Monday, September 22, 2014

In Defense of Outlander - Claire's Wedding Gown

This past Saturday's episode of "Outlander," the 18th century Highland-time-travel-romance-1940s-hot-Scottish-men drama on Starz no doubt caused many a breathless sighs in women across the world, as Jaime and Claire stood up for their shotgun wedding.

The Outlander wedding gown, in all its glory - via
But many of us in the historical costuming community were also inspecting every possible detail of Claire's wedding gown (when we weren't ogling the groom, and who the hell cares what HE was wearing), a spectacular display of...well, a lot of things were on display.

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?

This:

Robe de Cour - 1766 - via
Simply put, the gown is a robe de cour, a very specific kind of formal gown worn mostly in the first half of the 18th century, exclusively at court. Of course, that brings up questions about why there would be this type of gown floating around in rural Scotland, but an earlier dialogue between characters justifies its existence enough for me.

Sofia Magdalena's wedding gown, 1766 - its missing the fluffy lace sleeves - via
Unlike other 18th century gowns, both formal and undress, the robe de cour laced in the back. The bodice consisted of an incredibly stiff, fully-boned, structure with a very low, wide, off-the-shoulder neckline, not unlike 17th century bodices.

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
What was not accurate?

  • 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
And these are things I'm being really picky about.

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).
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48 comments:

  1. What I also liked about it was the fact Terry's husband, Ron, wanted this to also feel like a fairy tale wedding. I appreciate the effort to both respect historical accuracy and design something WOW for the fans. The fans who expect the show to exactly mirror the show are a consideration as well. I follow Terry's blog and tweets and it's amazing the effort she puts into research as well as being so creative and confident. Thanks for a great post and sharing your knowledge! It was just incredible. and oh yes, that coat of Jamie/Sam's was something else as well!

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    1. I love that Terry is very well-researched, so her creative designs are informed. It really makes a difference, and I appreciate the nods to the extant gowns just as much as the departures from them. I think she's an *amazing* costumer, and it's never easy to work within the confines of a productions (budget! director! producer! location! eek!)

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  2. It was over all just amazing. =)

    ~Ki

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  3. The bodice and skirt were mostly likely sewn together for continuity's sake. A lot of period shows do this so they don't have to waste time during shooting readjusting things. I loved the dress too and think the visuals wardrobe wise for this show are outstanding!!!

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  4. it is well thought through historical-costume-wise. and shimmery, so nice. I had kind of wanted to see the bar maid's dress that still smelled rather noticeably of its previous inhabitant but this is truly gorgeous and eye candy.

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  5. I checked any and all expectations of historical accuracy at the door before the show even started up. It's fantasy fiction! I'm enjoying it as such.

    As you pointed out, the issues with her wedding dress apply more to the details rather than the overall effect. The same could be said of many of Claire's garments in the series. I am far, FAR more impressed with the history-flavored fairytale of Outlander's costuming than I was with the almost-but-not-really effect of the clothing in TURN.

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    1. Exactly.

      I've decided that this takes place in a world where time travel is possible, and therefore, so are chunky knits. And attached skirts. It works.

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  6. Thank you for your rational explication. I understood from Ms. dresbach that considerable research went into all costuming decisions. There seem to be a few slinging arrows at costumes. Perhaps they don't understand how productions come together.
    Thank you for the excellent examples.

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  7. (when we weren't ogling the groom, and who the hell cares what HE was wearing)

    I'll be first to admit that while I lovelovelove how he looks in the coat and neck fluff and the whole nine yards, I was more interested in what his clothes looked like on the floor XD (sigh, he's so dreamy)

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  8. I love this post. I'm a little tired of the nit picking. The costumes are spectacular. Costumes are meant to evoke a moment in time, an essence, a feeling and these costumes do just that. When costuming something historical, you start with historical research, but the needs of the production, of the character, of the audience necessitate a divergence. I believe that this entire production of Outlander has been phenomenal in every way

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  9. Hi Lauren,
    I wanted to say thank you for this post. It means a lot to me.
    I have followed your blog for years. Once I started designing Outlander, your blog was on my go to list as a resource for the kinds of very specific questions or ideas that we are often searching for when doing costumes for film/television.
    Just recently we embarked on how to make about 300 panniers as inexpensively as possible for all of our extras in Season Two.
    It is quite a challenge, and your piece on making your own was an excellent resource as we explored ideas.

