No Rant, but some details for the serious geek or the curious.
I’ve decided not to post about my gripes about the anachronisms in LW. If you read the first two posts, you know I went on about the hair and lack of headwear (and I didn’t even get into the side parts, the bangs, the wisps, or the ridiculously clean hair they could never have achieved in the 1860s before running water and showers!).
So instead, here are some “deleted scenes” which ended up on the cutting room floor: a few not hugely important costume details which show a lovely level of attention to the period. I’m trying to stick with the positive here. (If you want to see what’s wrong with the hair, check out Frock Flicks’s blog post, link follows: the three women who write this blog are always this funny, generally delightfully irreverent, but not always this cranky: badly done hair brings it out in them, and during their Snark Week in January they go all out: http://www.frockflicks.com/snark-week-little-women-much-bangs/ .)
On to the fun details: Aunt March wears three different, all wonderful, probably actual antique black lace head coverings; the Metropolitan Museum calls them fanchons. By this time, only married, or older spinster ladies like Aunt March (did you know that in the book she is Mr. March’s widowed aunt, not his spinster sister?) are wearing coverings on their head indoors, and they’re pretty vestigial like these wisps of lace.
Technically Marmee should be wearing something on her head indoors, and so should Hannah–Hannah’s would be to keep dust and baking flour and whatnot out of her hair as she manages the house. But like most movies, this abandons etiquette of headwear. Not to mention the aforementioned hair…Sigh. This is why mommy drinks, as they say…)
The “fanchon” Aunt March wears in Paris, when Amy announces she has turned down Fred Vaughn, looks the most like the one above, with little lappets hanging down. I have no screen shot of it, alas; but notice it if you go back to see the movie again, or when you can stream it!
Aunt March’s sleeves are still the wide “pagoda” sleeves of the 1850s, and when you see her bodice, you can see it has the long, pointed waistline that’s also a holdover. Older women often were slow to adopt newer styles, so while her dresses are obviously expensive–trimmed with fine lace, and so on–they’re a few years out of date. It’s a nice touch.
We get a few glimpses of underwear and nightgowns, all of which are pretty well done (except for the colored drawers–pantalettes, people call them now–the trouserlike undergarments; see my rant in the first post).
I can’t think of a striped cotton corset like this, but I won’t quibble–white was predominant but not universal. Most chemises had yokes rather than drawstrings like the one in the photo above, but we get glimpses of others that look more right for the period. (What’s not right is SEEING a glimpse of Jo’s chemise, as I think we do more than once, under her unbuttoned shirt. SHOW UNDERWEAR?! Good god no. Who’s old enough to remember when just being able to see a bra strap was considered tacky?)
I loved that this production included the bit about Beth making slippers for Mr. Laurence. Here are two “Berlin work” slippers of about the same time. (We now just call it needlepoint).
Magazines like Godey’s and Peterson’s, the leading ladies’ magaziness of the time, printed colored patterns for slippers like this all the time.
Moving outdoors…did you wonder what in tarnation Laurie wore to go skating?
That, my dears, was a suit “à la Russe,” or Russian outfit, very specifically intended for skating. I’d swear I’ve seen a fashion illustration of this outfit, but all I can summon, thanks to costume friends, is this photo of Jackson Haines, called the father of figure skating, in a similar outfit in the 1860s:
…and this image of a child’s skating outfit on the Vintage Dancer blog, a child’s version from 1873, found by Rachel Anderson, librarian extraordinaire:
I’m not certain whether there was a trend for grown men to wear such an outfit, or only (highly fashionable) children; most images of people skating show everyone more or less in regular clothes (women have slightly shorter skirts so they don’t trip!).
Possibly the designer researched skating outfits and found the photos of Jackson and thought it was a trend? Perhaps she found the fashion illustration I think I’ve seen? While we don’t think of Laurie being a fashion plate, it’s a choice which shows he’s rich enough to have an outfit just for the few times a year he goes out on the ice. I confess I loved it, because it’s such a period-specific outfit and funny choice.
I think I’ve dissected enough about Little Women 2019…I’ll move on to new movies and other topics.