'Last Tango in Halifax': Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid dress well for a subtle, sensual romance

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Most TV shows concentrate on fashion for the young. Granted super skinny jeans, tank tops and shorts look far better on slim, supple bodies, but let's face it, people continue to dress, some very well, as they age.

For a primer on people in their 70s looking terrific, watch the gentle and very sweet drama, "Last Tango in Halifax," returning for Season 2 Sunday, June 29, on PBS (check local listings).

Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid play Alan and Ceila, who fall in love again after being childhood sweethearts and separated for decades. Besides that he is a gentleman and she a lady, they want to look their best for each other during their courtship.

"What I wanted to achieve with the overall feeling was real life, a working wardrobe, not too stylized," Ian Holmes, costume designer, tells Zap2it. "Something that looks that someone would wear on a day-to-day basis."

He shopped for them at Marks & Spencer, and John Lewis.

People in their 70s are hardly ever seen as sensual, and their clothes, reflect a quieter, more subtle romance.

"It's going off the way the characters are," Holmes says. "What we did with Alan, Derek's  character, once the character was up and running, we changed him slightly. There was an influence of Celia -- little bits of elements, a tie, a type of pullover."

Alan wears a tweed jacket with leather buttons and corduroy pants.

"He is of that type of age and generation, when you made a little bit more of an effort," Holmes says. "You were always seen with a tie and a jacket rather than more casual. He is kind of an old school gentleman."

Celia wears a Jaeger waterfall slim cardigan, a French blue shell and wide-legged trousers.

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The couple on their wedding day is pretty much the definition of understated elegance.

"Dressing for someone her age, there are lots of things to consider," Holmes says. "The length of skirt, sleeve length and that both married before. We are not going to embark on a meringue type dress. I wanted something age appropriate."

He scoured the internet, searching for a longer coat and found designer Joyce Young, who created a champagne lace silk coat.

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Celia wore a conservative, light blue suit when they officially married, essentially running off to the registry office. "That is an off-the-rack suit," Holmes says. "It is classic elegance."

Her character "was always turned out, and we changed her a little bit. She is very, very smart," he says.

Holmes often meets the actors in London and they go shopping for the characters' wardrobe. That way everyone agrees on what the clothes project about the characters and Holmes can start the tailoring.

"A lot of things on television seem to be more action driven and involve lots of youngsters, whereas this is people of a certain age," Holmes says. "They have been on their journey, and they know who they are."
Photo/Video credit: PBS