The Story of the Costume Drama
Posted on July 30, 2012 at 8:00 am
One of the greatest pleasures of costume drama is, of course, the costumes. Stories set in different places and times invite us into their world and tell us about their characters through the details and artistry of the wardrobe. Whether it is a real-life couple who were world-renowned fashion icons like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in Edward & Mrs. Simpson or a legendary bawdy heroine like Fanny Hill, the costumes are an integral part of the story-telling. Costume designers study fashion, history, and literature and actors often say that their performances are inspired by the feel of the clothes. Many work closely with costume designers to help create their characters. Whether it is the high collars of the Victorian era or the high waists of Jane Austen’s characters a century earlier, from the exquisite hand embroidery on a lace-trimmed ball gown to the correct placement of the sleeve buttons on a soldier’s uniform, from the lacing on the corset to the plume in a hat and the starch in an apron, the costumes help make the story real and enthralling. On this new DVD, the designers tell their stories, with comments and appearances from stars like Helen Mirren, Alex Kingston, Keira Knightley, Gillian Anderson, Jeremy Irons, John Hurt, Daniel Radcliffe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ioan Gruffudd, and Colin Firth. This is an outstanding behind-the-scenes documentary that is sure to give you a better appreciation of costume drama and remind you of favorites from the BBC you want to re-watch and new series you want to try.