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A Murder at the End of the World Makes Hacker Style Freaky Again | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX

When viewers first meet Darby Hart, the Gen-Z hacker heroine of A Murder at the End of the World—the recent whodunnit miniseries from The OA creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij—she is wearing the quintessential garment of the modern-day disruptive technologist: an ill-fitting hoodie. But unlike, say, Mark Zuckerberg or Mr. Robot, Darby—as played by the incredibly cool Emma Corrin, GQ’s Most Stylish Person of 2023—manages to make an oversized sweatshirt feel dynamic, even desirable. This, according to the show’s costume designer Megan Gray, is partly thanks to Corrin: Ultimately, says Gray, “anything you put on Emma, they make look cool. That was the biggest challenge.”

In the pop culture pantheon, our most beloved reference points for “hacker style” are stuck in the 1990s and early 2000s: Everyone still wants to dress like Trinity and Neo from The Matrix, or Acid Burn and Zero Cool from Hackers. But in A Murder at the End of the World, our star-crossed hacker duo of Corrin’s Darby Hart and Harris Dickinson’s Bill Farrah, who met while nurturing their sleuthing skills on unsolved-crime forums, offer a more homegrown flavor of hacker fashion that feels alluring—even freaky—at last.

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX</cite><cite class="credit"></div></div></div><div class=
Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX

The series takes place across two timelines in two distinct environments: a dusty road trip across the American Midwest circa 2016, and a top-secret retreat at an icy luxury hotel/futuristic prepper compound in present-day Iceland. In the present, Darby’s cherry-red oversized sweatshirt under a red peacoat with silky burgundy basketball shorts makes for a soft, protective shell in the form of an Adam Sandler fit. (“Both Brit and Zal knew that Darby was red,” adds Gray.) Her everyday casualwear is jaunty but comfortable: niche graphic tees, boyish work pants, a requisite thrifted graphic sweatshirt with a night sky motif.

But an invitation to tech billionaire Andy Ronson’s who’s-who Iceland retreat calls for some subversive formalwear, and Hart’s is especially personality-forward. At the first ensemble dinner, she wears a nipped-waist ’80s gray blouse with shoulder pads (it’s reminiscent, even, of Princess Diana, whom Corrin portrayed in The Crown’s fourth season) with a tailored pair of vintage men’s tuxedo pants. Later on, once the stakes have risen, she swaps out the feminine blouse for a vintage Cop Copine top with two red, pauldron-like patches on the shoulders, sheer enough to showcase her black bra and intricate chest tattoo underneath. (This was Corrin’s idea: “They wanted to showcase Darby’s chest tattoo” at that moment.) “The red on the shoulder makes it feel like they’re wearing a sense of armor,” says Gray, “but then there’s something quite seductive about the sheerness of it.”

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX</cite><cite class="credit"></div></div></div><div class=
Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX

Darby’s defining accessory is her grown-out, snow-cone-pink pixie cut; per Gray, “the color, the pink of Darby’s hair, came from a sunset in Iceland that Brit saw.” A key reference point for Darby’s style was musician and part-time hacker Grimes (whose real-life partnership with Elon Musk informed the Ronsons’ Muskian dynamic), but Darby’s cut also recalls the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie, whose pink shag made him look “exactly like the movies told us he would.”

Gray and Corrin worked together to nail down the right tone for Darby, “playing with femininity, but also androgyny”—a distinct dichotomy that harkens back to Corrin’s own personal style. As the Gen-Z daughter of a coroner from small-town Iowa who later becomes a best-selling memoirist, Darby’s life and patchwork sense of style has been entirely shaped by the internet: hacker style for the modern era. It’s not hard to imagine stills of Darby’s outfits—a secondhand lace slip paired with Adidas Superstars, a red peacoat with track jacket stripes down the sleeves—doing numbers on Tumblr.

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX</cite><cite class="credit"></div></div></div><div class=
Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX

And then there’s Bill Farrah, whose younger style in the flashbacks feels characteristic of a hyper-online dude from Ohio; naturally, this also makes him appear trendy in a normcore sort of way. His wardrobe is full of thrift-shop staples: printed camp shirts, cast-off zip-up hoodies, and an earth-toned Coogi-esque sweater he wears when he first meets Darby. (It’s a quick moment, but Lee’s son Zoomer poignantly dons this sweater in the show’s final episode.) With his gas-station-style racer sunglasses, hand-poked face tattoos, and low-grade fashion mullet, Bill could easily pass for an SSENSE e-commerce model.

(Together, Darby and Bill’s fashion chemistry is especially potent. In one flashback sequence during a later episode, there’s a great wide shot of the pair asleep in the bed of a parked pickup truck in the desert, and they’re both matching with their mousy brown baby bangs, ratty white T-shirts, and boxers.)’

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX</cite><cite class="credit"></div></div></div><div class=
Courtesy of Chris Saunders/FX

According to Gray, they had a hard time nailing down Bill’s style while actor Harris Dickinson was sporting a buzz cut during early fittings. “We’re like, ‘What are we missing?’ So we would put on some tattoos, and he had grown his hair out, and we played with the hairstyle,” she recalls. They landed on a ratty, lived-in version of the au-courant shag sported by Dickinson’s real-life peers like Jacob Elordi and Paul Mescal.

“It’s funny because that hairstyle has been around forever, and references on our board for Bill’s character were from the ’90s and early 2000s—but everything is so cyclical,” says Gray, who laments not being able to fully explore Bill’s style in the present-day sequences, to trace how it would have grown from his Midwest beginnings to his career as a Banksy-like guerilla artist. “It’s interesting to see [a hairstyle] like that now also on the cover of GQ.”

Originally Appeared on GQ


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