this instagram account is celebrating the garish fashion on ‘the sopranos’
Carmela Soprano > Carrie Bradshaw.
Imagery from The Sopranos/@sopranosstyle Instagram.
If someone asked you to list the most stylish TV shows of all time, what would you say? Sex And The City, obviously, and their fellow slick Upper East Siders in Gossip Girl. The power-suit clad OTT villains of Dynasty maybe. Mad Men in all its chain-smoking, pencil-skirt glory. Whatever you think of, it’s fair to say that The Sopranos wouldn’t usually make that list. Sadly, the french tipped nails, garish prints, velour tracksuits and snakeskin leather of Tony Soprano’s mafioso family have never been considered the height of fashion. Until now.
A new Instagram account, @sopranosstyle, is dedicated to belatedly celebrating the garish sartorial choices of Tony, Carmela, Paulie, Silvio, Adriana and the whole clan. Chronicling every outfit on the show -- not unlike fellow viral Instagram sensation Every Outfit on SATC -- @sopranosstyle promises to bring us “all the best looks from your favourite gaudy goombahs and stylish Italian stallions”. And perhaps because it’s the first time we’ve seen these outfits collated together, as a sort of capsule collection of questionable taste, they kind of look… good? Suddenly it’s easy to have a new appreciation for Rosalie’s leopard print blazers, Carmela’s square tipped manicures, Adriana’s cosy turtlenecks. Even the cropped denim capped-sleeve shirts look good! Kind of.
@Sopranosstyle is the brain-child of Emilia Petrarca, fashion journalist and Sopranos fan, who refers to the account as her “alter-ego”. Too young to watch the violent, cerebral show when it first aired in 1999, Emilia began binging on it a few years ago and immediately gained a retrospective appreciation for the show’s fashion. “I found myself pausing episodes all the time to take screenshots of the costumes”, Emilia tells i-D. “It wouldn’t have occurred to me to start an Instagram account dedicated just to their fashion though, if it wasn’t for @everyoutfitonsatc. They do a great job of highlighting all the little details the audience might have missed, and connecting the outfits to what’s happening in fashion right now, which I try to do too. I also just felt like the style on The Sopranos deserved the same sort of encyclopedia appreciation as SATC. “The aesthetic isn’t as high-fashion, but it’s just as iconic.”
The Soprano clan certainly might not embrace high fashion, but that doesn’t mean their style choices didn’t embrace luxury. Using their aesthetic as a status symbol, the characters adore diamonds, fur, and of course, Louis Vuitton embossed everything. Minimalism? No thank you. “What makes the show so stylish is that its aesthetic is the antithesis of high-fashion”, explains Emilia. “Some people would call Carmela’s taste ‘tacky’ or ‘gaudy’, which I guess it is, but it’s also unapologetic. She styles her luxury items with french tips and highlights, and she’s proud of it. The Sopranos is all about the American dream and getting what’s yours, and the characters express that through their clothes. Everything is so extra, but in a way that still feels attainable.”
And while Carmela Soprano would definitely never spend $40,000 on Manolos a-la Carrie Bradshaw (Tony would flip), it’s clear that the style choices on the show, and the show itself, was just as culturally iconic as Sex and the City, especially for New Yorkers and Italian Americans. Emilia, who is half-Italian and a native New Yorker, grew up watching her relatives don white tank tops and gold chains while quoting lines from the show verbatim. “I feel a particularly affinity to the characters on The Sopranos,” she says. “Their style is like my fantasy wardrobe -- it’s part costume, but it also feels true to who I am.”
Part of what makes @sopranosstyle feel so current, though, even though the show premiered almost 20 years ago, is that the unashamedly tacky style the characters embrace is slowly becoming fashionable once again. “Just look at the Italian brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, maybe even Gucci to some extent”, says Emilia. “There’s clearly a market for this kind of aesthetic, still."
2018 has already seen the dubious return of some of The Sopranos most iconic looks -- Kim Kardashian debuted a return of Carmela’s favourite french tipped nails at the Met Gala back in May, while Juicy Couture announced their glorious return to fashion week all the way back in January. And let’s be honest, Silvio and Furio’s printed silk shirts are what Tan France tells every person on Queer Eye to introduce to their new wardrobe. Even the trademark Soprano tracksuits -- what Emilia refers to by their colloquial name, “Bensonhurst tuxedos” -- are experiencing a revival thanks to fashion’s streetwear obsessed scumbro phase.
“I think the noughties has been back for a minute now”, says Emilia. “You only have to look at the resurgence of Paris Hilton -- her return to public consciousness to me indicates a more general desire to dress the opposite of high-fashion, to look uninfluenced, uncurated. Justin Bieber is wearing slippers in public the same way Tony Soprano would wear them in his driveway.
“Tackiness can be a form of rebellion. Until high-fashion adopts it, of course.”