Monday, 29 June 2009

The Duchess Costume Exhibition

My friend Lesley and I had a "day off" this Sunday to go and see the costumes from the film The Duchess currently on display at Kedleston hall. Kedleston was used a lot as a location in the film and there' s a rather good exhibition about how the film crew took over the property.

The costumes are absolutely lovely and it's always nice to see things very close to - they are on manequins at strategic places around the house so you can really study them ;) There are lots of detail pictures available on my favourite costumers site.

I was explaining to Lesley how different it is making a costume to a bridal gown even though they may end up looking very similar on the outside.

A costume will usually be mounted onto calico with no pretty lining and worn over period underwear which has already given the corect shape to the actress, in a way it's almost more like the original clothes would have been worn. Hand stitching is appreciated as an authentic feature on the surface although the costumes are usually machine sewn on all seams.

A wedding gown however has to look perfect inside as well with silky satin lining throughout and often the boning has to be put into the fancy outer bodice rather than the underwear for ease of dressing on the big day. This is a very modern attitude to dress construction. I have several 1950's designer gowns in my collection, not one of which is prettily lined! But no one wants to be uncomfortable on their wedding day, so the challenge is to get a historical look without the historical discomfort!

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