September 24, 2023

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7 Times ‘Succession’ Made Luxury Fashion Look Brutally Basic

Photo-Illustration: The Cut; Photos: Retailers

As Succession’s fourth and final season airs, the pseudo-intellectual fans can’t shut up about “Substack meets MasterClass meets The Economist meets The New Yorker,” the easily titillated are still obsessed with Roman’s filthy mouth, and all of us have united to cackle at Tom Wambsgans’s delightful hatred of that “ludicrously capacious” Burberry bag.

Somehow, Cousin Greg’s eager-beaver date, “Bridget Randomfuck,” managed to make an even more disgraceful faux pas than asking Uncle Logan for a selfie — she brought a gargantuan, conspicuous bag to his terribly morose birthday party, and it exposed her identity as a barely rich-passing try-hard. We believe Burberry still very much counts as luxury; at $2,890, that bag costs more than most people’s monthly rent. But within the richer-than-Richie-Rich Roy family, entry-level accessories garishly splattered with the brand’s identity are a tell that you still keep a dust bag preserved in your closet to remember that what you own is real. Despite being new money (Kendall, Shiv, and Roman are only the second generation of the family business, after all), the Roys are desperate to embody old money with their quiet and muted tones.

Photo: HBO

Welcome to the world of stealth wealth, the Succession style of luxury that whispers with its Maison Margiela tees and Brunello Cucinelli suits, which typically cost at least five times that of anything with a visible logo. In this rich-eat-rich universe of the one percent, the characters get off on talking down to each other, and belittling their luxury buys is exactly how they remind people where they stand. In honor of Kendall’s plain-looking but exorbitantly expensive baseball caps, we have ranked seven moments from the show that showcase the Roy brand of quiet opulence on a scale of one to ten Loro Piana hats.

Thirsting for crumbs of respect and acceptance from big daddy Logan, Tom spends a ridiculous fortune on buying him a Patek Philippe timepiece as a birthday gift in the series premiere. While the family plays a humiliating game of softball, the excited social climber delivers his present in a shiny wooden box. “It’s, uh, Patek Philippe,” Tom announces. Logan, unimpressed and unbothered, responds in typical fashion: “Yeah, it says Patek Philippe here.” The patriarch then passes off the very expensive watch to a poor family at the stadium to make up for Roman’s behavior of baiting a child with a million dollars. Eight out of ten Loro Piana hats.

Kendall was bred to recognize the power of stealth wealth, and he truly believes that money can actually buy him anything. Idealistic as ever, the wishful heir-to-be buys a pair of $500 Lanvin sneakers on his way to an investment meeting with an artists’ collective, hoping to sway them with his hype merch in the show’s first season. Of course, when that fails, Kendall dramatically discards the shoes and his corporate Silicon Valley tycoon image without a second thought. “I got these sneakers on the way down here because I thought you’d all be dressed like fuckin’ Björk, and I wanted to make an impression,” he says. “So, I’m a jackass … I can take them off.” Despite the little presentation, lovelorn Kendall loses the investment. Nine out of ten Loro Piana hats.

Sorry to hurt the Wambsfans, but Roman is a hilarious bully. In season two, the bratty Roy sibling asks his sister’s boyfriend, “Where do you buy your suits, by the way, Tom? Maybe that’s why I’m not moving as fast as you. I just don’t have that boxy, corporate look. Right? I mean, I’m sorry, but like, what the fuck? You look like a Transformer.” Shiv, a doting (read: emotionally abusive) girlfriend as always, adds, “He’s thrifty and he has the worst taste in suits.” Michelle Matland, the show’s costume designer, has previously revealed that Tom’s wardrobe is mostly Zegna. Well, sometimes you just can’t win with the Über rich. Seven out of ten Loro Piana hats.

Why do so many of these moments include Tom? Despite their unrivaled disdain for each other, the Roy siblings manage to unify against their peasant-adjacent extended midwestern family. Tom arrives at Argestes, the shmancy tech-and-media conference for the fattest wolves, in a Moncler puffer vest that loudly draws attention to its hefty price. Sure, other attendees also wore puffy jackets, but they were relentlessly inconspicuous and probably more expensive. “Nice vest, Wambsgans. It’s so puffy. What’s it stuffed with? Your hopes and dreams?” asks Roman, so brutally that you can almost see the Moncler logo sitting proud on Tom’s padded chest deflate just a tiny bit. Eight out of ten Loro Piana hats.

Babygirl Kendall creates an immersive birthing-canal experience for his 40th, hoping to be surrounded by people who celebrate him. Of course, that’s a tough ask on Succession; this family can and will buy anything but tenderness. As the party gets more destructive, Kendall unravels and goes on a rampage to find the blotchy, handmade present his kids got for him. In an attempt to salvage the meltdown, his then-girlfriend and heiress Naomi Pierce whips out her gift to him instead: a Rolex watch. Big mistake, huge. “I don’t wanna be a dick, but I have a watch. I have my watch,” he says. Hungry-for-love Kendall hates the stupid lavish gift because it’s not inscribed. Six out of ten Loro Piana hats.

In the season-three finale, Shiv wears a questionable floral dress for mean mother dearest Caroline’s wedding in Tuscany. But hawkeyed Succession viewers expect nothing less than The Row from the most manipulative Roy sibling. Twitter was furious that Shiv wore an easily recognizable (and attainable) Ted Baker dress for the dramatic event. A favorite ruffled tweet: “It has come to my attention that Shiv’s dress for the Succession finale was Ted Baker and I’m afraid that goes beyond the suspension of disbelief … She would never in ten million light years wear Ted Baker, this is horrendous.” By the way, the “as cheap as Macy’s” dress was actually $223. Ten out of ten Loro Piana hats.

It’s only been a week, but it’s hard to imagine a world where the classic Burberry checks didn’t remind us of Tom dragging Greg’s date for her larger-than-life tote. “What’s even in there? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail? I mean, Greg, it’s monstrous. It’s gargantuan. You could take it camping. You could slide it across the floor after a bank job,” he says. Even for the Disgusting Brothers, this line of cutthroat and riotous insults is just superior conversation. Ten out of ten Loro Piana hats.