time. Although it could make for a great reveal. Every so often the Doctor unbuttons that one jacket button, throws open the jacket and we get a flash of red- and that’s when you know IT’S ON. I’m with Joel though. I can’t get over how fitted his shirt, jacket and cardigan are and how baggy his pants are at the crotch. It’s like he’s planning to smuggle things.
Vito: I have to say I’m a little let down by this choice. I really wanted a mod-via-punk-via-ska rudeboy look. This isn’t bad, mind you, but I didn’t get what I want, so :P::::: or whatever.
Anyhow, I’m really distracted by the color of the pants more than I am the fit of them. I see what you guys are saying, but the navy/black combo is really hurting my eyes. That’s the kind of fashion emergency I was guilty of in high school because, “Who cares? I go to school to learn, not for a fashion show!” I was known for quoting Will Smith, apparently.
So, if I ignore the bottom half of the outfit (love the Docs…that’s pretty close to my original vision), the top, to me says magician. Not entirely inappropriate; the Doctor is a magician of sorts. I mean, Three was almost over the top in that magician look, with his ruffled shirt and cape. The addition of the cardigan (or sweater vest) is a bit much…I get that you travel through space and time, and it might get cold, but dang, that seems cumbersome. On first glance, a sweater vest is the likelier of the two, and while, aesthetically, it seems to tie the look together, I can’t see why a waistcoat was necessary.
Glen: You guys have pretty much covered it. There’ve been some action photos of the Doctor and Clara shooting on location since this promotional image came out, and they confirm that the pants look even worse than feared. Big roomy pleats + skinny calves = Legs that look like ice cream cones, and loins that look like one big honkin’ scoop of butter brickle. Um. If butter brickle were black. Is there black ice cream? Licorice? Wow, that sounds foul. Perhaps I should’ve stuck with the diaper analogy. Abort. Abort.
Point is, they look sort of exultantly, defiantly terrible, even on a tall, skinny drink of [space beverage] like Capaldi, which is how you know pleats are to be abjured, always, forever, by all sentient beings.
Ditto sweater vests, unless 1. It is 1966. 2. You are a member of The Association. 3. You are singing your hit “Cherish”. 4. You are on the Ed Sullivan Show. And even when all four of those conditions are met IT’S STILL A GRAY AREA.
I, like Vito, get a stage magician vibe from this particular Crombie coat, which is a shame because “saves the universe” and “good at close-up magic” occupy two very different areas of my brain. I know, he’s quirky. And Troughton’s Doctor was given to such whimsical pursuits. Still doesn’t scan.
I get that they’re going clean, ascetic, stripped down vibe, but a white shirt buttoned to the top takes me to a whole Space Mormon place, and I’m looking for a punch of color somewhere up there. Here’s where I confess that the question-mark-accessory motif that I know causes so many fans to roll their eyes is a thing I’ve always dug. Showy, a wink to the show’s title back before such winks were rare, but I’ve always loved it. Maybe Joel’s right, and we’ll get some question-mark cufflinks. I know they’re cheesy, but this look needs something to pop, besides the coat’s lining.
The Doc Martens, on the other hand, are perfect. Inevitable. Feel as if they have been prophesied for generations, and have arrived here before us simply, flawlessly — in that they occupy the teeeeeensy Venn Diagram intersection fo “British” and “Badass” (see also, “Jason Statham” “”Never Mind the Bollocks” and “Dame Judy Densch”).
No one’s mentioned the wedding ring, barely visible in this photo and very prominent in those location shoot photos. That seems like something engineered to set the fanbase off. I’m just grateful it’s not one of Pertwee’s old pinky rings, because they were gross. You never knew if that guy was gonna save time & space or hit on you at an EST seminar.
Joel: Wait, wedding what? Really?
Dean: Looking forward to half a dozen Tumblr theories on what that’s about.