Today I watched the newest version of Pride & Prejudice. For about the millionth time, might I add. I always enjoy the clothing - the empire waists, the long skirts, the ribbons. Keira Knightly's coats (left) are the items that I always specifically envy. They're long and flowy and wonderful, and if I had one, I would wear it all the time. And of course, I always appreciate the beauty of the pearl-studded hairstyle on the right. I will not let the fact that my brother, while passing through the room where I was watching tv, said, "What's that in her hair? Dandruff?" deter me. (Oh come on, it does not look like dandruff!)
I found an interview with Jacqueline Durran, the costume designer for the movie, which you can read here. I wish the interview got into more detail, but it was interesting to learn a bit about what was going on behind the beautiful wardrobes. For, example, "most film versions of the book were set in and around 1815. The director decided that this version would be set in 1796/7, so we were talking about a different era of fashion." Hmm. It never even occurred to me to think about that. I found a better interview here that delved a little deeper into Durran's mind. My favorite questions/answers were:
"How did you differentiate between the five sisters, costume-wise?
Lizzie Bennet was the tomboy, and wore earth colours because she loved the countryside. Jane was the most refined, and yet it's still all a bit slapdash and homemade, because the Bennets have no money. One of the main things Joe wanted was for the whole thing to have a provincial feel. Mary is the bluestocking: serious and practical. And then Lydia and Kitty are a bit Tweedledum and Tweedledee in a kind of teenage way. I tried to make it so that they'd be sort of mirror images. If one's wearing a green dress, the other will wear a green jacket; so you always have a visual asymmetry between the two.
His costume had a series of stages. The first time we see him he's at Meriton, where he has a very stiffly tailored jacket on, and he's quite contained and rigid. He stays in that rigid form for the first part of the film. By the time we get to the proposal that goes wrong in the rain, we move to a similar cut, but a much softer fabric. And then later he's got a completely different cut of coat, not interlined, and he wears it undone. The nth degree is him walking through the mist in the morning, completely undressed by 18th-century standards. It's absolutely unlikely, but then Lizzie's in her nightie, so what can you say?"
Interesting stuff, no?
Oh dear. I have a sudden desire to go to a ball and find my Mr. Darcy.