HBO’s “Succession” has taken the world by storm, and not just because of its witty writing, dysfunctional family dynamics, and impeccable wardrobe. The hit show has become a prime example of the “stealth wealth” fashion phenomenon, where understated and polished clothing is favored over loud and flashy pieces. In this article, we will delve into the rise of “stealth wealth” fashion and how “Succession” has played a role in its popularity.
“Stealth wealth” has been around long before “Succession” debuted, according to Fashion Institute of Technology professor Cathleen Sheehan. The trend emphasizes quality and discretion over showing off flashy logos and branding. It can be seen as an extension of minimalist fashion from the 90s and normcore from the 2010s, but with a focus on high-quality materials and subtle details.
“Succession” has popularized this fashion trend through its characters, who are often dressed in nondescript clothing like cashmere sweaters, neutral-colored suits, and blank baseball caps. Superfans of the show have made it a game to determine the brands behind these styles, which are typically luxury designers like Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, and Tom Ford.
The show’s assistant costume designer, Jonathan Schwartz, explains that the characters’ clothing choices are based on who they are and where they would shop. For example, Roman might shop downtown while Tom might shop on Madison Avenue. The clothing fits into the overall theme of billionaires, as they are shopping at high-priced stores, but the character is the one dictating their clothing choices.
The show’s clothing has become aspirational for many viewers, as “stealth wealth” is seen as a cool and understated way to display wealth and status. The Loro Piana sweaters worn by the characters are classic black turtlenecks, but their quality and attention to detail make them aspirational pieces. This trend also ties into the pandemic-influenced fashion trend of paring down wardrobes and investing in better quality pieces.
“Succession” has also had a significant impact on the luxury fashion industry, as certain items worn by the characters have become highly sought after by fans. Loro Piana’s baseball cap and white-soled shoes have both sold out at retail after a “Succession” character wore them. Fans are eager to “find the label” and achieve a similar style.
While Kendall Roy, played by Jeremy Strong, has had the biggest style evolution over the four seasons of the show, the other characters have had little style evolution, reflecting a larger message. The characters are supposed to transform, but they start off as bastards and end up unchanged.
The show’s costumes have worked well because they are authentic to the characters and do not distract from the dialogue. Season four’s premiere episode addressed the inclination to “stealth wealth” when Nicholas Braun’s character brings a date to Logan Roy’s birthday party with a “ludicrously capacious bag.” The Burberry Title Vintage Check Tote Bag, despite its high price tag, doesn’t fit in with the logo-free aesthetic of “stealth wealth” but skyrocketed in Google searches after the episode aired.
In conclusion, “Succession” has become a prime example of the “stealth wealth” fashion phenomenon through its emphasis on quality and discretion over showing off flashy logos and branding. The show’s classic and subtle wardrobe has become aspirational for many viewers who are looking for a more understated way to display their wealth and status. The rise of “stealth wealth” has had a significant impact on the luxury fashion industry, with certain items worn by the characters becoming highly sought after by fans.