Monday, January 25, 2016

Costume Study: A&E Emma 1996

Costume studies were not in my original plans for blogging in the near future, but suddenly I just wanted to do it.  So do it I shall.

The reason?  Actually because I am starting on a new Regency dress.  Did I say that in the last post? I can't remember.  Oh dear.

Anyway, since store-bought patterns can only allow for so much (and everyone else who makes Regency dresses will be using the same patterns, haha), I decided to look to some of my favorite Jane Austen films, costume-wise, for inspiration for both day dresses and ball gowns.

Costume Captures is a lovely place to look for these, but they only have costume studies for two of the movies in this era I really care about (Pride and Prejudice 1995 and Northanger Abbey 2007... oh, they also have Miss Austen Regrets, and I did like some of those costumes so I might have a look at that later).  The Dashwood Sisters, a blog I used to frequent but which is no longer updated, also has a gorgeous study of Wives and Daughters, including tips on making the dresses.  Not what I'm looking for at present, but y'know. Just in case you were curious.

The 1996 Emma (popularly mis-categorized as 1997) is visually one of my absolute favorites for costumes and hairstyles.  Well, Emma's hairstyles.  I think that the whole thing has a wonderfully historically-accurate feel.  Although, of course, overall my favorite is the 2009 one.  (I also love those costumes, even if they feel a little more consistently vibrant than is realistic.)

This film is a bit darker, lighting-wise (which is also realistic, haha), so in some of the scenes I tweaked them a little so we could see the costumes better.

This is not an exhaustive collection of the costumes, not even for Emma herself.  I did get most of Emma's, though, and a few other characters whose dresses I felt like saving for inspiration.

I did not take these screencaps myself, I merely cropped them.  They are pretty high-quality so feel free to click on them for a closer look!  For the sake of space I'm making some of them small.

Emma's day dresses


The bodice detail on this one is interesting.  It looks like the little jacket thing has a crisscrossed short puff-ish sleeve and she wears it over the dress.





I don't think we ever see this dress without that bodice piece over it.


I kept this picture to refer to Emma's pretty lace collar thing.  It is not a tucker, because it does not tuck... so I am not sure what to call it. *refers to the ever-helpful JA Handbook* A fichu. Okay then.

I love the detailing on Emma's skirt here... am thinking of doing something similar.

Emma's evening and ball gowns




I love her hair in the back! Can I please hire her lady's maid...


This dress looks gorgeous, and unfortunately this is all we can see of it!

And Others

 Harriet's yellow evening dress

And in the same picture was a white dress of Emma's, so here is another picture for that.

Harriet's ball gown

Harriet's yellow day dress

Harriet's white evening gown

Jane's spencer

Jane's wrap dress

And there we are.

It is interesting to note that Emma's wardrobe is mainly an assortment of muted green/blue colors along with whites and creams.


OldFashionGirl said...

Wow, what a nice and detailed post! You did a great job getting all these images and compiling them! I really enjoyed seeing these up close! Emma has quite a few dresses featuring the puffed/long sleeves. I enjoyed her white drawstring ball gown with the ties in front. I feel like Harriet never really lucked out on nice dresses in this film, but there was one I liked. Jane's spencer/pelisse was lovely though! Thanks for taking the time to do this! I would be interested in other posts like this if you ever care to do more! Blessings!

Naomi Bennet said...

This Emma is not my favourite at ALL (mainly because the Mr Knightley in it looks like a vampire.) but I like the dresses. Have you noticed that Emma never wears sleeves longer than her elbow? She should tell us about the latest fashion of long sleeves. (You SHOULD get that reference.)

I like Harriet's dresses - she stole Maria Lucas' wardrobe! Maria Lucas wore 'Harriet's yellow evening dress' to Netherfield Ball (as well as in some other scenes) and I THINK she also wore 'Harriet's yellow (I think it looks white) evening dress' in the 'I thought at least the pigs had escaped into the garden' scene.
Oh, and the dress Harriet wears here ( is also worn by Kitty in P&P95.

Yeah, finding double-costumes is a hobby of mine. :-P

Lovely post!

~ Naomi

Rosie McCann said...

Wow this was so cool! I loved it!! I actually didn't know about this version of Emma :) I like her dresses! I think my favorite would be the green evening gown. It looks so pretty and elegant!

That is amazing that you can make dresses for yourself! I can sew, but I've never made anything for myself (worth mentioning, that is :P) Except of course, hemming pants. I've made hundreds of doll-size dresses that are quite good, however. Maybe I should try making myself a dress sometime!

P.S. Haha, no, I'm not a robot :P

Miss March said...

I really like the dress she's wearing while drawing! Light blue is always in good taste. :) And the sleeves are so cool!

I don't usually notice the costumes in movies all that much, but you're right, there are a lot of pretty dresses in this movie.

Emma 2009 is your favorite adaption? Mine, too! :) I've seen four version altogether and not one of them even comes close to being as good as the '09 version (in my humble opinion). Haha. :)

How many different adaptions of Emma have you seen?

Birdie said...

Very interesting post!
I actually have a behind-the-scenes book from this adaptation. If you don't have it, I could make some scans from the 'costume' chapter and send them to you, if you'd like?

Jessica said...

I love your background and header. :-)
This Emma is my second favorite, but I must say that I actually enjoy the dresses in the 2009 Emma more. But these are very pretty also. :)

Melody said...

I am glad this post interested you! I will indeed probably be doing more in the future. :) Thanks for letting me know!

Haha, Mr. Knightley is prettttty awful in this one. But in almost every other way I like it better than the Gwyneth Paltrow version. ;) I have known one person who heartily defended Mark Strong and really played down Jonny Lee Miller, which was... unique. :P
HAHAHA about the Maria Lucas and Kitty's dresses! Double costumes are so fun. ;)

You should watch it when you get the chance!
People dresses are a lot like doll dresses, but bigger. Haha, I've made both. :) Of course, people aren't all the same size... but if you're making something for yourself you can try it on continually and see if it is fitting. ;)

Miss March,
Funny! Costumes are one of the first things I notice, especially in period drama. Oh, yes, definitely, 2009 is the bestest! I've seen all four available ones, too. I have a blog post about all of them back in the archives somewhere. ;)

I have heard of that book but have never gotten to read it! If you want to scan those pages for me, I would certainly like to see them! But I don't technically need them for my research, so it is up to you. Very kind of you to offer!

Thank you! It rather seems like something of which you would approve. ;)
Oh, indeed! I did not mean for a moment that I liked the costumes in this movie better than in the 2009 one. I just think that they are probably more consistently historically accurate and authentic. But most of the 2009 ones are, too, and as far as personal taste they are by far my favorite! I might do a costume study for that movie, too... :)

Birdie said...

He Melody,

I'd gladly scan the pages for you, we've got to share the period drama love right!
If you could give me your email address, I could send them to you Tuesday probably

The Gibson Girl said...

Oh, this movie is one on my to-watch list! Your costume study was very interesting indeed, and SUCH pretty outfits. =) (Sorry to comment on something over two weeks old... but I 'm afraid I haven't been reading blogs as much lately as I would like to!) I think that day dress with the lacy bodice piece and the pin-tucked skirt is my favorite. =)

Would you rather hear the story...

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