‘All I Know About Love’ Suits Are a Love Letter to the Dividing 2010s Aesthetic
When Dolly Alderton published her memoir all i know about love in 2018, his reliability and straightforwardness won him legions of fans. Now, on June 7, the highly anticipated TV adaptation hits our screens and while it shifts from Alderton and his friendship band to instead focus on fictional characters, they also navigate the same twists, turns and truths from the early twenties that are sure to make for familiar viewing.
Set in Camden in 2012, it’s a short trip down memory lane to that heady year of the London Olympics, Diamond Jubilee and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” on repeat. If, like me, you came of age or came of age in and around 2010, the seven-part drama will bring back a very specific nostalgia from just a decade ago.
As someone whose memories are ingrained in my wardrobe – with the ability to recall exactly what I wore over 15 years ago – it was the costumes on the show that stood out to me the most. First with the trailer and later in the press screens, I started playing a game of dress bingo, wanting to let everyone sitting next to me know that I also owned this Kate Moss dress. for Topshop and would also struggle with the conundrum of when an elasticated waistband is too much. Sure, the show is a charming watch, but the accuracy of the costumes is reason to watch in itself. Prepare to revel in wistful charm from the glory days of the High Street and an unresponsible approach to clothing turnover, all while preparing to be confronted with your past sartorial ups and downs.
All of the feelings I experienced were consciously part of the master plan, devised by the show’s costume designer, Matthew Price. Like Alderton, he happened to be living in Camden at the time and therefore had an experience and fond memories of how clothes were worn and styled back then. Together, they knew the series needed to feature these authentic elements as opposed to studio recreations and so decided to bring them together to form each character’s individual identity.
The process began with Price, Alderton, and the show’s director China Moo-Young getting together and questioning the legitimacy of each character owning certain coins. “For me, it has to start with authenticity,” Price told ELLE. “First and foremost it has to be real to the character. We started identifying each wardrobe and discussed why we think they owned each piece, could they have afforded to buy it and what does that say about their character?
Then the sourcing began, with Price turning to Depop and eBay to source the desired items, matching them with some already in his collection and others borrowed from archives of traditional contemporary costume across the country. “We’re pretty sure we haven’t missed anything when it comes to our selections at the end,” he says of the extensive wardrobe we see over the course of seven episodes, carrying the characters from the first see you at parties at job interviews and the full gamut of 2012’s controversial style.
In an appropriate move at the time, much of Price’s initial research was done by unearthing photographs of his own friends at parties in Camden via those incessant Facebook albums that were de rigueur a decade ago. ‘Dolly and I had real photos of our friends back then [on the moodboard]. My initial pitch is about 60% Facebook photos of all my friends at that time. I just told them about it,” he laughs.
Alongside their companions were also other icons of the time. Think Kate Moss and Alexa Chung fresh out of Worthy Farm and Amy Winehouse, the definitive Camden icon, but also more enduring fashion stalwarts like Debbie Harry and Stevie Nicks. The connections are clear to see in the end result and you can probably tell – as we so often like to do with fictional characters – whether you were more Maggie than Birdy or vice versa.
Price puts forward a silver fringed jacket worn by Maggie (Alderton’s closest character) as a series-defining item. “It kind of has a timelessness to it. And it’s a tribute to Stevie Nicks. You can basically dress up or dress down a look with it. For me, it reads a code as clear as the cool-girl jacket. I’ve never had one but I know people who did and they were Glasto fans with boyfriends in bands, who tinted their photos with sepia tones and navigated that time of life with a bohemian touch.
While I welcomed the nostalgia and memories attached to these pieces, many of which I could never part with, I’m certainly not ready to revisit them for my everyday wardrobe. Presumably, much of that era aesthetic draws on the Gen-Z revival of Indie Sleaze, but as someone who lived (and loved!) it the first time around, I’m not all totally ready to style my denim shorts with tights or matching little flower print ballet flats a decade later. “It’s funny with Indie Sleaze because when we were filming it hadn’t quite hit the mark yet,” Price concludes. ‘But, I agree with you. It’s not quite that time [to revisit the era]but it will come at some point!’
all i know about love airs June 7 at 10:35 p.m. on BBC One and is available now on iPlayer.
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