12 thoughts on “Costume Designer Janty Yates: The Frock Flicks Guide

  1. A happy New Year to you and all the fabulous Frock Flicks team! I actually quite enjoyed The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain. It is sort of a perfect piece of fluff for a rainy Sunday afternoon – also I did part of my studies in wales and the landscapes are always evocative for me. Jude is a wrenching film and I remember finding it hard to watch (and even harder to read, though I do love Hardy in general) but I do remember the costumes, especially the dresses, as being solid and strong for the period and their class. Plunkett & Macleane always makes me giggle as it just hits me as such a confusing car-crash. Why? I just didn’t get the design and was at a loss to what exactly they were trying to convey with the costume and hair. I do think Charlotte Gray was well designed and fabulous to look at (I adore some of the hats in particular) even if the film seems to lose complete steam mid way through.

  2. For me, it’s a toss-up between Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven, which also happen to be two of my favorite Ridley Scott movies.Coincidence? Probably not. :)

  3. I think I’ve seen about half of these films. Costume-wise, Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven are my favorites. As a film, Enemy at the Gates is one of the best WWII movies I’ve ever seen. And The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill… is delightful, from what I remember. Also, I think I’m one of ten people on planet earth who liked the Ridley Scott version of Robin Hood. (I can’t really defend its merits; I can only say that I liked it.)

    1. I also liked Ridley Scotts Robin Hood, but not as much as I like Prince Of Thieves which, for all the cheesiness is hella entertaining :D
      I reallylove the costumes for both Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven, even though I know they’re inaccurate. They are pretty to look at.

    2. Listen, I know now and I knew then, that the costumes in Gladiator, while fabulous, were barely accurate. HOWEVER – the gorgeous costumes in that movie are partially responsible for one of my most treasured movie-going experiences ever.

      I saw Gladiator at a midnight showing in Union Square when it first came out, and the theater was packed with… um, eager, enthusiastic, and shall we say … overserved gay men (no doubt drawn by the huntastic-ness of prime Russell Crowe and the general Romanic fabulousness of the design). Every time Connie Nielsen’s Drusilla came on screen in her thrilling series of (wildly inaccurate) gowns and shawls and diadems there were audible gasps, accompanied by light applause and murmurs of favorable commentary. It was building to a crescendo.

      And then… At some point when Drusilla’s position at the emperor’s court is quite low, and she’s distressed and overwrought over concern for her son, she shows up on screen… in (horror) a the same outfit as a previous scene. The guy behind me just said, out loud, in a acidic, precise southern drawl “Oh honey, we’ve seen that.”

      The entire house shook with laughter and applause and joy. Not a day doesn’t go by that I do not think of that night.

      1. Thanks for sharing this memory!! It is wonderful! I miss those days of collective joy in a movie theater! (And I also miss Russell Crowe in a tunic!)

  4. I haven’t seen it, but Ashley Judd looks absolutely gorgeous in that dress from De Lovely.

  5. Quite the résumé. I thought The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain was a charming film. Random find I happened to catch on tv one night.

    As for her work with Ridley Scott… I think this is largely his doing, but yes, it gets progressively less and less authentic. The Last Duel was a visual shitshow that wasn’t even in the realm of correct, from the clothing, architecture, and ridiculous armour. The other Medieval work is slightly better, though still wrong.

    And funny she mentions the Pre-Raphaelites. I definitely think Ridley Scott is the last Pre-Raphaelite. I love the genuine Pre-Raphaelites’ work; Scott’s pastiche of it is less effective.

    His Napoléon biopic doesn’t look like it’s off to a great start – especially with young Bonaparte’s hat. Keep expectations low, I suppose.

  6. The movies I know of this list have not good costumes. But all of them except “Plunkett & Maclean” are made by Ridley Scott, who has his own style of costumes in all movies (except “The duellists”). Therefor maybe it’s not her fault. The “Napoleon”-film is looking very poor too with a far too old “young” Géneral Bonaparte in a semi-historical uniform (the cocade obviously is wrong for the period and where are the buttons on the cuffs?)… OK, if I have to choose I would choose “Exodus” because it’s looking more interesting then the other attempts…

    1. “…are made by Ridley Scott, who has his own style of costumes in all movies (except “The duellists”). Therefor maybe it’s not her fault.”

      Indeed. The Duellists is easily Ridley Scott’s most authentic work (when compared to his other movies). I think in large part it’s because he had so little leeway. Because of his lack of budget, he was at the mercy of other movies and real life resources. Some years ago one of the extras testified that they were wearing moldy uniforms from the 1956 War and Peace. And because of little money for sets, Scott had to use extant buildings. There’s one interesting exception, though.

      That said, it’s not as authentic as people may suppose. The uniforms for the first third of the movie are just… wrong. This is likely due to budget. (That’s to say nothing of language and its use which is a different story.)

      It’s telling that as soon as Ridley Scott has a bigger budget and CGI, he starts to get things wildly wrong. He’s just not interested in authenticity.

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