|The Outlander wedding gown, in all its glory - via|
Since that night, there has been a lot of discussion about the gown, and its historical accuracy. Statements from the show's costumer, Terry Dresbach, have justified some things and raised more questions about others.
But I'm going to come right out and say that I personally thought the dress was outstanding, and was surprisingly accurate, if you know what the reference was. So what was that reference?
|Robe de Cour - 1766 - via|
|Sofia Magdalena's wedding gown, 1766 - its missing the fluffy lace sleeves - via|
|Showing the back of a robe de cour - very long train, and also, the skirt and bodice are separate pieces - via|
Extant robes de cour were worn over very wide panniers, and had trained overskirts, separate from the bodice. The overskirts fell over the back of the pannier, and the petticoat acted as an enormous display of all things shiny and expensive, right on the front of the ensemble. Not all robes de cour had the enormous rectangular shape, though, as Isis shows us in this image:
|Wedding breakfast of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, by Francis of Lorraine, c. 1736 - via|
So to compare the Outlander wedding gown:
- Extremely low, wide, off-the-shoulder neckline
- Back-lacing, heavily-boned bodice
- "Stomacher" is all-in-one with the bodice
- Metallic fabrics and decoration
- Fluffy, lacy sleeves reminiscent of the "stacked" construction seen on originals
- Worn over a wide pannier (pocket hoops are shown later on in the episode)
|Detail of the embroidery on the Outlander gown - via Terry's blog|
- The fluffy, lacy sleeve construction was almost-kindof-there but not quite
- The embroidery design and placement on the skirt (I was quite happy about the bodice's design)
- The quality of the fabric
- The bodice and top skirt are sewn together instead of separate.
|Outlander gown's sleeve construction, using smocking. Via Terry's blog|
|An original robe de cour's sleeves, using pleating. The raw edges are there, though. Via Isis' Wardrobe|
So I'm going to stand up and say I absolutely loved the Outlander wedding gown. I thought Terry Dresbach did an outstanding job with combining historical accuracy, modern audience expectation and understanding, and the needs of the production. A show's costuming must speak for the characters, settings, and events in the story, as well as the time period, which is a lot to juggle, and I think Terry did and great job with it.
You can read more about the costumes here
or follow Terry's blog (which construction pictures of the wedding gown), where she specifically notes her inspiration (you'll see many of the same photos).