Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard, adventurer and ex-mercenary
Devon, England, August 1939
Series Title: And Then There Were None
Air Date: December 26-28, 2015
Director: Craig Viveiros
Costume Designer: Lindsay Pugh
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie’s classic mystery thriller, finds ten strangers summoned to a mysterious island off the English coast. Aside from the married couple hired to serve as butler and cook, the newcomers are all unknown to each other and are quickly thrown into a spiral of suspicion and death that would engulf them all.
The action in the novel lasted three days, beginning on August 8, 1939, making it 78 years ago to the day that the last survivors of the weekend were forced into a fatal confrontation of their own dangerous pasts.
The book, one of my favorites ever since my sister introduced me to it in the fifth grade, has been adapted for the big screen several times. Other than a relatively obscure Russian adaptation, all of the major English-speaking movie versions incorporated the more romantic ending that Christie penned for the less grim 1943 stage adaptation. As the decades progressed, the setting and characters evolved with the tone until nearly unrecognizable versions of the story were being told with matinee idols and glamorous movie stars in a ski chalet or on an African safari.
I will be forever grateful to BAMF Style reader Eric for pointing my attention to the BBC’s three-part miniseries produced in 2015, a mostly faithful and incredibly entertaining interpretation of Christie’s 1939 novel with the characters, setting, and tone mercifully intact. (Aside from the rather welcome PC decision to rebrand Christie’s “Indian Island” as “Soldier Island”… and I don’t even want to explore the very first name she used for the setting!)
Philip Lombard, the ex-mercenary scoundrel with an eye for adventure and romance, is as close as the story gives us to a traditional “hero” with his dashing looks and quick wit, and he is ably played here by Aidan Turner, the Irishman famous for his performance as the titular hero in Poldark and considered by many to be a candidate for the next James Bond.
What’d He Wear?
Philip Lombard makes a hell of an impression on both audiences and his fellow travelers in a sharp three-piece suit in vivid blue chalkstripe flannel. The mauve colored chalkstripes better neutralize the intensity against such a bold color than a stark white stripe would.
Lindsay Pugh, the series’ costume designer, brought vast talent and knowledge of period attire to the production. “Men’s suits were well tailored with strong shoulders and wide lapels,” she explained in a Q&A with WWD.com regarding the 1930s fashion she created for 2013 series Dancing on the Edge. Lombard’s suit reflects many style trends of the late ’30s, including a strong padded shoulder with roped sleeveheads and wide peak lapels that slightly pull away from the collar, seemingly expressing a desire to take flight.
Three-piece suits with double-breasted jackets were at the height of their popularity in the 1930s, particularly with the wide, sharp lapels and high-fastening six-on-two button front seen on Lombard’s suit jacket. Lombard’s ventless jacket has a welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, and three-button cuffs.
The suit has a matching vest (we should probably call it a waistcoat as this is an English character in an English setting of an English production) with four narrow-welted pockets.
The high-fastening waistcoat has a six-button front, with the lowest button placed high above the notched bottom so that it can be comfortably worn with all buttons fastened without bunching at the waist.
The single reverse-pleated trousers rise well enough to conceal the waistband under the waistcoat for the most part, but his trouser band occasionally falls below the open notch of his waistcoat bottom, revealing very long belt loops despite the trousers being worn sans belt. A shot taken during the production shows a button to the right of the right-side pleat just below the waistband (see the photo at the top of this post).
Pugh explained in a documentary of the film’s production: “’30s fashion was absolutely high-waist in the trousers,” which caused more than a few adjustments for Aidan Turner. The actor stated that “the pants are a little high for my liking… I have all the costume people comin’ in, and they’re hoofin’ them up all the time… and it feels so high.”
Turner would later sing a different tune in a December 2015 interview with the Daily Mail Magazine in the appropriately titled feature “Poldark in Pinstripes!”, telling interviewer Tim Oglethorpe that “I was wearing these high-waisted pants a lot for this show, they’re really comfortable and quite flattering!”
The trousers have side pockets where Lombard casually slips his hands and a full cut through the legs down to the bottoms finished with narrow cuffs (turn-ups).
In non-formal situations, Lombard always wears a pair of tan leather oxford quarter brogues with a medallion cap toe and five lace eyelets. His socks appear to be black, though navy would be a slightly more interesting choice to continue the leg line of his trousers.
Lombard arrives at Soldier Island wearing this suit with a dull mauve shirt that coordinates with the mauve chalkstriping in his suit. The lightweight cotton shirt has a spread collar, front placket, and single-button rounded cuffs. The shirt’s buttons are white mother-of-pearl.
Printed ties were quite popular during the late 1930s, and Lombard wears a red-and-gold leafy paisley silk tie that is comparatively subdued both in color and size against other ties of the era.
A flashback in the second episode shows Lombard receiving his “invitation” from Isaac Morris just before heading off to Soldier Island. He wears the same suit with a similarly styled gold shirt and a red-on-red jacquard silk tie.
Lombard’s simple timepiece is also common to the early decades of men’s wristwatches, a square steel or silver-toned case on a russet brown leather strap. The tan square dial has gold hands and numeric markings.
Lombard further sets himself apart from the older coat-and-hat crowd by eschewing both traditional pieces of outerwear and donning a pair of cool vintage sunglasses with round tortoise frames and dark gray lenses connected by a thin gold bridge over his nose.
Looking for a similar pair and don’t want to break the bank on Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo, or Ray-Ban? Primer has got you covered with this in-depth look at the A.J. Morgan “Castro Round” with its tortoise plastic frames and gold-toned metal accents that ooze every ounce of throwback cool. The best part? Less than $13 on Amazon.
How to Get the Look
Philip Lombard makes an immediate impression on his fellow travelers, disrupting their traditional sartorial sensibilities with a flashy yet fashionable outfit that would be hard to replicate but easy to remember.
- Blue mauve-chalkstripe flannel three-piece suit:
- Double-breasted 6-on-2-button jacket with wide peak lapels, strong shoulders, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Single-breasted 6-button vest with dropped notched bottom and four narrow-welted pockets
- Mauve lightweight cotton shirt with spread collar, front placket (with mother-of-pearl buttons), and 1-button rounded cuffs
- Red-and-orange leaf-printed silk tie
- Brown leather medallion cap-toe 5-eyelet oxford quarter brogues
- Dark navy dress socks
- Light tortoise round-framed sunglasses with gold bridge and gray lenses
- Silver-cased square watch with tan dial on russet brown leather strap
Lombard proves to be a surprisingly loud dresser, sporting a pair of burgundy fleck trousers with a light brown tweed jacket in the days to come. (Read more about that outfit here!)
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Interestingly, Louis Hayward had also worn a chalkstripe flannel double-breasted suit as Philip Lombard in the 1945 film And Then There Were None, previously the closest adaptation to Christie’s original novel.
Hayward’s two-piece suit has a six-on-one buttoning jacket, worn with a more traditional white shirt, dark tie, white pocket square and – at times – a heavy overcoat.