    Doing a period piece for television or film is especially challenging. There is much pressure placed on designers to make history “contemporary”. I am not even sure I understand the logic behind that premise. It defies the definition of history.
    I knew that it was very likely that no one was going to know or care anything about historical accuracy, other than Ron, and that it would be a fight to pull off anything close.

    Any kind of structure that enlarges the hips, from panniers to bum rolls, were going to be an issue in an age where women’s hips are non existent. Fichus were also going to be a hill to climb as they cover the cleavage. I left the business because I was so tired of the constant drumbeat to dress every woman as a stripper, regardless of age or character. I knew the mere idea of a fichu was going to be a problem. Men’s stocks were going to be another issue, and don’t get me started on kilts (eeeeek, skirts on men!!!!!!!!)

    I wrote a piece early in our process, pointing out fashion’s fascination with the 18th century, including pictures from Dior’s New Look, Karl Lagerfeld’s ongoing obsession, to Victoria Secret’s parade of pannier wearing models on the catwalk, as a way of showing that people who know about “fashion”, think the 18th century is “cool”. LOL
    It worked, more or less, and I have not had too big a fight, except for the pannier/bum roll/fichu bugaboos.
    People think that on a show the costume designer has the final say. Logical, that is our job after all. But our ideas are approved of, or vetoed by people who don’t know the 4th century from the 18th. Add to that, never enough time or money, and Costume Designers are in a very difficult position on period shows. You either fight or just give in. Or, you pick your battles and try to be as smart as possible.

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  10. We make decisions in very narrow boxes. An actress is running around a freezing castle with her boobs hanging out??? Not only is it period incorrect, but it just looks wrong when everyone else is bundled up. What to do? Well you try to be creative, and creative a sort of alternative fichu, using knits. It looks good, keeps her warm, feels tonally right for the time and place, and you have the research in your back pocket that people were knitting, so you take the leap. It gets approved because it is familiar.

    Same with the wedding gown. You serve a lot of masters. Historical accuracy, which contrary to what some think, I am very committed to, studios and networks commercial interests, a general audience who knows nothing about the 18th century, time and shooting constraints, available materials and their cost. We do not have unlimited time, money or resources. We also have fans who care about every single, tiny detail.

    Your notes on the dress are spot on. We try to weave period correct fabric, but no way we can pull that off. I fought the linen we ended up using, did NOT want it. BUT, it looks great in the scene and creates the effect that I do not have the capability of making. I had to admit that and let go.
    We debated the sleeves, but knew if we made them fuller, as they would have been, we would meet resistance.
    And I take responsibility for popping a few leaves out on do the dress, and hated it as soon as we did it, but had to live with it.

    Costume Design on period shows is a complicated game. At the end of the season, as we move to the French Court, fichus, bumrolls and stocks are part of the fabric of the show, as a result of our commitment to keeping the costumes as accurate as possible.

    It does sting to hear the criticisms and accusations of not caring or bothering about research and accuracy. To work as hard as we do at getting it right, and then to be accused of not giving a damn about history is difficult for all of us to take.
    But that too is part of our job, and we are more or less,used to it.

    Lauren, your post is so welcome and kind, and very, very much appreciated, and it is nice to have a place to respond that isn’t hostile. Thank you again for your post and for giving me a place to respond.

    All the best,
    Terry Dresbach

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    1. You couldn't have done a better job Terry. And I'm sure I speak for all the fans.

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  11. I think my main issue is simply, is a robe de cour a correct choice for a Scottish woman's wedding gown? Picking correct clothing means correct in context--and I personally do not think that this choice was correct in context. Which I think is a shame--Scotland-specific clothing is fascinating and I'd have loved to see a wedding gown recreated with more plausible reference points. I also think there are plenty of details that are incorrect despite the reference point--enough details that claiming "authenticity" is probably a stretch for this particular piece.

    I also think, so what.

