Peter Capaldi, who plays the Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who; has said that his famous costume was inspired by Twin Peaks creator David Lynch and artist David Bowie. Under the direction of Sherlock creator Steven Moffat, Capaldi took over as the show’s lead character in 2013; succeeding Matt Smith after the 50th-anniversary special.
This was a childhood dream come true for the Scottish actor; who would go on to combat the Daleks, Cybermen, and Ice Warriors that had forced him to hide behind the sofa as a child. Capaldi was regarded as a throwback to classic Doctors, as an older man with a more alien and disagreeable demeanour than his immediate successors.
In the 2017 Christmas special “Twice Upon a Time,” he wrestled with his own morals, becoming a kinder; more affable figure before leaving the mantle to current Doctor Jodie Whittaker. Capaldi has been a fantastic ambassador for Britain’s flagship sci-fi series since leaving the programme; speaking favourably on his time on the show despite moving on to considerably greater things like a supporting role in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
Capaldi acknowledged in an interview with The Guardian that the Twelfth Doctor’s stripped-back; the minimalist wardrobe was inspired by both filmmaker David Lynch and musician David Bowie. The actor was questioned about his musical influences as a kid while promoting his first solo record; and one of them was the late glam-rock legend, David Bowie. This sparked a debate about whether the quirky pop star’s style impacted Capaldi’s timelord’s clothing; which the actor confirmed, stating, “Yeah, him and David Lynch, who used to wear that buttoned-up white shirt thing.”
In the quote below, he goes on to say that there was a third, even more heartwarming, inspiration behind his outfit’s simple look:
“No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord”
“Another reason was I thought kids could look like the Doctor without having to spend any money. Rather than buying a costume, they could just button up their school shirt.”
When looking at Capaldi’s clothing, it’s easy to see how both of these pop culture titans influenced him. Lynch has had a characteristic style for most of his career; consisting of a buttoned-up shirt without the customary necktie associated with smart attire; as he explains. Capaldi’s many types of shirt or occasional donning of a red velvet coat. On the other hand, always had a certain bohemian vibe via unusual hues or tiny changes; which are replicated in Bowie’s assortment of suits.
When Capaldi’s costume was first revealed in 2014, he stated that it expressed “No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord,”; which is all the more evident in taking inspiration from two counter-cultural figures.
What’s more intriguing is Capaldi’s statement that the bare-knuckled look was also done for the sake of kids; who wanted to copy their beloved hero. True, the Twelfth Doctor’s wardrobe is a pricey one; complete with pristine Doc Marten boots and a custom-lined Crombie coat. While this may be a stumbling block for professional cosplayers; a young fan can easily emulate Capaldi’s Doctor’s silhouette; using clothes they already own to feel like a time and space adventurer. Such attention to detail demonstrates Capaldi’s grasp of Doctor Who’s primary audience while customising the cosmic wanderer look for his version of the character.