73. Fashion in The Avengers

Today’s topic for our super-secret counter-intelligent Spy podcast is The Avengers! No, not that Avengers, the serialized British television show The Avengers, which ran from 1961 to 1969. The Avengers, a kind of satirical, stylized drama, played on the more lighthearted aspects of the Cold War, the space race and the Youthquake. In terms of tone, The Avengers is more Dr. Who than James Bond. The show follows the adventures of John Steed, a British spy, who works for a shadowy organization run by Mother and Father. Throughout the show he is partnered with, at first a forgettable male doctor, and then several far-more-competent, female super-spies, of whom Emma Peel is likely the most famous. The fashion of the era, was an important part of the style and look of the show and many mod designers, such as Pierre Cardin, lent their skills or design to the costuming.

While it might be easy to assume that the Avengers only made use of fashion for Cathy Gale, Emma Peel or Tara King, who exemplified different parts of that swinging Mod style, the character of John Steed represents an important part of 1960s fashion, the rise of the Edward Dandy. We’re gonna talk about it all today, or almost all of it, or maybe only a few seasons of it, but we’re definitely going to talk about it a lot.

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Dana Goodin