    It's a beautiful gown. It's a glorious costume. If you're not aiming for 100% authenticity, because you are designing a beautiful gown for a venue that does not demand 100% authenticity, then why bother judging a costume's "success" on whether it fulfills that particular criteria? The costume succeeds on the levels demanded of it as a film costume--it captures the setting and character and plot point with beautiful and evocative artistry.

    That said--I wrote a rather long-winded response to this gown and the claims of authenticity surrounding on it my own blog, so I won't get into it anymore here.

    In summary--well done on a beautiful costume. And if viewers are looking for complete authenticity, perhaps a cable television show is the inappropriate place to look.

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    1. It was a dress bought in London for a lady, bargained in a brothel. It wasn't a Scottish woman's wedding dress it was what was available at short notice.

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  12. We've been very Scottish-centric, but decided to use the Scottish French alliance to justify a very out of place gown. We wanted to deviate from everything we have done before to support the story. This gown was not made FOR Claire.

    As I have said before, it is not a documentary. If we were going to be completely accurate we would sew everything by hand, so as you say, best not look for that on stage or screen.

    Not sure what claims of authenticity everyone keeps referring to. I have said repeatedly that our goal is to be as authentic as possible.

    But we have been on this merry Go Round before, so best to leave it at that.
    Thanks for saying it was beautiful, wish it could have been more, but okay.

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    1. Completely fair--as I said, I'm not going to judge a film costume on merits other than those it attempts to fulfill. It was an artistic choice, and a good one. As a film costumer, you not only *get* to make those when the reenactor and museum costumer doesn't, but it's something *demanded* of you for the sake of the costume's merits. And I'll say again--it was a well-done costume based on those merits. Stunning.

      I think much of this breaks down over the definition of "as authentic as possible." Your "as possible" is likely very different from those nitpicking your choices. I understand that your producers and the constraints of film limit possibility in that regard--it only takes glancing back over a century of film to notice that "historical" costume comments more on contemporary aesthetics than historical accuracy. Your "as authentic as possible" takes into consideration constraints that, say, a living history costumer does not have to consider. However, "as possible" to a reenactor, costume historian, or giant nerd like me would mean choosing only the documentable--not the potentially plausible. No robes de cour in Scotland that you can document? Then using one would be "against the rules" of authenticity. So would other artistic choices you made. So when people criticize the "authenticity" of the piece, they're doing so from their own definition of authenticity--the documentable only. Reproduction of documentable stylistic and construction choices only. No fun, ever (kidding...mostly).

      You, however, get the freedom of choosing the plausible for the sake of pretty, for the sake of art--the people nitpicking do not allow themselves that freedom for the sake of their goals. It's all about goals--you have a different set of goals than the nitpickers do. As long as we're all clear on those goals, I can't criticize. But--I'll say it--by claiming tons of research and claiming authenticity as a goal, you open yourself up to criticism of the costumes' accuracy by those holding to a much stricter standard than you can or perhaps even should for your profession.

      Now I'm writing novels in the comments :) I can say, honestly, that I look forward to seeing what you do next!

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    2. That is a great explanation of what the reenact communities expectation is of "as authentic as possible". I assumed that anyone who see that would have some understanding of context, even if they don't work in the film business.
      Without that, the word "possible" has no context at all. Because we would then have to hand sew every garment.
      The only context your definition allows, is for me to only make costumes replicating either existing clothing, or paintings of costumes, which as we know are know are different than photographs, as an artist or whomever is paying for the painting, can paint whatever they want.
      No, I am not so literal that I can only use a robes de cour, if one has been proven to exist in a museum or a document of the period. France and Scotland were political and trade allies. I just cannot accept that there is absolutely no way that any particular garment traveled out of France and into Scotland. I don't believe in that world, I don't believe in those human beings.
      "No fun..ever" says a lot. But not only a lack of fun, it seems like a lack of scope or an understanding of human culture. It seems a very absolute, black and white view of the way people are.
      Now for the last part. that is where we feel the sting. Statements like
      "choosing the plausible for the sake of pretty, for the sake of art", feel a bit patronizing at worst, and also are innaccuarate. We are usually the ones in the room saying, "no, you can't do that", "it's not the way it works", "they didnt have that", "no one would do that". We NEVER just go for "Art" or "Pretty". That is not our job as costume designers. those are stylists. The wedding dress is the only costume on the show where I went for a certain aesthetic, at the request of the producers, and even then I had to justify my choices in an 18th century context.
      We CAN claim tons of research. I could not even begin to add up the years and years of study and research we have done as a team over decades as professional costume designers and costumers. We have libraries at our disposal, and access to many institutions and collections.
      And we absolutely claim to be as authentic as possible, as our goal. I will bet that re-enactors make compromises all the time. They are certainly not making their garments from actual 18th century cloth. They too, must interpret and compromise. One can impose any standard they like, I can claim that re-enactors are not meeting my goal of authenticity because they are not using REAL 18th century goods to manufacture their garments.
      I think that would be silly, because it does not allow for context and reality of circumstance.
      But thank you for a reasonable discourse. And thank you for the compliments on our costumes.
      Terry

