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The Serpent: Shop The 70s Style

Channel The Serpent’s Monique and her outfit today.

Written by High Life North
Published 07.07.2021

The BBC’s eight-part true-crime drama The Serpent had us all seriously enthralled in lockdown and even more so now it’s on NetflixThe show follows Charles Sobhraj, (played by Tahar Rahim) who through a web of fraud and disguise, lured and murdered Western tourists who were traveling Southeast Asia in the 1970s. The series is set upon the rich backdrop of Bangkok, Paris, and Nepal—the entire aesthetic of the show is seriously stylised, despite its heavy subject matter.

There were many takeaways to note from the series, but mostly we can’t stop thinking about the French serial killer’s girlfriend and accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc, played sublimely by Jenna Coleman. Jenna Coleman’s outfits in The Serpent have captured our hearts and our minds! To briefly sum up the plot, Sobhraj, who was nicknamed the serpent due to his expert deception and evasion, gave Marie (Jenna Coleman) the new name of Monique—thereby creating an alter-ego fit for their crimes. Nowhere was this shown more so than in their outward appearance. Chatting clothes may seem flippant in this tale of tragedy, yet the couple’s wardrobes were an integral part of their ruse—they enticed their victims by trapping them within their glamorous façade. Sobhraj posed as a gem dealer and photographer and ‘Monique’ as a model.

Images from the time show the real Marie-Andrée was never far from her adored fashion magazines Vogue and Paris Match. When bringing Monique to life, costume designer Rachel Walsh explained that Marie created a false character to fit into her new life, replicating the glamorous look of the women she saw on the glossy pages of her magazines. Walsh replicated Leclerc’s IRL look on Jenna Coleman by channelling fashion icons Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger Françoise Hardy, and Catherine Deneuve—all of which Marie will have read about in her beloved style mags. Monique and Charles’s style was not the only important costume takeaway. The show nails the outfits of the surrounding characters just as well. A prime example is Nadine Gires in her crochet bikini or Angela Knippenberg’s stunning square neck gown she wears to an embassy party. Walsh had replica items made from images of the real characters and found original 70s gems for the cast on eBay. Whilst not to undermine the serious topics the show covers, if watching has sparked your interest in fashion from decades gone by, working a 70s style look into your wardrobe will put you in good stead for the upcoming S/S 21 season. On the catwalks at Chloé and Balenciaga 70s-inspired flared denim ruled, and at Miu Miu, Stine Goya and Gucci, clothes all nodded to the era of Madame Monique.

The show’s leading lady, Jenna Coleman, provides us with many iconic fashion moments throughout the Serpent series. Even when dressed down, her silk robes and flowing cover-ups scored serious style points. Some pieces in our shopping edit will work for right now, whereas some could be stored for your next sunny getaway. We’ll be recreating Monique’s outfits with oversized collars on shirts and dresses, halter neck-details and chain-print shirts for right now, and working her white kaftan look next time we’re at the beach. For daytime, channel Jenna Coleman’s clothes of the 1970s with our picks of flared denim, plaited belts, gold hoops and pussy-bow blouses. An easy way to incorporate the era is with skinny scarves—wear in the hair or around the neck. We loved Marie’s green version, paired with an off the shoulder striped top. Monique’s sunglasses style alone is one to emulate—perfectly 70s with yellow-lens and tortoiseshell sunglasses. The era’s sartorial scene was synonymous with vivid colour and prints in bold psychedelics and geometric patterns. We’ve even included a piece in our edit from the IT designer of the time Emilio Pucci, in case you wanted to invest in the real deal. We’ve done the hard work for you, scouring vintage boutiques and the hottest labels to bring you picks just like Monique’s. From new-in pieces to real vintage finds, these are the buys to transport you back to the 70s. One thing we wouldn’t recommend? The constant accompaniment of a cigarette in hand!

