Normal People just might be one of the strongest book-to-television-series adaptations that ever existed. It could be the significant insignificance of it – it is after all, a somewhat normal teenage love story, replete with crushing heart break, formative sexual encounters and an on-again-off-again life cycle. The novel, written by Irish author Sally Rooney, is almost like the romantic calling card of a generation – one moving away from the ideals of Clueless and Mean Girls but still deeply rooted in class, gender and social capital (only in this case, it’s flipped). Like the book, the series follows young adults Marianne and Connell through school and then college in Ireland, as they navigate love, sex and identity. It’s sad, it’s relatable and it’s great.
It lends itself incredibly well to a visual medium. We experience on-screen chemistry so visceral it’s hard to believe the two leads, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, aren’t together in real life. But it also quantifies the physical appearances of both characters most of us had made up in our heads. And whether it fits your image or not, it’s fair to say that both Marianne’s and Connell’s wardrobes are the perfect depiction of who we believe they are.
Take Connell’s chain – it’s the piece of jewellery that sparked heated internet debate and warranted its own Instagram account. Is it the sexiest thing we’ve ever seen or the daggiest? And Marianne, who finds more and more of herself throughout the course of the 12 short episodes, and transitions from rigid school yard garb to a vintage-cum-high-street wardrobe, messed up waves and an incredible set of bangs. Take the latter part of the series, set in her family’s Italian villa. She rotates between a faded gingham mini and a black spaghetti strap sun dress, Italian sun ablaze and gelato in hand. It’s like her comeuppance in life and in love: beauty, Italy, and Connell melting in the palm of her hand.
In short, the series is one to devour, both in its messaging and its fashion. It’s normal, but also not so normal. Its runaway success is all the proof you need. Below, we’ve detailed Marianne via her wardrobe – with an appearance by Connell’s chain, obviously. Enjoy, and if you haven’t already watched, do so this weekend.
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