Thursday, November 6, 2008

Notes on the Costumes in Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice

As I've been in a very "Pride and Prejudice" mood these past few days I decided to write out a bit of the notes on the costumes in this film from Joe Wright (director, whom I think is brilliant) and Jacqueline Durran (costume designer).

Here they are...I hope you enjoy them. :)

"I think the empire line dresses are very ugly, so I did some research. Although the novel was published in in 1811, Jane Austen wrote the first draft of Pride and Prejudice, then called First Impressions, in 1797. So we were able to use the fashions of the earlier period, where the waist line was much lower, and more flattering." -Director Joe Wright

~Caroline Bingley~
"When Caroline Bingley appears she would obviously be wearing the latest creation,

~Mrs Bennet~
"but Mrs Bennet's dresses are earlier than 1797,
~Lady Catherine~

"and Lady Catherine's are even earlier- because those two would have best clothes in their wardrobe from previous years." -Director Joe Wright

"Joe wanted to make something which felt more real and the early research would tell you that people didn't iron their clothes every day, they didn't wash their outer garments every day and that things would look worn in, they wouldn' be all fresh and new." -Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran

~Elizabeth Bennet~

"Joe wanted Lizzie's character to be tomboyish, to be clever, to be bright, to not be very interested in current fashions, to be interested and involved in nature and the things around her."

~Mr Darcy~
"If you look closely, Darcy's costumes in the course of the film change quite radically. In the early scenes he's wearing a very buttoned up, very rigid, very stiff style of costume.

"In the middle stage he's wearing the same style but in a softer fabric and a softer cut,

"and by the end of the film, he's wearing a much looser cut, an open jacket, a more country style, less uptight, less rigid...His costumes reflect the other changes in his character." -Jacqueline Durran

~Jane Bennet~
"Jane is the most perfect of all the Bennets and her clothes are the most up to date...her colours are very pretty, pale pinks, pale blues, sage...and the object of her clothes was just to be always perfect, as perfect as you could be in a provincial setting." -Jacqueline Durran

"We wanted to make the two dances very distinct visually." -Jaqueline Durran

~Meryton Townhall~

" For the Meryton Ball, we used muted earth colours and browns and soft colours so that it would be very much a part of the provincial world, and the extras would blend in with the Bennets...

~Netherfield Ball~
"For Netherfield, we wanted to make it very monochromatic and used primarily black for the men, red on the soldiers and white on the women." -Jacqueline Durran

So there you have just a taste of the thought put into the costumes behind the scenes. I have a few thoughts of my own but I'll wait until I do individual costume studies, which if this mood lasts long, might be sooner than later! ;)


  1. Lovely, Janes blue dress is gorgeous . But I still think the best version is the A&E version, it's way closer to the book, and fabulously done. Even though it's six hours long it's worth it.

  2. This is a fantastic post! I am working on putting a photo shoot together involving coats similar to the ones Mr Wickham wore. I was hoping for more images of the men's costumes, but you have quite a lot here as it is. Do you know of any good resources on coats of this time period? Specifically the fancy military coats?

    Your post has been most helpful!

  3. Fashion plates from this era, books, and movies are where I get most of my inspiration for this era. Little Dorrit has some amazing coats in it though not military. Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion have some uniforms. Otherwise google usually turns up something. I don't have a ton of great resources at the moment.

  4. This was helpful insight into the choices for this film. Though I despise how Mr. Bingley was portrayed in this version, learning more about the reasoning behind the costume design was interesting. Thank you for sharing this piece.



Although I continually talk about movie costumes on this blog, I am not a movie reviewer. Not all the films I discuss are recommended and I do not choose to review weather they are appropriate or not for the simple fact that every person's standards are different. Something that is fine for me may be offensive to some one else and visa versa. If you would like to look into the appropriateness of a title, I recommend I have not seen all the movies I discuss, and am simply interested in the art of clothes in film. I will leave you to decide for yourself if you will watch the movie or not.


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