Ryan Murphy’s new limited series, “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans,” takes viewers into a defunct world, set in the rooms once inhabited by the carefully coifed fixtures of Manhattan’s high society.
The show examines the rift between the writer Truman Capote and his friends — a pack of socialites whom he called his “Swans” — after a fictionalized excerpt from his unfinished novel spilling their secrets was published in Esquire magazine in 1975.
The Swans, each dressed in her own polished, throwback style, are played by an impressive cast: Diane Lane as Nancy “Slim” Keith, Calista Flockhart as Lee Radziwill, Naomi Watts as Barbara “Babe” Paley and Chloë Sevigny as C.Z. Guest.
Ahead of the release of the first two episodes, members of the Styles desk gathered to discuss the designers highlighted in the series and how the show made them nostalgic, but also hopeful, for the return of a more intentional way of dressing.
VANESSA FRIEDMAN This show is such a fashion feast (Verdura! Hermès! Mainbocher!) that it’s hard to know where to start. But I do wonder whether having this example of extreme wardrobing dangled so alluringly on all our small screens will herald an end to the sweatpants era, or instead — because it reveals how fashion can be an armature covering corrosion and rot — give coordinated dressing a bad name.
JESSICA TESTA I don’t expect this show will start a frenzy for matching tweed sets and perfect coifs (although, boy, I’d love to be wrong). One thing I do think will resonate with a modern audience is the attitude of discernment that the Swans have.