12 Times Costume Designers Messed Up But Created Real Masterpieces That Conquer The Hearts of Viewers

The costume design is one of the most important aspects of any historical drama. Costume designers have to work inside a relatively well-defined box. But this does not mean that they have to be constrained to so-called historical circumstances. Accuracy is not always important or relevant to the story. Remember, we are talking about historical movies for entertainment, not documentaries for studying. Have you ever wondered how Cleopatra costomes looked like? 
A lot of period costumes are unflattering and often prudish to modern tastes. And can also be uncomfortable. Therefore, in some of the movies, the designers intentionally changed the details freely to match the character's personalities and fit the overall concept of the movie. However, the costume designers also manage to find a perfect balance that makes a piece believable, but with a touch of added magic.

#1 Elizabeth I: The Golden Age

great gatsby costume, Elizabeth I: The Golden AgeSource: © Universal / Courtesy / Everett Collection / East News, © Nicholas Hilliard / Wikipedia

There were some historical mistakes made by the filmmakers. Elizabeth I loved beautiful lace, priceless stones, and intricate embroidery. But in order to avoid detracting the storyline, the outfit designers purposefully kept the number of decorations to a minimum. The queen's personality in connection to the other characters was aided to be defined by the color and texture. So, in contrast to the often light-colored and more faded clothing she wore in real life, the ruler appeared on the screen in dresses using a rich color palette.

great gatsby costume, Elizabeth I: The Golden AgeSource: © Elizabeth: The Golden Age / Working Title Films© Jerry Tavin / Everett Collection / East News

Additionally, the queen's outfits lacked the farthingale - a flat, wide frame worn underneath a dress to give it the shape of an inverted glass. In the movie, Cate Blanchett's silhouette is streamlined and soft; it is devoid of the hypertrophied shoulders that were a defining characteristic of that era.  Even yet, the designers managed to pull off a realistic appearance and won an Oscar for Best Costume Design.

#2 The Great Gatsby Costume

great gatsby costume, The Great Gatsby CostumeSource: © The Great Gatsby / Village Roadshow Pictures,  © Downton Abbey / ITV Studios

While the men's Great Gatsby outfits  in the film are quite accurate, Miuccia Prada's designs for the ladies went through significant changes. The audience witnessed tight-fitting costumes, V-shaped necklines, and closed backs in the movie instead of the straight gowns without bright waistlines that were typical of those periods.

great gatsby costume, The Great Gatsby CostumeSource:  © SNAPPER / / East News

If you look closely you'll see a liberal mix of the accessories created by costume designers: unique tights and stilettos with an open heel. This gave the film a special charm.

#3 The Other Boleyn Girl

great gatsby costume, The Other Boleyn GirlSource: © The Other Boleyn Girl / BBC Films, © Master John at the National Portrait Gallery, London / Wkipedia

The costume designers for this film were required to avoid utilizing farthingale. Instead, they employed crinoline to add volume and give the clothing the dome-like shape that was typical of dresses in succeeding decades.

great gatsby costume, The Other Boleyn GirlSource:  © The Other Boleyn Girl / BBC Films© The Other Boleyn Girl / BBC Films

Costume designers of the movie created the green color which was quite unusual for the epoch of Tudors. Before the 19th century, fabric makers would use 2 types of dyes for getting the green color — blue and yellow, which made the quality of the dying extremely low. That’s why Anna barely had a chance to show off her garments in rich emerald colors in real life. However, it was this color that became the main color of the movie.

#4 Mary Queen of Scots

great gatsby costume, Mary Queen of ScotsSource: © Mary Queen of Scots / StudioCanal

While the majority of the outfits in the film were created from denim, which didn't actually arrive until the 19th century, the movie's action takes place in the 16th century. The characters began to appear more endearing and intelligible to viewers in clothing fashioned of this gritty denim fabric, according to costume designer Alexandra Byrne. The Elizabethan age had its fair share of inventive hooliganism thanks to this out-of-character material, and the historical drama began to use fresh colors.

#5 Shakespeare in Love

great gatsby costume, Shakespeare in LoveSource: © Shakespeare in Love / Universal Pictures, © Bogomolov.PL / Wikipedia

Despite the film's completely fictional story, the action still takes place around a real historical person in a real-time epoch — the Elizabethan times. The costume designers simplified the historically accurate clothing and eliminated the rich decor that was fashionable at the period in order to avoid impeding mobility and drawing attention away from the main character.

great gatsby costume, Shakespeare in LoveSource: © UNIVERSAL PICTURES / Album / East News© English Heritage / Image State / East News

The appearance of the men's outfits was changed as well. To prevent the characters from looking ridiculous in tights, the cinema studio made both the jackets and the pants a bit longer. The viewers eventually witnessed a wonderful love story that had nothing to do with actual history. It seemed that everyone was satisfied, though.