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    3. Just wanted to clarify--I in no way meant to be patronizing. You have a more difficult balance to achieve between the aesthetically pleasing (because let's be honest, plenty of authentic choices are not going to translate to screen well), the will of producers, and authenticity than those of us sewing for our own educational ends only, and I was only trying to show an appreciation for that balance.

      I will also say, you see a wide range of what compromises reenactors are willing to make. Some will machine sew, some won't, some will fudge some fabric and material choices, some will pay out the nose for wool woven on original looms (I have to confess, it is *really* nice wool...). But again--we have ourselves to answer to, not an imposed budget and timeframe. I have to be careful not to speak for everyone.

      For what it's worth, if you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods, I'm sure a ton of reenactors would be more than eager to geek on clothing with you and continue the conversation!

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    4. I think Rowenna has hit the nail on the head -- many of us in the reenactment and/or academic circles DON'T know a ton about the limitations placed on TV/movie/theater costume designers, and we do have different conceptions of authenticity. I just posted a bit about this on Frock Flicks: http://www.frockflicks.com/outlander-the-wedding/

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    5. Sorry for the delay Rowenna,
      the internet is out at my house. Please know that in no way did I take what you were saying as patronizing, I was commenting more on the general concept of the broader discussion.
      Our conversation has been quite lovely and most informative.
      Best,
      Terry

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    6. I guess I can nitpick too. Kendra, LOL I just read your piece. All good. The only nitpick point is that I rarely even use the word pretty, let alone have it be a driving factor in my design. I don't want to be silly here, obviously making a lead actress look good is part of my job, IF the story needs her to look good.
      In the case of this show, we have had only one scene where the design was driven just by appearance, and that was because our show runner, said, "pull out all the stops, blow everyone away, make it spectacular.
      The show is designed based on STORY.
      My job as a costume designer is NOT to make pretty clothes, it is to form characters, and through them to help tell a believable and PLAUSIBLE (keyword) story. The audience should look at the costumes, accept them and MOVE ON. Unless it is for something like the wedding, I don't really want the audience spending too much time looking at "pretty" costumes. I do not consider that the job of a costume designer. I actually want them to fade into the background so they do not distract from the real reason the audience is watching.

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    7. What a terrific forum and exchange of information! My sis is a BIG fan of the Outlander series, by the way! As a theater costumer, I am always juggling the history, fit, function, fashion and not least the affordability of what I want to design. I loved your explanation of the challenge of movies (when will they get that bum rolls make middling sized waists look TEENY??) and think your designs are scrumptious, and contribute hugely to the appeal of the show!

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    8. Wow. I don't think I've ever seen such a wonderful meeting of minds between the costume side of things and reenactors. I don't have terribly much to add that hasn’t been said but I will say that I sometimes think that we reenactors can be a really tough audience, maybe even the toughest. We don't necessarily mean to be but it is extremely difficult for us to compromise. On anything. For example, I'm making my 11 year old a full kit and I had a 2 day conversation with myself about whether or not to make her stays. (Spoiler: I am.) It's utterly ridiculous to make stays for an 11 year old who's flat as a pancake but on the other hand it's simply not right NOT to. I couldn't get past the "not right" part and caved to the insanity. Rationally we know that we're not as authentic as we'd like to be either and we make concessions every day in fabric, color, and other things. In the end, no matter how hard we try, we can't be perfect. We can’t get it 100 percent right.

