This article contains major spoilers for Episode 3 of the final season of “Succession.”
A “Succession” Sunday typically brings a feast of chaos and rich-people drama, so far away from most people’s reality that we in the audience can sit back and watch the betrayals, the catty class commentary and the creative, curse-laden insults with fascination and something like glee. But this week’s episode was a gut punch. We watched as members of the Roy family and their associates processed grief in real time, while on a boat awaiting Connor’s wedding ceremony.
Logan Roy’s passing — on his airplane, experienced by his children only through phone calls — was swift, and shocking. And even in an episode that upends the entire series, costumes held a key to the twists as they unfolded, with fashion continuing to anchor and build the complex profiles of each character. Members of the Styles staff returned this week to discuss the episode and dig into some of its clothing clues.
Vanessa Friedman: So when Shiv made her entrance in Episode 3, wearing a black Tom Ford tux and her black halter top, I thought, Oh, this is a commentary on how she feels about Connor’s wedding. But then it turned out to be the perfect outfit for something else entirely. Talk about foreshadowing through fashion.
Guy Trebay: It is weird that everyone was dressed for a funeral.
Stella Bugbee: Gerri’s suit seemed well chosen to emphasize her uncertain status. Everybody was very black and white, but Gerri was gray.
Jessica Testa: And that hat!
VF: The hat didn’t belong, which was maybe the point. Hats at weddings often seem like a costume, but this one struck a particularly false note. Especially because Gerri also had the big necklace, and the jeweled belt. Usually, she’s more subtle than that. Guy, what did you think of Connor’s tie, given neither Kendall nor Roman was wearing one?
GT: Well, it’s his wedding. May as well wear a tie (though the boutonniere looked as though it was from a novelty store.) Anyway, he has already been separated from the herd. What I’m intrigued by is the monochrome palette, given how color elicits emotion. Black equals potency, white equals purity, gray equals…poor Gerri, what was that cockeyed hat?
Anna Grace Lee: Was it a fascinator?
VF: Nope. More like a trilby cocked with a bit of attitude.
GT: It just needed an antenna so she could receive messages from Mars.
AGL: It felt vaguely royal, overly ceremonious. A piece of corporate armor, shed when Roman broke the news of her impending firing.
JT: Was it, in Tom’s words (about Greg), “visually aggravating?”
VF: Black also equals doom sometimes. It seemed like portent to me.
GT: Power, sexuality, elegance, wealth, mystery, sadness, remorse — black used theatrically. They got on that boat looking pretty doomy.
VF: On one level, I am sad we didn’t get the Roy wedding we were expecting. Willa’s dress, what small glimpse we got of it at the end, looked lovely. On the other hand, this sets us up for an epic showdown of character-driven clothes as we head into the actual succession battle.
GT: A grooming conundrum: I never get why this group of people is always made to look slightly seedy — or the family members are, anyway. The guys are neither properly shaved nor scruffy in a cool way. Only underlings own a razor. Logan was (still not comfortable with the past tense here) a biblical patriarch. And, by contrast, his children always look like characters from an after-school special. Shiv has that stubby ponytail.
JT: Shiv’s sad, short-hair ponytail was a continuation of what we discussed last week: This typically composed woman is not feeling her most composed, emotionally speaking, and it’s showing up in these subtle ways in her styling.
VF: I feel as if the scruff reflects the boys’ very complicated feelings about their (bearded) father. They want to be like him; they don’t want to be like him.
SB: They want to be like him but they can’t be like him. Their disheveled appearances are part of the ways in which they are “unserious” people, as Logan called them at the end of last week’s episode.
JT: This kind of death seems like Logan’s personal nightmare. In an airplane bathroom?
VF: Very mogul-Elvis.
SB: In the end, he had no control.
VF: Presumably the rest of the season will now be about who gets control. I am predicting shoulder pads. Lots and lots of shoulder pads.
SB: From the trailer for next week everybody looks even sweatier and more crumpled than usual.
JT: Did anyone feel as if there was significance in Roman’s taking off his jacket before he went to see Logan’s body?
VF: I was struck by the white shirt against the darkness. Maybe he’s the savior of the company?