Now on its third season, Showtime’s dramedy “Billions” masterfully captures the changing dress codes of the finance world
by Jacob Gallagher | Wall Street Journal | April 23, 2018
TYPE “BOBBY AXELROD” into Google and the first recommendation that pops up is “Bobby Axelrod hoodie.” So, to satisfy your curiosity: Mr. Axelrod, the cool-as-an-ice-cube-in-Alaska protagonist of Showtime’s series “Billions,” wears Loro Piana zip-ups. They’re cashmere and just in case you’re really interested in dressing like the man who makes the billions on “Billions,” each one costs $2,295. For a glorified sweatshirt, they’re a needlessly expensive indulgence, which makes them perfect for a show that is the embodiment of what wealth looks like today.
Now on its third season, the drama unfurls a cat-and-mouse chase between Mr. Axelrod (played by Damien Lewis), an ethically flexible Manhattan hedge fund manager, and Charles “Chuck” Rhoades Jr. (played by Paul Giamatti), an ethically flexible United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. The plots weave stock swapping and legal loopholing with fist-bumping bros, strip-club sushi lunches and even an excursion to a BDSM dungeon. In short, the show is glorious, greedy fun.
More than that though, what “Mad Men” did to immortalize the style of 1950s ad agencies, “Billions” is doing for post-Great Recession financial firms. Aside from his used-Camry-priced hoodie, Mr. Axelrod dresses more or less like the guy who sold me my coffee this morning, with his simple, dark A.P.C. jeans and egalitarian Puma sneakers. Gordon Gekko would mistake Bobby Axelrod for an intern.