In the recent IGTV show Are You Michelle From Skins? hosted by actress April Pearson, who got her big break as Michelle in Skins she goes into the raves and rants of breaking into the business, post-Skins job market as an actor characterized as “Tony’s girlfriend”, glazing over her female lead status. She interviews fellow stars of Skins and many other younger UK actors going through their trials and tribulations of being a young adult in show business.
Though many early Skins episodes may not hold up in today’s #MeToo era, the writers were able to attempt delicate social subjects of gender and identity politics in the latter season’s new cohort. But would it suffice? While the show had its moments, some character arcs seemed forced, superfluous, and rushed as the show came to a close leaving many viewers with quizzical looks. There were some aspects of this generation that I loved, but the total curveballs they wrote in made it ultimately less believable.
So join me for one more examination in this character analysis of mixed emotions and a wardrobe aesthetics as we unpack the wins and losses of the third and final generation of Skins.
The off-putting thing about this generation is that they immediately began with the Mean Girls angle when introducing the core females. Though it’s not without a twist that Francesca “Franky” Fitzgerald would be the gender bending character that would ultimately dismantle this classic, albeit toxic arc of characters. The ring leader is Mini, obviously blonde and generally pretty, with sweet freckles that barely peak through. Freya Mavor’s portrayal of Mini’s overt bitchiness and equally fearful innocence was made for her. Her style is bold and yes, a little over the top for grade school, or at least in my small town it would be. She mixes notes of the 80s by layering an assortment of biker shorts of all kinds of patterns and materials: lace, metallic, and brights all for a “peekaboo” look over tunic fashion tops and boyfriend blazers. I especially like the knee-high nylons she wears with heeled lace-up booties. Sort of an 80s glam meets Victorian high society.
One of my favorite characters in the series is Liv. Executed spectacularly by thrift enthusiast Laya Lewis, Liv’s character is a spontaneous modern-day socialite, always leading the way to the next party. Instead of being just one of the sidekicks to Mini, the various characters she meets along the way inevitably shape her personality and develop her character: Alex the gay DJ/magician becomes her roommate and ultimately morphs her into a vintage-loving teenage homemaker, who still attends school. Though her ability to mask her deep-rooted troubles with family and *spoiler alert* the death of Grace at the beginning of Season 2 allows her to slow down and take care of those around her. In the beginning, she is clad in flowy summertime layers, which always confused me since Bristol and Britain, in general, are gloomy. Again, heavily clad in jewelry: bangles, necklaces, and door knocker earrings Lily Allen would approve of. Very early Madonna and very maximalist. My favorite outfit of hers was a mid-length sweater dress that looked like it was made a patchwork throw blanket.