When thinking of a material loved by geek icons, tweed may not be the first one you would think of. Whilst spandex and PVC have been popular amongst superheroes for decades, with everyone from Superman to Wonder Woman and Batman loving these tight-fitting and shiny materials, tweed has not appeared to have had quite such a strong following.
Although tweed is more commonly found on those crying from the stands as ‘Shutthefrontdoor’ or some other potential Grand National winner comes galloping down the track, it has also featured on many an iconic film, television and literary character.
Therefore, in recognition of tweed’s often unappreciated contribution, here are three tweed-loving characters who are similarly loved by geeks.
Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
Sherlock Holmes has always had a strong following amongst those of a literary persuasion. However, with the phenomenal success of modern-day adaptation ‘Sherlock’, this Baker Street detective has seen his popularity skyrocket further and his place firmly cemented in contemporary geek culture. Many things were changed in Steven Moffat’s retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon, with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock being dramatically less fond of the all-over tweed look than his literary counterpart – which is understandable given the transportation of the story away from Victorian times. But, with a significant build-up, Sherlock’s trademark tweed deerstalker did eventually make an appearance in series two, to the delight of hardcore fans. Since then, Cumberbatch’s Holmes has been seen gradually incorporating more of the classic tweed look into Sherlock’s sleek, contemporary wardrobe. Indeed, Sherlock’s historic love of tweed has been deemed so influential to the material’s history that the Museum of London has created a unique brand, in his honour, for a new exhibition. It is not surprising that Holmes, as a literary character, would have loved a material so associated with horse racing, considering that creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was an avid fan of sport. This is demonstrated by Conan’s writing of not only a Holmes short story, Silver Blaze, surrounding the disappearance of a prize stead but also listing it, in 1927 as one of his favourite Sherlock Holmes adventures.
The Eleventh Doctor (Doctor Who)
Forget bow-ties, tweed jackets are cool! It seems to be that Moffat has a bit of a tweed fetish going on, considering that at one point both his show-running programmes contained a main character clad in the material, with Sherlock Holmes and The Eleventh Doctor both being fans. Matt Smith’s Doctor was a sublime mixture of old and young, wisdom and immaturity. Therefore it is unsurprising that his version of the Doctor would pick a traditional item of clothing, such as the tweed jacket, and jazz it up with some flamboyant hipster touches. The Doctor has always been known for his somewhat out-there fashion choices – celery broach anyone? – but Smith’s Doctor was perhaps the first to do so whilst actually being bang on trend. Not that we are being overly judgmental – the man is a world-saving, shapeshifting alien after all – so it is no surprise he doesn’t have the time to casually flick through a fashion magazine or two. But, this being said, it was nice to have a Doctor who kept the historic quirkiness of this character’s look alive whilst also looking quite dapper.
Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)
Like Sherlock Holmes, Gatsby is much more familiar to literature geeks. However, this all changed with the release of Baz Luhrmann’s flashy film adaptation. This film’s geek credentials were considerably helped by the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio, who had recently featured in the works of cult directors Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino. Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ featured stunning cinematography, a rap-infused contemporary/classic soundtrack and powerful performances, not to mention a collection of period costumes created by respected tweed-designers the Brooks Brothers. Whilst this adaptation was released during the peak of a vintage revival, the sharp tailoring and timeless patterns worn by DiCaprio must have only added fuel to the flames of this retro-trend. Moreover, given the central character’s love of tweed, it was only appropriate that stud ‘The Grey Gatsby’, had a stellar 2014 season which saw the four-year-old claim French racing’s premier classic, the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.
[Photo by: Sam Honeyfitz]