If you listened to our podcast about Outlander, then you know I (Kendra) would be eagerly awaiting each new episode. Yep, Saturday nights have been hot and happening around my place, as I send the husband off to Do Something Else! (You don’t talk during Outlander, bitchez).
I thought about trying to recap each episode but there’s no way I could do it (too busy), plus Jezebel’s recaps are pretty darn entertaining. For those who are into the show, there’s also been some interesting articles at the Hollywood Reporter. But I do want to post periodically with my ongoing thoughts, with a particular highlight on costuming!
Since the podcast, we’ve hung out more with Geillis (the witchy one), had The Gathering (where all of clan MacKenzie showed up at Castle Leoch for a formal oath-swearing), some high profile extras have appeared, and then Claire went out on the road with Dougal MacKenzie (the laird’s brother & right-hand man) as they collected rent from tenants… and at the very end of the last episode, we encountered some redcoats.
First of all, I think anyone who is going to watch this show is going to have to accept a couple of facts:
1) Claire, the lead, is going to be in relatively pretty clothes that fit well, with a semi-extensive wardrobe. Why? Because a modern audience isn’t going to want to watch a historical costume series with a lead actress who runs around in one ugly sack. It’s just not going to fly!
So when Claire heads out on the road, she wears a very fetching fur-trimmed double-breasted jacket.
2) On some level, it’s theater. So while part of me raises my eyebrows at the crazy shit Geillis wears, like this monkey-fur waistcoat that the actress wore backwards…. it’s theater. They’re trying to show us that there’s something off about Geillis. They’re making aesthetic choices in order to communicate visually. (FYI, she wears this outfit with bright red shoes!)
Both author Diana Gabaldon and producer Ron Moore made cameos in The Gathering episode, Diana in a blue velvet dress and Ron in an embroidered suit. Interestingly, there is also an image of Diana going around that has her in a blue plaid dress, but I don’t believe she wears this on screen. The embroidery on Ron’s suit is really pretty.
Claire has been in all sorts of outfits. For the Gathering, she wore this plaid number with (embroidered?) floral petticoat and stomacher, which didn’t seem so harmonious in my eyes… but then I remember how this image of an 18th century Scotswoman in a plaid-fabric dress looks jarring to me, and that is clearly historically accurate!
There were some (ahem) interesting choices on the extras in the Gathering scene, especially on the women — who were wearing high, late 1760s hair. And the woman with the yellow embroidered leaves on her stomacher and robings (the pleated front edges of her gown) — shudder.
BUT! And this is an important but! We have been continuing to be In History. Claire has even been wearing fichus!
And, this green plaid dress is really beautifully cut and made.
And us Ladies of a Certain Age have been growing increasingly hot for Dougal… I don’t know, he’s all manly and authoritative! I can’t help it!
But the coolest scene, from a textile history nerd perspective, is when Claire comes across some Highland women waulking wool. They all sit across from each other at a table, pour hot urine on the wool, and push it back and forth while singing waulking songs to keep the time — all to felt the wool. The scene is straight out of historical sources, and it made me pretty happy!
So yeah. I’m still happy, although yes, LET’S GET TO THE SHAGGING. Ahem.