By Jess Beech published
With current restrictions taking holidays off the menu, most of us are leaning pretty hard on our TV for a much-needed dose of escapism.
And while The Crown had us lusting after Princess Diana’s power suiting and Bridgerton's costumes inspired an unexpected (and slightly questionable) interest in corsets, it’s The Serpent’s 1970s-inspired fashion we’ve fallen the hardest for.
The Serpent, an eight-part BBC drama, retells the story of serial killer Charles Sobhraj and his partner-in-crime Marie-Andrée Leclerc. The couple earned a notorious reputation in the 1970s for murdering backpackers on Asia's so-called 'Hippie Trail', eventually being sentenced to life imprisonment in 2003. While the real-life relationship between Charles Sobhraj and Marie-Andrée Leclerc was arguably more fascinating than their on-screen portrayal, we're willing to bet the same can't be said for their costumes and set design.
The breathtaking, bohemian backdrops of Bangkok and Nepal, alongside a bustling 1970s Paris, propel the series into sensory overload. As the episodes progress (don’t worry, there are no spoilers here) and Marie-Andrée falls for Sobhraj’s charms, she embraces an alter ego called ‘Monique’.
And it just so happens that Monique has one of the most covetable wardrobes we’ve ever laid eyes on. Not to mention the sharp suits and oversized shades donned by Sobhraj himself and sinister sidekick, Ajay Chowdhury.
With Marie-Andrée played by Jenna Coleman, it’s not hard to see why the immaculate (in style rather than morals) Monique has become our muse. We see little of Charles Sobhraj's first wife, but the other female leads in the BBC show put The Serpent fashion firmly on the map.
Think flowing kimonos, flared jeans with neatly structured waists, and sharp, vibrant suiting—all topped with oversized sunglasses, printed headscarves, and a sprinkle of statement jewelry. And don’t even get us started on The Serpent beauty– the waft fringe! The moody kohl liner! It's a look that encapsulates the '70s perfectly.
The green power suit
The character Charles is a big fan of suiting in The Serpent, something that Monique is keen to emulate in this scene with a pop of color and immaculate tailoring.
Get the look
Jigsaw Casual Linen Blazer
Reasons to buy
There are blazers, and then there’s this beautiful bottle green linen blazer. The perfect cover-up for inbetween days, wear alone or team with the matching trousers. Both pieces are now in the sale, so move quick to avoid missing out.
Joules Elvina Button Front Shirt
A feminine take on the classic white shirt, we love the addition of Joules’ signature florals. The soft, draping fabric makes this easy to tuck in to trousers or skirts.
Jigsaw Linen Palazzo Trousers
Believe us when we say everyone looks good in a wide-leg trouser. The nipped-in waist will make the most of your middle before skirting over your hips and thighs.
Quay Australia Paparazzi Sunglasses
While we love the idea of designer sunnies, the stress of someone sitting on them on a sunlounger can sometimes take the shine off. These are stylish and purse-friendly – win-win.
The yellow jumpsuit
A photo posted by on
Quite possibly one of our favourite looks of the series, we love everything about this jumpsuit – the square neck, the wide legs, the colour pop shade.
Get the look
Paloma Wool Beirut V-Neck Linen Jumpsuit
A statement piece, sure, but a yellow jumpsuit like this beauty is one that will work hard in your wardrobe. Wear à la Monique with a glamorous kimono and waist-cinching belt, or more simply with white trainers and a tote.
Reiss Hayley Leather Square Hinge Belt
Easy to wear with everything from jeans to jumpsuits, a good neutral belt is always worth the investment. The metal clasp on this one makes it look like a designer piece.
Boohoo Dark Tropical Floral Belted Kimono
Never shopped at Boohoo before? Us neither, but this look-a-like kimono was too good to scroll past. At a price this low, you can't go wrong.
A photo posted by on
A defining neckline of the 70s, the halterneck is back in a big way. Top with a blazer if you feel conscious about having too much skin on show.
Get the look
Reiss Joanna Scarf-Print Halterneck Top
Almost identical to the one Jenna wore on the show, this Reiss number is now in the sale and selling out fast. Race you to the (virtual) checkout.
& Other Stories Flared High Waist Jeans
Despite being some of the best jeans you can buy, a good pair of flared jeans can be hard to find. Lucky for us, & Other Stories have more than delivered. We love the patch pockets and retro true blue shade.
The Serpent’s costume designer Rachel Walsh recently named Bianca Jagger as one of her influences when working on the drama, apparent in Monique's love of a good hair accessory.
Get the look
Kachel Active Paisley Print Headband
No time to expertly arrange a headscarf? No problem. This band is easy to pull on and go. It's a stylish way to hide day-three roots too.
Paul Smith Large Swirl Stripe Silk Scarf
The scarf is expensive, we know, but we just can't get enough of this squiggly multi-coloured pattern. Wear over your hair, around your neck, tied through your belt loops – the possibilities more than justify the price tag.
We're always on the hunt for the perfect kaftan, and The Serpent has only added fuel to the fire. We love the long line of Monique’s easy-breezy crochet kimono.
Get the look
Melissa Odabash Yasmin Belted Crochet-Lace Maxi Kaftan
Shopping for a kaftan in the winter is tricky business, but you can rely on Melissa Odabash all year round. The detail on this crochet piece is beautiful.
H&M High leg ribbed swimsuit
Monique might have opted for a khaki two-piece, but if like us, you tend to feel more comfortable in a cossie, give this H&M number a try. It's never too early to start shopping for summer, remember.
Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC.
She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!
Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress.
The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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