Mango: "Essential Structured Blazer" £25.99

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Mango: "Suit slim-fit trousers" £12.99

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Rokit: "1970S Burma Yellow Mesh Flower Print Long sleeve blouse" £35.00

Etsy: "Vintage 1970s Short Sleeved Olive Green Collared Dress" £38.95

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Beyond Retro: "Chevron Sleeveless Dress" £27.00

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Mango: "Geometric print trousers" £39.99

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Mango: "Geometric print shirt" £19.99

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Zara: "Rigid Metal Necklace" £19.99

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M&S "Wide Leg Trousers" £19.00

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Mango "Knitted shopper bag" £19.99

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H&M "Necklace" £9.99

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La Redoute "Cotton Macramé Belt" £13.20

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Mango: "Textured Wide Belt" £19.99

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&Other stories: "Shiny Structured Self-Tie Blouse" £65.00

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Net-A-Porter "Jen ribbed stretch-TENCEL Lyocell jersey bodysuit" £85.00

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Mango "Geometric print dress" now £19.99

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Mango "Print wrap dress" £29.99

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Net-A-Porter: Gucci "Ken Scott floral-print organic silk-twill scarf" £140.00

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Mango: "Wrap short jumpsuit" £29.99

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Mango: "Tropical print dress" £19.99

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Net-A-Porter: "Floral-print silk-twill scarf" £140.00

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Kate Spade "Ocean Skinny Dive scarf" £45.00

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Mango: "Printed bow tie dress" £29.99

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Caprilite: "Burnt Orange Scarf Thin Silky Womens Summer Spring" £9.99

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ASOS: "Check print crop top co-ord" £24.50

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Salonwear: "Satin Feel Neck Scarf for Work" £9.00

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ASOS Design: "Bevelled 70s square sunglasses with solid smoke lens" £12.00

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Net-A-Porter: "Trish ribbed stretch TENCEL Lyocell and organic cotton-blend turtleneck top" £75.00

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Net-A-Porter: "Liberia shirred paisley-print crepe top" £139.00

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Jules B: "Sophisticated Perfection Trousers" £450

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Net-A-Porter: "Posie printed silk-blend satin playsuit" £120.00

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Victoria Beckham: "High-waisted Patch Pocket Jean in Allover 70s Wash" £390

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Net-A-Porter: "Tie-front stretch-jersey jumpsuit" now £88.00

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Net-A-Porter: "Pippa belted printed broderie anglaise cotton-blend jumpsuit" £402.52

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Charles & Keith: "Square Toe Penny Loafers" £45.00

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Charles & Keith "Metallic Accent Snap Button Card Holder" £29.00

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Wolf & Badger "Swan Lace Silk Kimono" £312.00

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Wolf & Badger "Ivory Chai Kimono" £215.00

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ASOS: "RAID Wynter heeled ankle boots in white" £29.99

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Wolf & Badger "Sugar Blossom Kimono" £215.00

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Matches Fashion "Jane cotton crocheted-lace mini dress" £190.00

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Matches Fashion: "Halterneck Quirimbas-print satin maxi dress" £685.00

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&Other Stories "Mini Shirt Dress" £65.00

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H&M "Cotton Shirt" £12.99

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&Other Stories: "Flared High Waist Jeans" £65.00

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Net-A-Porter: "Nikole off-the-shoulder striped cotton and silk-blend top" £315.00

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H&M: "Padded bandeau bikini top" £12.99

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Luxe: "Olivia Burton Under The Sea Huggie Hoop Shell Earrings in Gold" £38.00

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River Island "Blue floral print tie front blouse" £32.00

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John Lewis: "Melissa Odabash Large Polished Hoop Earrings, Rose gold" £35.00

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ASOS DESIGN "70's oversized square sunglasses with metal frame in brown" £9.60

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Mango: "Snakeskin effect bag" £9.99

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River Island: "Blue stripe chain print tie back shirt" £32.00

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Boden: "Lara Wrap Top - Asphalt, Groovy Wave" £50.00

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Boden: "Dora Tie Neck Blouse - Grey Squirrel, Splash" £80.00

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Boden "Kitty Midi Shirt Dress - Sapling, Painted Foliage" £120.00

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Boden: "Martha Loafers - Tan Suede" £98.00

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Boden: "Richmond 7/8 Trousers - Azalea" £70.00

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KITRI: "Nina Pink Pj Top" £85.00

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Accessorize London: "Positano Colourful Triangle Bikini Top Blue" £6.60

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H&M "6pack rings" £7.00

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Victoria Beckham: "Classic Navigator" £195.00

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Retro Spectacle: "Onyx Mod 11 Col 1" £59.00

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H&M: "9 pack rings" £9.99

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Victoria Beckham: "High-waisted Patch Pocket Jean in 70s Wash" £450

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Net-A-Porter: "Givenchy Aviator-style gold-tone and tortoiseshell acetate sunglasses" £245.00

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