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What You Never Noticed About Grace From The Umbrella Academy

Superhero shows are often stylish, so the flashy aesthetics on The Umbrella Academy aren't too surprising. But a new theory from Redditor u/coffeezzzombie posits that there's more to Grace Hargreeves' (Jordan Claire Robbins) costumes than meets the eye. It's observations like this that prove the show is much more detailed than it seems in really cool ways. 

To jog your memory, billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) created a robot to raise his seven super-powered wards. He molded her in the image of a perfect 1950s-1960s American housewife, and named her Grace (a possible nod to screen icon and real-life princess Grace Kelly). Why did he choose this outdated and stereotypical aesthetic model? He was either commenting on the artificiality of the period, or just making a movie reference/joke about The Stepford Wives. Spoiler: The Stepford Wives are all robots. If you're going to build a robot wife, you might as well have fun with it, right?

But Grace was more than a literal Stepford to the adopted Hargreeves kids. She raised them, and bonded with them. They all called her Mom. However, at the end of the day, Grace was a robot, not a real woman. Here are the tiny clues in the costuming that signal her artificiality to the audience in subtle ways. 

If you thought Grace looked too perfect on The Umbrella Academy, you were right

Notice how Grace's skirt is held up by wire. It makes her look like a Barbie doll, or character from the cartoon series The Jetsons, or even like one of those metal dress forms in a dress shop. It's too stiff. This is not period accurate, as the Reddit theory points out. In the '60s, women might have worn crinolines or petticoats to fill out their skirts and get that silhouette — but they were flowing, not immobile like Grace's. Another skirt of Grace's has panels that look like pleats from far away, but when you look closer, you see that has been faked as well. 

All of Grace's costumes are just slightly exaggerated in ways like this that remind us that she is more doll than human. Anyone who has owned a Barbie knows that those clothes are similarly lacking in flexibility, as the theory points out. She might have a collar that's a little too big, or lipstick that's a little too red. She stands out from the rest of the house — frozen in time because she doesn't age and existing at a level of aesthetic perfection that's so unnatural, it's almost campy. 

Grace's costumes are actually referencing the Umbrella Academy source material

Here's where the discourse around Grace's costumes gets really interesting: Her wiry skirts as seen on the Netflix Original series may actually have been referencing the way the character is drawn in Gerard Way's original comic

In one panel of The Umbrella Academy Volume 1, "Apocalypse Suite," we see a "naked" Grace attending Reginald's funeral. The image shows that Grace's bare robot form has an actual dress form attached instead of legs. On the series, Grace showed up to the funeral in black mourning attire like everyone else — but it seems like Bá's illustration was hinted at in other ways on the Netflix show. How freaking cool is that? 

When we look to page-to-screen adaptations, we tend to focus more on the big changes and the big omissions rather than the little details that are translated in ways we don't always notice at first. Netflix's The Umbrella Academy made it very clear through her costuming that Grace was a robot, which just made her more emotional moments all the more impactful.