#6 Little Women

great gatsby costume, Little WomenSource: © Little Women / Columbia Pictures, © Little Women / Columbia Pictures

"Little Women" tells the story of four March sisters. The action takes place during Queen Victoria's reign, when pants, petticoats, hoops, and corsets were required items in every lady's wardrobe.  But in order to convey the personality of each character better, the costume designers deprived Beth and Jo of some of these elements. Beth does not use a crinoline, while Joput on a man's vest.

#7 Cleopatra

great gatsby costume, CleopatraSource: © Cleopatra / 20th Century Studios

The details, incuding sequins, synthetic fabrics, high heels, fitted dresses, bustiers, and "beehive" hairstyles...that don't match the period of time represented in the movie.

CleopatraSource: © Cleopatra / 20th Century Studios

Even though it might sound strange, the '60s glamor and all the stylish touches didn't ruin the movie. In contrast, audiences enjoyed massive film in which Cleopatra wore 38 distinct clothes on her alone (although 65 were originally intended!). This was made possible by the incredible labor of costume designers.

#8 Vanity Fair

great gatsby costume, Vanity Fair bodyform period pants, cleopatra costumes Source: © Vanity Fair / Focus Features,  © Vanity Fair / Focus Features© Vanity Fair / Focus Features

The movie is set in England in the 19th century, where muted pastel colors were popular and bright colors were only used as accents. However, the costume designers flipped conventional wisdom on its head. We observe the main character's bright, almost juicy, attire throughout the entire film. Her outfits get more expensive as her social rank rises. As a result, thanks to the unconventional approach of costume designers, what were formerly just simple pieces of clothing became a tool for outlining the personality and evolving goals of the character.

#9 Dangerous Beauty

great gatsby costume, Dangerous BeautySource: © Dangerous Beauty / Regency Enterprises

The main character is portrayed as a delicate nymph. Light materials, loose sleeves, and pastel colors all contribute to this look.

great gatsby costume, Dangerous BeautySource: © agefotostock Art Collection / agefotostock / East News© Unknown author / Wikipedia

However, the fact is that ladies, including courtesans the 16th century, would cover their underwear with a metal corset in Venice. It made them look bigger than they were and no such thing as elegance could be applied to them.

great gatsby costume, Dangerous Beauty bodyform period pants, cleopatra costumes Source: © Dangerous Beauty / Regency Enterprises

Additionally, basques was not popular at the time. However, we had to admit that the filmmakers' decision to update the film did not harm it; on the contrary, it enhanced its ethereal and romantic atmosphere, which would not have been possible if the clothing had exactly matched those of the era.

#10 Anna Karenina

great gatsby costume, Anna KareninaSource: © Anna Karenina / Working Title Films,© Anna Karenina.The story of Vronsky / Mosfilm

Because the Anna Karenina novel's action takes place in the 1870s, the costumes from this epoch, like the bustle dresses decorated with rich trim in the form of numerous folds, fringe, flounces, frills, and ruffles were meant to be shown in the movie.

great gatsby costume, Anna KareninaSource: © Anna Karenina / Working Title Films© Anna Karenina / Working Title Films© Sewstine / Youtube

Despite this, filmmakers focused on the silhouette (the body form) and used the haute couture collections of the 1950s as a reference. As a result, the viewers saw dresses with a crinoline that weren't too decorated.

great gatsby costume, Anna Karenina bodyform period pants, cleopatra costumes Source: © Anna Karenina / Working Title Films

Additionally, women weren't allowed to wear gloves to balls, however, dancing without them was considered as being quite impolite. They were only permitted to take off their gloves for meals, musical performances, and card games.

#11 Dirty Dancing

great gatsby costume, Dirty Dancing bodyform period pants, cleopatra costumes Source: © Dirty Dancing / Lionsgate

The high-waisted jean shorts worn by Jennifer Grey's role astounded everyone. However, the costume desingers ignored the fact that fashionable everyday clothing wasn't made of denim in the 1960s, when the film is set. Denim was employed back then for hard labor rather than for fashionable attire.

#12 Pride & Prejudice

great gatsby costume, Pride & Prejudice, bodyform period pants, cleopatra costumes Source: © Pride & Prejudice / Focus Features

While the outfit Keira Knightley's character wears in the movie is almost perfect, the appearance of her shoes aren't quite right. Since rubber Wellington boots wouldn't have been created until 40 years after the events of Jane Austen's book took place, we can see Elizabeth wearing them in several instances.
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