June 26, 2015
Now that the USA network gave its new cyber drama, “Mr. Robot,” a second season–days ahead of its premiere, Christian Slater might want to get used to his character’s eclectic look, a mix of patterns and eras.
With Rami Malek as Elliot, a young programmer, Slater co-stars as the leader of a secret hacker community where he’s known as Mr. Robot. Though Malek wears the tech world uniform of jeans and a nondescript hoodie, the pilot’s Costume Designer, Mairi Chisholm, established Slater’s character with more theatricality.
“In the pilot, he’s described as a homeless man. We didn’t want to go too overboard with that. We did specifically choose the type of jacket he’s wearing,” said Chisholm, who sourced it from Universal’s stock. “It’s an ‘80s computer repairman jacket. It has a patch on there that says, Mr. Robot–Service with a Smile. He takes on that name as his identity…in the hacking world.”
The jacket was nicely aged, “with holes in all the right places,” and a red lining that, “gives you a subliminal feeling, like, is this a guy you want to trust?”
Though the jacket aligns with the series’ aesthetic nod to ‘80s Atari games and synthesized music, Chisholm was wary of going overboard with the retro-tech look. He also wears a ‘50s thrift shop cardigan.
“We wanted to show that he’s an odd guy making odd choices with this odd piece,” Chisholm said.
Accessories also add to Mr. Robot’s layered persona. In the pilot, he wears two scarves, a gray, cable knit and a blue windowpane, along with fingerless gloves, aviator sunglasses and, a personal contribution from Slater, a weathered beige baseball cap.
“It was really good because it had this texture on it,” said Chisholm, who removed the sewn-on patches and kept the stitch marks.
The artfully jumbled ensemble says something about the character: “He’s not a conformer. He’s about not letting ‘the man’ win. He’s like Robin hood for the people,” she said.
Costume Designer Kim Wilcox continued on the series after the pilot was picked up.
“Mr. Robot” airs Wednesdays on USA at 10 p.m. / 9 Central