Can’t keep your eyes off the enchanting gowns of Emma Woodhouse in the romantic comedy adaptation Emma? Every gown and dress that Emma and other characters wear in the movie are incredibly detailed. They are not only gorgeous but also historically accurate. Even eagle-eyed fans can’t find any fault in them. Amazing!
Costumes are undoubtedly an important part of period movies. When the characters’ outfits are historically correct, viewers are able to fully lose themselves in the atmosphere of the time. If viewers find small mistakes in them, they’ll likely leave negative feedback after watching the film.
To make the film’s costumes true to history, the costume designers need to carefully study archives, vintage patterns, and the fabrics of the historical period referring to the film’s setting. And below are 12 of the most spectacular, historically accurate movie costumes that are brought to screen. Let’s check them out!
Source: © Emma. / Working Title Films
Alexandra Byrne, the Oscar-winning costume designer, is the man behind delicate and historically correct costumes in the 2020 period romantic comedy film Emma. To understand the colors, fabrics, and wardrobe items popular in the 1800s, Byrne carefully studied archives, vintage patterns, and the fabrics of the Renaissance period.
Byrne also got inspired by museum exhibits. This inspired him to make stunning dresses, including the pale-pink spencer that Emma wore. It was actually a part of the look that Regency-era fashionistas liked.
Additionally, Emma and other female characters sometimes appear in the then-popular chemisettes, which were thin blouses with many frills at the neck.
The airy dress that helps Emma shines at a social event in the film is also worth mentioning. It’s an exact copy of a bright silk dress from the 1810s, a living proof of how detailed the costumes were. The designer team made an excellent job at replicating the intricate ornament of the garment. Girls all adore this dress, right?
The 1997 epic romance film Titanic is such a huge hit. The film grossed a worldwide total of over $2.2 billion and garnered dozens of nominations and awards. At the 70th Academy Awards, Titanic won seven awards, including one for Best Costume Design.
Deborah Lynn Scott was in charge of the film’s costumes and showed the world her perfect work. The movie plot was based on a famous historical event, which means all the outfits need to convey the epoch accurately, and with the tiniest details. The first that Scott does was carefully study the time and read many books about what outfits the representatives of elite society would appear in public.
For example, the striped costume that Rose wore in an after-lunch scene in the film is almost an exact copy of the clothes from French fashion magazines of the year 1912.
Source: © Titanic / Paramount Pictures
The characters’ underwear is also what Scott paid much attention to. Women in 1912 didn’t were bras, but they were expected to have a clearly defined silhouette in public. That’s why Rose always wears corsets.
The Duchess (2008)
The Duchess (2008) might not be that success without delicate, historically accurate costumes designed for Keira Knightley who played Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire. And Michael O’Connor, a British costume designer, won the award at the 2009 Academy Awards for his work.
The Duchess of Devonshire was considered the most fashionable in the circles of the English aristocracy at some point. And O’Connor did a perfect job. For example, the wedding dress Keira Knightley wears was obviously inspired by the luxury French outfits of the end of the 1770s.
O’Connor also paid attention to the Dutchess’ wide-brimmed hats with ostrich feathers. Georgiana Cavendish made that hat trend, so he reflected this fact in Keira Knightley’s wardrobe as well.
Little Women (2019)
The hard work of the costume designer team in the coming-of-age period drama film Little Women paid off. Released in 2019, the movie won an Oscar for “Best Costumes” in 2020.
Although Jacqueline Durran let some historical inaccuracies slide, most of the costumes were painfully accurate for this epoch. Meg’s bright green scarf is an example. Some viewers might find it inappropriate for simple people in the 1850s. But in fact, they started to produce synthetic dyes on an industrial scale. As a result, colors such as royal blue, bright purple, and green became affordable for ordinary people like Meg.
The film’s costume designer, Bina Daigeler, went on a 3-week tour across China to immerse herself in the history of the country. She also studied the clothes of the Tang Dynasty (the seventh century to the tenth century). The brightness of the costume’s colors reveals their social status: officials would wear purple, blue, and red uniforms; while ordinary people’s dresses would don up to 5 colors at once.
Source: © Mulan / Walt Disney Pictures
The scene in which Mulan visits the matchmaker is perhaps the most memorable in the film. She wears a hanfu, a traditional Chinese dress. It is decorated with handmade embroidery, consisting of butterflies, magnolias, and dragons. It took Daigeler almost 4 weeks to make it.