20 thoughts on “SNARK WEEK: A Tale of Two Denims

  1. Ahh I am so glad you addressed this – I was (mostly because of your awesome work here) shook when I saw The Favourite’s denim, but came to appreciate the way it was used – because Sandy Powell wouldn’t mess with us like that!

  2. Having read about the use of denim here, I knew there was denim in The Favourite, but watching it I didn’t feel like it read as denim on screen—in fact, none of the “hacks” she used to get the looks really stood out, denim, laser cut vinyl, etc. I think it’s a testament to her expertise in knowing what she could kind of get away with on film and with the other design (particularly the lighting, which was not infrequently low).

    I just wish more designers would read your blog… I get budget, director’s vision, etc., but these comments from Ms. Byrne almost read like contempt for history. :-\

    1. Right! She stated among other things she didn’t want to be ‘too historical’????? So bloody annoying and conceited. Her vision was all about her, not the story, no matter what she asserts!

  3. They are both nominated for the Oscar for Costume Design – I’ll be watching that night with baited breath. (And if it doesn’t go to Sandy Powell, please please let it go to Ruth Carter for the non-historical but otherwise fantastic costumes from Black Panther.)

  4. I agree Byrne sounds like she’s an idiot who flunked world history in school. And Her Holiness Sandy Powell sounds like she pulled a Hermione Granger in world history and was using what seemed to work due to her director’s measly costume budget.

    I’m torn for this year’s Oscars bc I want both The Favourite and Black Panther to win.

  5. “I think sometimes period costumes can become a bit distant and a bit historical. ”
    OMG! Historical costume can be… (wait for it)… Historical! Who’d have thought, amarite?
    And I’m hysterical.
    Also, Sandy Powell could have used just about any fabric, since, y’a know, she knows fashion history. It’s not only the fabric, it’s the cut, the structure of a garment… the friggin’ underwear and all that jazz. The Favorites costumes look like they could be period… MQOS? More like someone vomited denim on the Tudors.

  6. I dunno, most of the costumes in The Favourite were really off-putting, I could not unsee the lace which looked like cricut plastic. And the palette was so grim, it became boring. Haven’t see MQoS yet, but planning to go with a few friends to hate-watch.

  7. That one still from MQoS has me truly concerned that drowning is imminent for those actresses…can you imagine how much those enormous skirts of denim weigh?! It’s bad enough when just your pant legs get wet…they don’t have to act the struggle to get out of that water! Yikes.

  8. I feel like it’s a case of knowing the rules before you break them sort of thing. The silhouettes, hair and makeup looked correct, so the choices with material, color and pattern looked deliberate instead of just a sloppy mish-mosh.

  9. I felt like Byrne had contempt for the audience — like we were too stupid to appreciate historicity. I can’t ell you how much I hated the costumes from MQOS. I found the costumes in The Favourite to be cleverly done in contrast. Not strictly “historical,” but well enough done to evoke the time period.

  10. Alexandra Byrne is basically that annoying guy that turns up to fetish clubs in every day clothes then whines “Buuuuuuuuuuuuut jeans are my fetish!” when he gets turned away for breaking the dress code.

  11. I can’t. I have been dreading this as to anyone but an historian, you would think Scottish history was William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and MQoS, everything in terms of our relationship with England and nothing about the Auld Alliance, nothing about Orkney and the Isles, nothing about our relationship with Scandinavian countries. Nothing. 3 historical figures is all we’re allowed, and they mostly get their stories told badly.

    I saw adverts for this months ago and the director was all “And of course they meet” and THEY. NEVER. MET. NEVER. Elizabeth refused to meet Mary, for whatever reason, so I can’t bear to see how they’ll deal with anything else. Can you imagine the Casket Letters, or the Babbington Plot? Will the messages be carried on a BMX bike by a wee ned in a tracksuit? I can’t.

    Can you imagine the press if Megan Markle rocked up to a public function in a denim dress, today, in 2019? Why the hell would anyone think royalty, who led an entirely pampered existence and were thought to be divine by dint of birth, would wear denim?

    Politically speaking, this film has been released at a time when Scotland is being treated dismissively and shamefully by our rulers in England and this film could have been an amazing political statement on the state of the Union, history used as a device to show the current political problems between the First Minister of Scotland (Nicola Sturgeon) and the Prime Minister of the UK (Theresa May) but no. Just a boring old rehash of MQoS as childish and whimsical and at the mercy of her emotions.

    Only this time, she’s in denim.

    Not enough urgh on the planet.

    1. ^Agreed. It was interesting and I don’t regret seeing it but it was pretty depressing how power and machinations destroy real human relationships… I wouldn’t recommend it to most people.

  12. Sandy Powell is a costume goddess. The fact that she thought, “I can buy cheap jeans at thrift stores and make amazing-looking costumes out of them which won’t really read on-screen as denim” is why she stands out, imo. She knows what she’s working with, and how to make it work.

  13. Elizabethan costumes aren’t sexy??? This woman never watched the 2nd season of Black Adder and it shows.

  14. I’m pretty sure the Queen and her Maries would NOT have been let to struggle ashore unaided. And of course the hair is All Wrong. It would be right for Mary’s son’s reign but not hers.

  15. I loved The Favourite – the choices Powell made completely made sense to me. Whereas in MQoS it just felt like they were trying to do some bizarre denim high fashion thing and they were not doing it well! The whole movie bugged me – making them meet was so pointless – MQoS had a pretty dramatic life, there was no need to embellish it! Great post 😊

  16. Does anyone remember the old jeff foxworthy routine where he says “if your wedding dress is made of denim… you might be a redneck”? That’s all i could think of watching this.

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