As a team of designers and decor buffs, we get a little . . . let’s say enthusiastic when we happen upon a new movie or TV show that has a terrific design aesthetic. Our latest obsession? Agent Carter, the new series based on yet another Marvel Comics character. We can’t stop ogling the incredible 1940s fashions on this show, so we’re putting together an exclusive home-decorating look inspired by it.
First, a little background: Peggy Carter was no more than a supporting character (and largely a love interest) in Marvel’s Tales of Suspense, and other stories featuring Captain America, in the 1960s. But in the 2011 book-to-screen adaptation Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy got an upgrade to officer in the Secret Science Reserve. In her current TV iteration, Peggy is a razor-sharp, supercapable, butt-kicking, wise-cracking, yet still elegant and ladylike spy that might have been the love child of James Bond and Ginger Rogers. The show is . . . well, it’s just okay (and we hope it sticks around long enough to really develop those strong female characters), but we’re certifiably smitten with the glorious simple, tailored-to-perfection 1940s clothes.
Fashion in the 1940s was heavily influenced by World War II, which mandated rationing of many essential and nonessential goods, including fabric. Designers had to get creative with clothing while not relying on the excessive decoration—think ruffles, pleating, and beading—that had defined previous decades. And since many women found themselves headed to the workplace, they needed more practical clothing with simpler lines, but that still fit like a comfortable glove.
Agent Carter’s costumes, designed by Giovanna Ottobre-Melton, are stylish and glam, featuring wide lapels, shoulder pads, high-waist pants, nipped-in waistlines, and lots of darting around the torso and hips to create that sexy—yet never overt—silhouette. We’ve loved all of Peggy’s outfits so far, but the one that has stuck with us the most is her power suit from the pilot episode. Here’s Ottobre-Melton’s concept sketch, and the final rendering on one of ABC’s posters.
With its rich, inky tone, body-flattering lines, and standout details (that wide portrait-style lapel! Those fabric-covered buttons! The slinky drape of the skirt!), the suit is a stunner that balances both the masculine and feminine. But when paired with a crisp, wide-collared white blouse and bright scarlet fedora, not to mention Peggy’s signature red lip, it officially becomes a knockout.
Love Peggy’s look and wish you could try it at home? Here’s how Annie is interpreting this smart, tailored yet soft look in her decorating:
- Boyfriend Aegean matelassé coverlet and shams
- Classic Hemstitch Platinum sheets
- Candlewick Crimson decorative pillow
- Cardigan Claret throw
- Chambray Linen Sable double boudoir pillow
- Montego Stripe Indigo chenille sham
- Interlaken Brick matelassé bed skirt
- Grid Grey tufted wool rug
- CB2 Suitor chair
- Uncommon Goods The Only Constant Is Change clock
- West Elm Terrace Bar cart
- Mikasa Cheers Ruby Red martini glasses