God Style: The Costumes of “American Gods,” Part Two

Posted on June 02, 2017

Because this show is running neck-and-neck with Twin Peaks as our biggest TV obsession of the year. Because the costumes by costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb are beautifully rendered and manage to describe characters and support story points in an elegant, almost simplistic manner. And of course, because Part One is here and you just knew we had to follow that up with more God-costumes.

So let’s get to it, yes?



Zorya Polunochnaya (Midnight Star)

Neil Gaiman, who wrote the novel “American Gods,” is somewhat obsessed with the mother/maiden/crone formulation in his work. On that alone, we could have predicted what Zorya P would look like before we saw her: the very definition of a dewy, virginal maiden, with Slavic folk costume undertones. Note how her body is very much evident through her dress, unlike the dresses of her sisters. Zorya Vechernyaya wore lace to signify age and Zorya Utrennyaya wore a small, dark floral to indicate her hidden desires, but Zorya Polunochnaya wears a gauzy dress with ruffles and large full blooms. Everything about it speaks of youthful burgeoning female sexuality from a mythic, almost archetypal perspective, like so many of the gods’ costumes.


Technical Boy

Technical Boy remains a total gearhead asshole, from his obnoxious hair to his oversized sneakers to the constant visual buzzing of his highly busy costumes. It’s club-wear ramped up to ridiculous proportions. Archetypal fuccboi.

GOD, you just want to slap him. This kid’s got the most chronic case of backpfeifengesicht ever seen.



Mr. World

Mr. World is all about impeccable blandness. His costume is of the highest quality and perfectly fitted, but absolutely as generic in style as possible. He isn’t burdened with pattern and color. He is both imposing and invisible at the same time. “The Man,” rendered in as broad a form imaginable. “The system” rendered as a blank suit.




Anubis has several costume changes, but they all follow the same theme of darkness-vs.-light and have the same motif of meticulous pleating. His white robes here are simple, but have a stately, almost kingly aspect to them.

Note how much darker he is – how much darker everything is – when Laura faces the scale:

Note the way the pin-tucking in his shirt mimics the pleating in his white robe. Note how both Mr. Jacquel and Mr. Ibis are impeccably dressed, but not necessarily in the highest-quality garments. It speaks of an old-school, fading formality and a loss of power on both their parts. Like so many of the old gods, their raiment is simple to the point of being near-archetypal. Two aging black 20th Century southern gentlemen from Central Casting.

And speaking of Central Casting…



No need to be coy about it:






Nor here:







These are direct, and admirably exact recreations of specific iconic looks worn by iconic figures in 20th century media. So iconic, in fact, that they tend to be among the most dominant and frequently referenced images of these figures. To many, Bowie is forever Ziggy Stardust singing “Life on Mars” and Marilyn is forever standing over that subway grate in The Seven-Year Itch. Virtually no concessions or changes were made to either costume. They are as faithful as possible and that’s the whole point. This isn’t a form of drag. Media is David Bowie and she is Marilyn Monroe. You’re not meant to see Gillian Anderson as these characters – which is partially why she works so hard to mimic them exactly. From Shadow’s perspective, Marilyn Monroe literally just floated into the room – except for some reason, she’s also Lucy Ricardo. And if the light were to hit a different side of her, David Bowie.


[Photo Credit: Starz – Stills: Tom and Lorenzo, Starz]

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