This Week We're Channelling: Carl Showalter in Fargo

Steve Buscemi’s character in the Coen brothers’ classic film Fargo is incapable in every respect except style. This week, we unpack his unintentional sartorial prowess.
Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare in Fargo (1996).

Over 20 years since its release, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Fargo (1996) is widely considered a cinematic classic, renowned for its dark humour and captivating narrative. It’s an equal parts hilarious and violent depiction of disorganised crime - an absurd and somewhat twisted telling of events with a bunch of oddball characters at the heart, played by a stellar cast featuring the likes of Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi.

Its storyline aside, Fargo provides sartorial inspiration in spades, thanks mostly to the film’s stark and icy Minnesotan backdrop, which calls for suitably wintry costuming. Perhaps best encapsulating rakish winter wear is Buscemi as the bumbling and amateurish small-time criminal Carl Showalter. Despite his general incompetence in most aspects of daily life, style is something he seems to have a strong grasp of, however unintentional his mastery may be. It’s his naive and unassuming approach to clothing that appeals to us: he treats fashion as an afterthought, a means to an end. Yet, somehow he manages to succeed in the style stakes, pulling his outfits off with aplomb and garnering a status as an accidental icon.


    Aobh O'Brien-Moody


    January 2019


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