      But we keep trying.

      And we automatically expect everyone else to try to be our version of perfect as well. We actively strive to not be “thread counters” and yet turn into very snarky individuals who just limit our complaints to the four walls of our own home.

      And that’s a bit unfortunate.

      Terry, I haven’t actually seen the episode but I have seen pictures of the clothes. The reenactor in me shudders when I see garments that are close but not quite there. Just like I don’t want to watch Turn because I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will sit there and whine about the clothing. And for that I am personally sorry. I truly appreciate you taking the time to address us and tell us the background because often we don’t know/forget/refuse to understand the issues designers are up against. We also forget to take the time to admire the designs (as well as the work and skill behind them) because we are so wrapped up in what WE feel clothes should look like. We take the fun out of our own entertainment because we are annoyed that you compromised on something that you SHOULD have compromised on. You worked incredibly hard to bring a world that truly only exists in a book to life. Authentic or not your creations are beautiful and they do invoke the feeling that I remember the books exuding. And in the end, I think that matters more than anything.

      I know that we will not change and that we will continue to work for perfection. I know that designers also will not change and will continue to create their artistic interpretations no matter how close or far away from authenticity they choose to be. But I think that these conversations are critical to understanding and appreciating each other for the knowledge and the skills we each have. I think that we can all make each other better at that thing we do best.

      In conclusion, I can say that your designs are actually pretty good because they generated discussion and were not merely dismissed.

      ~Laura

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    9. That last post was supposed to say "11 year old SISTER". I'm no where near old enough to have a daughter that age!

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    10. Thanks for your thoughts, Terry! I was thinking of the need to make a "pretty" dress in terms of the wedding dress specifically, although I would imagine that you need to keep Claire looking at least vaguely attractive for a majority of the show. But yes, you are trying to tell a story, not to recreate history. In this case, we are in luck, because keeping the show looking "historical" serves the story (unlike, for example, Reign... although I do think that show has mis-stepped, in that *I* think it would be better served by looking more historical, although I'm not a 14-year-old girl, so maybe I'm not the target audience!).

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    11. LOL, but wouldn't it be nice to think that 14 year old girls would like something related to history in some way. I know my 13 year old has been absolutely fascinated by our costumes, and has love it when my team dressed her in some of our costumes.
      I make a policy of never criticizing another designers choices. In the first place, I have no idea if they were required to make a show look modern, or shop from a mall, in order to get a job. And this s a paying job, people need to pay their mortgages, bills and food on the table. Sometimes you gotta do what the boss says if you want to work. Especially when you are early in your career.
      At a certain point you reach a level where you can pick and choose a bit more, but you still have to be willing to walk away if you are asked to cross your line in the sand.

      But no matter what, it is a collaborative medium, and you do NOT have final say over the costumes, and you are not making a specialty costume at home, answering only to your own personal standard.
      I don't like the trend of rewriting historical costume. I don't believe that people will turn off the TV if you don't show them clothes from the local mall. Another reason I wanted to do Outlander. It was an opportunity to prove to my business that people will watch a show with panniers and fichus. Think we have accomplished a lot.

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    12. Dear Laura,
      I have died and gone to heaven. That is amazing. I understand sooooo much more about what you do. It really helps me to understand why some have reacted the way they have. I admit, I have been flumoxed. I have watched a lot of period shows and was bound and determined that I would not be making historical costumes "contemporary", so I have been really caught off guard by the hostility of some of the re-enactment community. Your post explains so much. Thank you, thank you! That was a very generous post.
      Can I reprint your letter on my blog?

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  13. I wanted to thank you so very much for posting this as it introduced me to Ms. Dresbach's wonderful blog. Her creations are exquisite. Having made a complete 18th century dress (complete with underpinnings) last year I can't even imagine the hours of work that went into this beautiful frock. I myself spent 3 months and even totally cheated by using the fabric from an antique embroidered tablecloth for the underskirt. She deserves nothing but praise for her mastery of fabric.

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  15. Maybe off topic...

