Posted by Jessamyn on January 16, 1998 at 16:42:39:
In response to Emma2 Questions, written by Rosamunde on January 12, 1998 at 10:30:28
] I was curious about the costumes. The dress Emma wore at the picnic was beautiful. Did Regency gowns really have a shorter overskirt like that? The gown in the scene where Emma tells Mrs. Weston she loves Mr. Knightley- the I love John/I hate John! scene- seemed to have a sheer bodice-or was it a spencer-is that authentic? What was the reddish shawl(scene where Emma brings Elton's riddle to Harriet) made of? I thought it might be cashmere because it was so light and floaty, but when I consulted my mother, a knitter, she said they didn't have such fabrics and it was probably just yarn. True? I thought they had a varitey of exotic fabrics-silk, satin, furs, cashmere, etc.
] Were the hairstyles authentic? The one I questioned was in the archery scene with the ringlets on the side. Did they really put little bows in it like in the proposal scene?
Well, I haven't seen the film in a while but--yes, overskirts were a common device of Regency gowns, although they got longer and longer and pretty much disappeared in the teens. I've never seen a translucent spencer, but adding a layer of fine net over silk was a frequent evening-gown technique.
The hairstyles...well, most of them are as authentic to the period as anything Ann-Margret does to her hair in a sixties film is authentic to the sixties. That is to say, fashion plates looked like that (especially moving into the late teens and early twenties, the most astonishing collection of objects was perched around women's heads), but very few real people actually did, except for special occasions. BUT, the fact that Paltrow doesn't have curled bangs is unusual for the period, although not impossible.
At any rate, I think Persuasion gave a more realistic look at everyday hairstyles. But even Jane Austen had her hair done for special events.
Check out this link to my page on Regency hairstyles if you haven't been there already--it might give you more of a feel for what was popular.
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