March 31, 2013

“Hannibal,” a deliciously creepy new NBC drama, centers on the notorious psychologist with exotic tastes. The character was originally made famous from writer Thomas Harris’ novels and the film adaptations “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), “Hannibal” (2001) and “Red Dragon” (2002). In this reboot, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen portrays the cannibal serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Hannibal provides counsel to a criminal profiler named Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) as he leads an FBI hunt for a particularly twisted killer. Unbeknownst to Will, Hannibal carries out his own homicidal activities while aiding the young profiler in his search for the killer.

Costume Designer Christopher Hargadon wanted to mark this distinctly fresh take on the Hannibal story through the title character’s pointedly refined style. “Even though this series is roughly based on the book and previous films, it has its own approach—in a sense it’s a prequel, but this is not the Hannibal we’re familiar with,” Hargadon says.

“He’s a sort of athletic, courtly, sophisticated European. I wanted to dress him with a feeling of the past and tradition and a rich heritage, but in looks that are also really appealing to the contemporary eye.”

Hannibal’s attire is dominated by three piece suits, elaborate, Deckard-type ties, pocket puffs and textured shirts. Slim-legged pants, “with an almost Edwardian fit,” Hargadon says, paired with piqued-lapelled jackets, round out the character’s custom-made wardrobe. With few exceptions—a few cashmere sweaters, going tieless while working with the FBI in the field, or prepping for dirty kitchen work in an apron—the doctor is the perfect picture of a refined sociopath. In regards to the character’s palette, Hargadon worked with paler color schemes at the season’s start, but implemented darker tones to reflect the increasingly ominous story line.

“I started him very light and approachable looking,” the designer says. “As he unmasks himself over the 13 episodes, he becomes much darker—but always sophisticated.”

“Hannibal” premieres this Thursday, April 4th at 10/9 c on NBC.

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