15 thoughts on “Jenny Beavan: The Frock Flicks Guide

  1. What a lovely blog post! Good researching to bring together all the interview clips and photos! Thank you!

    I love Room With a View, Howard’s End, and Sense and Sensibility- oh, and Ever After, of course! Some movies on this list I haven’t seen, they’ll have to go on my watch list!

  2. I love the Merchant-Ivory ones. And Amazing Grace is such a wonderful, gorgeous film.

  3. I’m rather miffed at the Alexander (2004) quote, equating corsets with oppression and loose ancient Greek clothes with empowerment. It’s not like all corset wearers were powerless or ancient Greece was a bastion of women’s rights.

    1. Annoyed me too. From what I have read women had no rights at all in Ancient Greece whereas during the nineteenth century corset wearing women were standing up and fighting for their rights, hence where we are today. They began the fight for equality.

  4. She’s the best of the best for me! From Cranford to Mad Max, I love it all! I loved her even more when she wore boots and a leather jacket for her first standalone Oscar win. :)

  5. Ever after and sense and sensibility.. this lost though is it’s own much watch list… I’m going to make a must see lost out of this to binge watch

  6. I really cannot choose a favourite. The costumes she had a part in designing are brilliant, breathtakingly beautiful and are appropriate to each character down to the least crowd member.

    I will admit that The Bostonians is my least favourite movie of the lot. But the costumes are the best thing about it.

  7. Wow what a filmography. A few films there I don’t care for, ie that version of Jane Eyre, though the costumes do look stunning in nearly all of them, but there are also quite a few favourites, Howard’s End, Room with a View, Sense and Sensibility – naturally – and A United Kingdom (which I really recommend) I was interested to see “The Bridge” there. I have vague memories of watching that years ago. I recall the costumes made more of an impression than the story. I do like the look of that red dress in the second Sherlock Holmes movie.

  8. Wow, I had no idea she’d done so many!

    I think The Nutcracker and the Four Realms looks amazing; I saw the trailer over Christmas and squealed, it looks like a visual delight. (And Helen Murren is the villain. What more could I ask?)

  9. Great post! Jenny Beavan is one of the best in the trade. Had the time of my life handling several of her Austen-costumes in 2017 so I know how remarkable her work is. Favourite film? Sense and Sensibility, Room with a view and Jefferson in Paris.

  10. The National Army Museum said that “Even though Colonel Brandon had left the army by now, he would have worn a new uniform for his wedding made by his military tailor”? WTF? Even for the NAM, which has for decades avoided employing anyone who knows anything about the history of the British Army, that’s a stunningly dumb statement. When you resigned the King’s commission, you ceased to wear the King’s uniform.

    OK, I totally get that the production needed Brandon to look dashing and festive at his wedding. So, OK, let’s handwave that although he had left the army he was colonel of the local volunteers (the Napoleonic equivalent of the Territorials); as an important local landowner that’s perfectly credible. Sadly, the uniform Jenny Beavan designed for him is so craptastic it had everyone who knows anything about Napoleonic British uniforms rolling around laughing like hyenas as the credits rolled.

    What’s wrong with it, you ask? Well:

    The shoulders are cut at least 2 inches too wide. Though that’s also true of just about every Napoleonic British army uniform in just about every movie or TV production, so I wouldn’t carp too much if that were the only thing wrong with it.
    There’s only one epaulette. This was the distinguishing mark of a company officer – i.e. captain, lieutenant or ensign. A colonel or a major ALWAYS had two epaulettes – so Rickman in this coat CANNOT be a colonel!
    The lace loops outlining the buttonholes on the collar and lapels of the coat are silver, but the epaulette is gold. This is a total impossibility. In the British Army (and the volunteers and the East India Company forces too) the lace and the buttons were always the same metal: a gold-laced regiment had gold buttons and a silver-laced regiment had silver buttons. So However, Rickman in this coat CANNOT be British! (He could be Swiss, perhaps. Swiss regiments in the French service wore red coats, and mixed-metals were a thing in some Continental armies.)
    He has no sword-belt or sword, unlike the other officers in that scene. Sorry: an officer without his sword is not fully dressed.

    1. Yes, the uniform is laughable. I was surprised, though, to see that the quotes in this article prove that Beavan has some very stupid and contradictory notions about corset-wearing. As this is Frock Flicks, I was hoping that the author of the article would call her out on them. Stuff like this:

      “You can’t corset someone who’s developed her ribcage through exercise – it won’t cinch in.”

      Seriously? Just no. A corset is NOT supposed to crush a woman’s ribcage. A very toned woman might have trouble with a corset, but that would be because she lacks the “padding” that would be able to squish around and form the correct period shape. It has nothing to do with her ribs.

      Then she says this:

      “Maggie [Smith], who wears quite tailored things as befits an elderly spinster, corsets well because she’s thin.”

      So which is it, Beavan? Are thin women worse for corset-fitting, or better? But this next quote really shocked me:

      “’I’m not the least bit interested in designing,’ she says.”

      She’s a costumer. How do you costume films without being at least a little interested in the creative process of designing? That attitude might explain why her Merchant Ivory work, which apparently involved directly copying existing antique clothes or simply reusing them, looks much better than most of her more consciously “designed” projects, like S&S. When she doesn’t have a pattern to meticulously copy, she’s lost.

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