At the end of last year, the mini-series “Queen’s Move” was released, in the center of the plot of which is a young chess player who is achieving dizzying success and at the same time struggling with her inner demons.
The project with Anya Taylor-Joy in the lead role turned out to be incredibly successful, and it is not surprising because absolutely everything in the series is perfect – from the impeccable acting to the carefully thought-out images of the main character, where there is not a single random detail. Every little thing in Beth Harmon’s changing appearance carries a certain meaning. We study the style of the brilliant chess player and reveal its secrets!
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Shelter and the beginning of the journey
The story of the future chess player begins with a shelter where Beth Harmon ends up after the death of her mother in a car accident. Her gray, rude clothes in an orphanage fully correspond to the atmosphere of strict, even harsh conservatism and puritanism prevailing there.
Costume designer Gabrielle Binder set herself the task of telling the heroine’s story through her images and at the same time completely immersing the viewer in the overall narrative, so Beth Harmon’s appearance always, one way or another, echoes what is happening on the screen.
Adoption by the Whitley family makes little difference in Beth’s life, other than breaking up with her friend and Mr. Scheibel. The patriarchal family prefers to save on everything and is in no hurry to dress the girl in fashionable and beautiful dresses worn by her peers. Once in school, Beth first encounters the cynicism of this world, where you can be judged by the value of your clothes. In fact, being an outsider, Harmon again thinks about chess and fired up the idea of continuing to study the art of the game. During this period, she is dressed in an awkward dark sundress, which her adoptive mother chose for her. It does not suit Beth herself at all, but perfectly reflects the ridiculous lifestyle of the Wheatleys themselves.
Becoming Beth Harmon
Beth’s acquaintance with the world of fashion begins with the purchase of a dress she liked for her first win. It should be noted that the first “independent” image of the main character reflects her main passion – chess, because the print of the dress is a cage. Subsequently, the checkered print will appear more than once in Beth Harmon’s outfits, symbolizing her passion, on the one hand, and a contradictory nature, on the other.
Along with victories comes money and now Beth can afford the same stylish and expensive outfits as her classmates, however, having ceased to be an outsider and, being at one of the parties, she suddenly realizes that the familiar society of the early 60s, where there are personal life and entertainment, it does not suit her. Beth is not interested in talking about boys, she chooses self-realization. During this period, in her images, you can safely study the fashion of those years, striving for emancipation: small dresses, straight silhouette, length above the knees, collars, ballet shoes.
Rise and fall
Beth continues her triumphant march in the world of chess, but at the same time her love for alcoholic beverages, as well as the desire for freedom and independence from anything, is growing. This is clearly visible in her images: the length of her skirts is now becoming extremely short, the silhouette and prints refer to the pop art style, and bohemian headbands act as an addition. With all her appearance, Beth, as it were, loudly informs the world: she is not like everyone else, she is beyond the rules and stereotypes.
Having hit all the hardest, Beth, at the same time, continues to exploit the image of a rebel, but now he is becoming much more daring, reckless and extravagant. Her new experiments with fashion no longer sound like a bold statement, but rather show her dismay and despair. The image of Beth, in which she appears at the school where she once studied, shows the personality crisis of the heroine: instead of a confident, genius chess player, the viewer sees a lost and frightened girl.
Designing the crisis and pre-crisis images of Beth Harmon, Binder was inspired by such figures of the world of fashion as Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick, who were the main style icons for the youth of the 60s. Interestingly, the fate of the main character is in many ways similar to the fate of Edie Sedgwick, who became the sad personification of bohemia and Factory Girl. It is to her image that we are referred to by extremely short straight dresses, geometry, pop art and, of course, thickly lined eyes.
The climax of the film is a grandiose chess battle in Moscow, which becomes the main test for Beth Harmon. In the USSR, the girl no longer arrives as a young rebel, but as a real star and a girl who knows her own worth. Her outfits are still in line with the fashion of the 60s and are distinguished by a straight cut, but now this is not a protest, but an expression of her inner strength and independence through style. The only girl among the strongest male chess players is not lost against their background, but looks like a worthy opponent even visually. Beth’s character and serious attitude is emphasized not only by the cut, but also by the colors and materials.
Leaving Moscow, Beth wears a white total bow and this is very symbolic. On the one hand, we finally see the main character in the status of a white queen, that is, a winner. On the other hand, it symbolizes the complete and unconditional victory of Harmon over his inner demons.
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