Sometimes a movie character comes along whom one just instantly adores…. For me, Newt Scamander is one of those!
To be honest, I didn’t initially have extremely high hopes for Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. I’m an enormous Harry Potter fan, but somehow I anticipated – skeptically – that this spin-off might not live up to the quality of the eight original H.P. films. On the contrary, Fantastic Beasts turned out to be a spectacular film in its own right (and I was very glad to have been wrong)!
Now, on to Newt…. Well, what’s not to like? The character himself claims that other people tend to find him annoying, but I found him the reverse. To wit:
- He loves animals, & attempts to rescue endangered ones from ignorant humans
- He carries an entire wildlife refuge in his suitcase
- He’s a Hufflepuff, complete with knitted scarf in bumblebee-colours
- He wears multiple layers of tweed!
I rest my case. Newt Scamander is officially both admirable (points 1 & 2) and adorable (points 3 & 4) – or, to use the modern vernacular, “adorkable”.
Now, about that adorkable wardrobe….
~ The Layers of Tweediness ~
As you can see, Newt wears the following, in order:
* white shirt
* marigold-coloured waistcoat
* brown tweed jacket
* and to top it all off (literally), the most glorious blue overcoat…
…with a sweet double-button detail on the back!
Here’s what Daniel Radcliffe – a.k.a. Harry Potter – allegedly opined about the greatness of the greatcoat:
Admittedly, my own reaction to the brilliant costume was a little less – ahem – profane! 😉
~ The Watch Chain ~
This merits an entry all on its own, as it’s a very nifty and quite unique little accoutrement:
Yes, it’s leather, rather than metal! So it’s really a watch-strap, in a sense, rather than a watch-chain.
You can just glimpse it peeking out when the whole ensemble is put together:
I haven’t yet ascertained what the pattern on the metal disc is – perhaps a bird? Do let me know if you have any info, or theories, pertaining to this detail.
But the close-up certainly showcases to perfection the lengths to which the costumers went to ensure authenticity by aging the buttons and vest. (Did Newt do that mending himself? Or did his Mum do it? Either way, he just ends up getting more adorable!)
~ The Suitcase ~
Externals first: What a lovely suitcase! It has reinforced corners… and brass hardware… and caramel leather that matches that equally lovely bench…. Sigh!
But this suitcase also has a secret identity….
Okay, I guess I already gave away the suitcase’s secret in my list above, so I’ll just assume we all know by now that Newt’s suitcase is far more than simply an accessory, or a handy place to carry PJs…
…although it can conveniently be set to foil Muggles, by appearing as though it contains nothing more than standard-issue 1920s men’s attire and travel accessories:
In actual fact, however, it contains Newt’s “sanctuary”:
And meanwhile, back on the costume-front… notice anything else in this photo? Well, I did! Read on….
~ The Boots ~
I saved the best for last. Yes, like the whipped cream on top or the icing in the centre, these are my favourite part. In fact, were I not already doing an entire post on this costume, these boots would likely have made it onto my list of “hidden boots”… because at first, they look like fairly normal (albeit gorgeous) brown leather work boots of the Twenties:
But when the pants are tucked in later on, it becomes apparent that these are much more akin to 1940s “jump boots”, because they do, in fact, have TWO STRAPS! (Yes, I got very excited when I spotted this.)
Perhaps in keeping with their paratrooper-esque styling, those boot-straps seem to prefer making an appearance during dramatic action sequences!
Right! Have I left any details out?
Ah yes, the bowtie:
And that reminds me also to mention Newt’s precious pocket-inhabitant: the Bowtruckle.
I mean, how can you not love a man whose constant companion is basically both a plant and an animal?
And as always, that brings me to the “important message” part… because what really makes Newt such a sterling character is his commitment to those who cannot speak for themselves. He’s a scientist, conservationist, animal-lover, and activist.
For an interesting discussion of this aspect to the film, see this article:
Newt Scamander, I officially adore you! ❤
P.S. Knitters & crocheters of the world, I must once again nudge you to take note of a wonderfully woolly cinematic accessory:
Yes, it’s a Hufflepuff scarf, and I think it begs to be re-created! Here are a handful of folks who are already making similar articles:
And finally, here are a couple of websites that I’d like to acknowledge, for costume close-ups & discussion:
~ costume designer: Colleen Atwood ~
* UPDATE! Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them wins Best Costume award at the Oscars! *
I feel so smug. 😉