23 thoughts on “Best Bustles in The Age of Innocence

  1. Ellen’s red dinner party dress, hands down! Followed by her pale blue printed satin number…that scene, where Newland slowly moves his hands down over her gotten to her satin shoes done in the same print as the dress is so 1870s HOT!!

    Not to mention, reveals all the amazing details of her dress up close. So few period costume dramas show off the details like The Age of Innocence did. I love it not just for the story, but because it’s similar to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette in that it invests a lot of camera time on the details.

  2. This is one of my all-time favourite FrockFlicks. I simply adore, Gentle Reader, all the costumes of the film. But entre nous, if I had to pick a favourite, May’s Purple dinner dress would tie with Ellen’s Red one. Both dresses convey their wearers’ characters. May, no longer clueless but a woman in control of her life (she uses her ‘innocence’, Society’s mores to achieve her goals). It conveys power, elegance and subtly sex. Ellen’s character is more complicated, the red dress is sexy (worldly), unconventional and hiding something (her European past & unhappiness).

  3. Any of Ellen’s gowns, but particularly the blue -if only I had her figure . . . And yay Tristan! You multitalented Renaissance woman.

  4. May’s archery dress was really great too. It felt & looked so light & summery with everything in bloom around her.

    Was anyone else amazed with how teeny tiny her waist is in that dress?! Makes me curious as to what Ryder’s corseted waist measurements were? Lol, looks pretty close to Scarlet O’Hara’s coveted 18 1/2″

  5. Ellen’s red evening gown, of course. However, I feel that May’s engagement gown is a close second for me.

    My God, the costumes in this movie were gorgeous!

  6. My ex and I were dress extras in the opera scene. She made her own top — which wardrobe tried to get from her after shooting because they thought it was one of theirs. She has fair skin and dark hair, so they made her brown it out for the shoot. It took two days to shoot what amounted to less than five minutes onscreen. The poor kids who were singing had to sing the same few phrases over and over for something like 100 takes. To pass the down time, someone organised a talent show in the holding area. Was quite impressive. A lot of the extras were retired businessmen who fumed at the huge consumption of time and money for so little result. The promised box suppers for the second day came so late they were take-homes for most of us. Ah, the glamour of it all! Ryder looked extremely unwell through most of it.

      1. Yeah, we figured out that if they’d been paid for it, the talent show would have cost about $600,000. As for story, it’s basically about two people who didn’t do anything to, for, or with, each other.

    1. Haha, that’s funny you mention a lot of the retired business men were aghast at the “huge consumption” & waste of time/money in shooting what amounts to a 5 minute scene…just like the Gilded Age! It was all about huge consumer consumption amongst the uber upper classes.

      1. But this was the other end of the pipeline. The nobs would be quite happy with the money spent on the end product, but not on the money spent making it.

  7. I’ve always been a bit “meh” about the plot of this film, but the costumes are to die for. That pale tea gown was the first time I ever had serious envy watching a movie. Something about the way it moved, sounded, looked on screen… I fell in love.

    I also love the purple / pink dress. So pretty.


    1. I second Melinda’s recommendation!! Please do a recap of the best bustles in the ’97 Karenina :)

  8. Sorry, I have to ask: when you say “On exhibition at Tirelli costumes”, do you mean that is a place I can actually visit? Because I’m going to Rome this fall and I would DIE to see those costumes in person.
    (Well. Give a limb. Either way.)

    1. I specifically meant on display on their website, but if you poke around there enough, you’ll see that Tirelli has held various displays of their costumers’ works thru the years. I don’t know if that’s *at* their own facility or elsewhere. Only some of their website is in English!

      PS: If you find out & visit, report on what you see to Frock Flicks :)

  9. I really don’t want to be that person, commenting late, but what the hell, the power of pedantry compels me – this is natural form era. None of those dresses have bustles. The whole point of the natural form era is that they eschewed the bustle (until it came back, mid-decade). I could be wrong ( I may very well be, if I am, forgive me) but I needed to say something.

  10. Edith Wharton loved the image of a lady in a pale gown against dark leather furniture – it comes up in the House of Mirth, and in a short story the name of which slips my mind, and here. I thought all the ladies looked fantastic (although some of the outfits read more 1880’s than 1876 to me, but mine isn’t the most trained eye – I watch these things to pick at the sets, like the ladies of Frock Flicks do the costumes) but I’m just not happy with Newland’s hat. I’ve seen similar ones – had to look it up afterward to see for sure, but when I was watching it, my knee-jerk reaction was that it looked more like the types of “top hat” women wore with riding habits? The style I saw later, checking in on this detail that survived the night’s drinks to haunt me over coffee, did have the curved sides, but didn’t have the creased crown. 7/10 overall though – even if they did use early 20th century Hubbard oil lamps in place :)

  11. God even the tea gowns had corset-like waistlines…at least they loosened up in the Edwardian era, brief though it was. I thought DDL’s character was such a weak spineless man in this, in so many ways. So afraid of stepping out of his destiny as it was just never done. He seemed pathetic to me. Ellen at least cared little of opinions when she took her own house, saw who she liked etc…she was much braver.

    1. Ha, I just watched it for the first time and felt the same. Maybe I’ve just reached my limit of White Man Angst 🤣

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