Who doesn’t love a ball and a wedding? Especially fantasy ones…
Cinderella’s ball gown caught my eye on the billboards, and I’m dying to see the movie. I was also dying to see the gown’s construction. It’s interesting that so many of the techniques used to make this very grand gown were pulled from nineteenth-century understructures and couture techniques. The crinoline, in particular, is almost a direct copy of some of the ones in museum collections. Likewise, the corset is based on corsets similar to those in the Museum at FIT’s collection, like the one here:
There just happens to be an exhibition up at the Bard Graduate Center, at 18 West 86th street, all about these under-structures, if you want to go see some for inspiration.
The Eveningwear specialization in the Fashion Design Department offers a number of classes where students learn how to create boned bodices, types of skirt supports, and elaborate embellishments, such as silk flowers and the delicate butterflies that float in the tulle at Lily James’ shoulders in this ballgown. There is also a class on corset making in the Fashion Design department.
The library at FIT is a place full of ideas for fantasy costumiers, like the team designing for “Outlander”.
The library at FIT offers many resources to do the sort of historical-clothing research the costumers for “Outlander” have used. Besides using corseting and understructure techniques, the costume team for this show have also clearly spent a lot of time researching mid-eighteenth century (the show takes place in 1743-46) clothes in England and Scotland. There is a lot of information to tell a researcher exactly what British soldiers would have worn, but dress in the Scottish highlands wasn’t so well documented (until Queen Victoria became besotted with the highlands in the 1850s).
This allows the designers more rein to imagine the costumes any way they like. In this article, I love the designers’ talk about the silvery grays and greens of the landscape. That those colors inspired their design palette.
The other inspiring thing the designers talk about in the above article are the ways they manipulated fabrics and furs to give different surface effects. (Go Textile and Surface-Design people!)
I’ve posted images of the costumes from “Game of Thrones” before, but the costumes are so intricate they deserve a lot of looking.
Michele Carragher, the designer, has used the embellishments (embroidery, creative appliques, jewel-like attachments) to convey the characters of the story so individually. And because the show unfolds over time, she can manipulate these images over time to show the way each character grows and changes.
While “Cinderella” is embedded in our social consciousness as a common fairytale theme, the stories in “Outlander” and “Game of Thrones” bring newer characters into our imagination, partially depending upon their costumes to tell their stories.