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Shawna Trpcic

Shawna Trpcic - "Torchwood" Tv Series - About redefining Captain Jack’s look

Saturday 28 May 2011, by Webmaster

When the new season of ’Torchwood’ arrives on Starz July 8, Captain Jack Harkness will be sporting a new look.

Not only was most of the sci-fi show’s new season filmed in the United States rather than the U.K., other aspects of the drama got a makeover as well.

Creator Russell T Davies commissioned the show’s costume designer, Shawna Trpcic (a veteran of ’Dollhouse,’ ’Firefly’ and ’Angel’) to make a new version of Jack’s iconic coat. We’ve exclusively got the first photo of Jack in the new season of ’Torchwood,’ wearing his new and improved greatcoat.

Part of the reason Trpcic redesigned the coat and had it custom-made made by Italian tailors before production on the new season got underway: Los Angeles, where much ’Torchwood: Miracle Day’ was shot earlier this year, is much warmer than Wales, which is where previous seasons of the show were filmed. The heavier versions of the greatcoat that actor John Barrowman wore in other seasons were just too much, in a variety of ways.

"The coat from England was actually made out of a cotton, rather than a wool. And it also fit him quite broadly off the shoulder, and I just wanted to modernize it, give it a more modern fit, but leave the drape and keep it cape-like," Trpcic said in an interview on the show’s set in February.

"I brought in the shoulders about two inches, so they’d be actually on his shoulders, and I brought in the waist almost 24 inches. He’s lost weight, but the other coat was quite billowy and I’m sure that was to cover layers of warmth, because it was a lot colder in Wales. I got a cashmere-blend wool, and it’s a very, very fine [material], so he would be OK in the heat and the L.A. sunshine."

The cashmere blend not only breathes well, it gives the coat the kind of movement and swagger that Jack brings with him on every adventure.

There were other fashion challenges as well, Trpcic said: She said she enjoyed "redefining [Jack’s fellow ’Torchwood’ alient-fighter] Gwen and making her just a little bit sexier and playing with her femininity a little bit." Lauren Ambrose, who plays a P.R. executive named Jilly, was fun to dress "because she’s high-fashion."

Still, Jack’s military-inspired greatcoat is an iconic piece of sci-fi couture. Was Trpcic nervous at all about revamping Captain Jack’s famous jacket?

"Well, I worked on ’Firefly,’ so I’m kind of used to iconic captain’s coats and the importance of staying loyal to what the fans expect and to what we need," she said.