V307: The House of Elliot – 1920s in the 1990s

Vintage Dancer turned me onto an early ’90s series called “The House of Eliott,” for which I have nothing but obsession and love.  I was the ripe age of eight when this series came out, but better late than never, 21 years on (because I’m sure a rather large chunk of you have already seen it and I’m late to the party).

There are so many things to love about this series.  It’s the story of two sisters who are left with nothing when their father dies, and end up supporting themselves by taking sewing commissions.  This turns into a business – The House of Eliott – and by the end of season 1, they have become London couturiers.  Go figure.

The whole thing is shot in rather a theatrical way, and the dialogue is honest, straight-forward, and BBC-perfect, but it’s not off-putting.  I rather like the refreshing dose of stage-like drama versus the nitty-gritty “realism” of today’s television.

Most importantly, the clothes.  I don’t know for certain, but I suspect The House of Eliott used original 1920s garments, shoes, and hats.  The clothing is just so dang authentic, the kind of authentic that modern productions skip-over in favor of a more modernly-acceptable “flapper” look (ironic, since the real couture gowns of the 1920s are *far* more modern even by today’s standards).  Not so in “The House of Eliott,” though.  Everything from the suits to the evening gowns is simply stunning – it’s like watching Poiret’s, Chanel’s, or Lanvin’s illustrations come to life.

It also makes me want to sew some stunning 1920s evening gowns, as if I possess any such skill.  There is plenty of inspiration to be had in “House of Eliott” – it seems like they’re all out in sparkly gowns at least once every episode, and it makes me sad to realize that we have such a degree of casualness these days that wearing something so fine to go out to dinner would seem bizarre.  Even wearing some of the splendid suits and daywear the Eliott sister sport would be overdressing by today’s standards.  How sad. 🙁

It’s a bit early to think about it, but perhaps a good New Year’s resolution for 2013 would be … wear nicer clothes. 🙂

Anyway, check out “The House of Eliott”
when you get a chance.


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