    I guess it doesn’t matter, but the photo’s names are a little mixed up. The third picture (named "Sofia Magdalena's wedding gown, 1766 - its missing the fluffy lace sleeves - via") is really not Sofia Magdalena's gown at all – that one was worn by Hedvig Elisabet Charlotta, in 1774, when she married into the Swedish royal family. Photo number two (named " Robe de Cour - 1766 - via") and photo number four (named "Showing the back of a robe de cour – very long train, and also, the skirt and bodice are separate pieces - via") and photo number eight (named "An original robe de cour's sleeves, using pleating. The raw edges are there, though. Via Isis' Wardrobe") are, on the other hand, picturing Sofia Magdalena’s wedding gown from 1766.

    Both gowns are in the collection of Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armoury) in Sweden and can be seen here:
    *Sofia Magdalena’s wedding gown, from 1766: http://emuseumplus.lsh.se/eMuseumPlus?service=ExternalInterface&module=collection&objectId=62594&viewType=detailView
    *Hedvig Elisabet Charlotta’s wedding gown, from 1774: http://emuseumplus.lsh.se/eMuseumPlus?service=ExternalInterface&module=collection&objectId=68030&viewType=detailView

    For more robe de cours in the same collection, see:
    *Lovisa Ulrika’s coronation dress, from 1751: http://emuseumplus.lsh.se/eMuseumPlus?service=ExternalInterface&module=collection&objectId=67840&viewType=detailView
    *Sofia Magdalena’s coronation dress, from 1772: http://emuseumplus.lsh.se/eMuseumPlus?service=direct/1/ResultLightboxView/result.t1.collection_lightbox.$TspTitleImageLink.link&sp=10&sp=Scollection&sp=SfieldValue&sp=0&sp=15&sp=3&sp=Slightbox_4x5&sp=0&sp=Sdetail&sp=0&sp=F&sp=T&sp=14

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    1. Thanks for the corrections! Sorry I got them mixed up!

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  16. Fantastic exchange of ideas and the realities of costuming for both re-enactors and costume designers. Thank you for your willingness to explore both sides of this, and for sharing your knowledge.

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  17. And one more thing, if may. Hobbyists are passionate, my BF can't watch the show "Hell on Wheels" because of the cobbled together monstrosity of a 'train'. It makes him shudder and he can practically see the grips PUSHING it into shot. He wouldn't know a pannier from a picnic basket and lives quite happily. Our passions are our passions. What is a passable choo-choo to you or me is another's abomination.

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  18. I love Claire's dress. The sleeves are a little crazy for my taste, but I can get past that. What I can't get past are how tiny the waists on the historical dresses are. Holy squished intestines, Batman!

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  19. From a slightly different POV, the actors in Outlander have commented that the costumes supplied by Terry and her team have done half the job for them. Just in donning the clothing, they find themselves transported (sans stones) into the 18th Century, and thereby find their characters ready for them to fill with their bodies. I think that's high praise in itself.

    Another thing which I and many other viewers of the show (and lovers of the books) appreciate is Terry's willingness to share with us the processes from design to rack. She has done so much to give authenticity to the costumes, not to the level of reenactment enthusiasts -- larpers? -- but certainly nothing near selecting outfits from a catalog. We know that she has fought for certain elements, such as the muted colors in the tartans, derived from plant dyes and not German aniline dyes. Her participation here on this blog is further proof of her open willingness to share her experience. She's a real treasure to many of us.

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  21. That's an impressive wedding outfit, it's weird how it stands out so far on both sides!

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    1. Not weird at all for the time period being depicted (compare the gown to the original 18th century dresses, for instance). It was the fashion to wear wide side hoops.

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    2. Gee, you must have not been married in the 80's. . . lol, close to my dress -- big sleeves and lots of POUF.

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    3. Gee, you must have not been married in the 80's. . . lol, close to my dress -- big sleeves and lots of POUF.

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  22. I, too, am here to find out how, in one day, they came up with this lovely dress and threw this fabulous party the same day they thought of marrying Clair to Jamie (the man wanted by Capt. Black Jack) -- and, with all that(!), are they going to use the certificate of her being married to the man with the 10 lbs sterling on his head to keep Claire from having to tried as an English/Scottish spy, etc. etc. Time travel is one thing, lol -- this takes the cake. . . love it, though!

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  24. p.s. When ARE the English going to take in a few orthodontists? Time has come . . .

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