17 thoughts on “SNARK WEEK: Leading Character Costume Syndrome

  1. The makeup in the first Downton Abbey movie (I skipped the sequel).

    The costumers & hairdressers did a damn good job of producing a 1927 look & feel for the characters (even the corsetry isn’t conspicuously out of place)…

    ….but then the director told the makeup artists to bring their 2018 makeup palettes and undercut all the previous work. Just for the lead characters, of course.

  2. About the eyebrows, I remember reading the autobiography of the actress who played Scarlett O’Hara’s youngest sister. In it, she mentions that, during a conversation with the producer or the director ( cannot remember, read it a long time ago) she said that Scarlett shouldn’t have plucked eyebrows since women didn’t in the 1860s.

  3. That picture of Lily Collins in The Last Tycoon has to be one of the most egregious examples of this phenomenon in recent years. I understand the eyebrows are a big part of her signature look, but just don’t do period then!

    In general, the commitment to lead actresses being dressed and styled in “flattering” ways regardless of period accuracy (or, more importantly to my mind, what makes sense for the specific character they’re playing) is so widespread that it’s always a welcome surprise when it’s not the case (e.g., I don’t believe Mia Wasikowska is wearing makeup in Jane Eyre, though there are other inaccurate things about that version).

  4. I agree with everything you say. I also believe that Legends of the Fall is the hottest Brad Pitt has ever looked. It’s a paradox

  5. Barbra Streisand’s opening look in Hello Dolly! was my dream as a child. The makeup and eyebrows are obviously all wrong, but the rest of her look was shockingly historically accurate for costuming in the 1960s. I will have to go back and look at it again, but it is one of the few costumes in the movie that actually represents the 1890s (or close to it).

  6. I have a lot of respect for films that invert this trope, like Laurence Olivier really committing to the Norman/bellend haircut in Henry V (1944).

    Or everyone in the excellent Winstanley (1975).

    I think these movies tend to age better visually.

    1. Agree – when you do a period movie w/all the costumes, hair, makeup trying to look like that period, then 20 years later, they don’t look as dated! Unlike all the 1960s “period” films with bouffants ;)

  7. I was just commenting this on another article about the new Zorro series; all of the female characters have very modern makeup but in particular, Renata Notni
    who plays the love interest Lolita Marquez is frequently wearing men’s clothing (in particular a men’s vest – with no hint of women’s historical undergarments like a corset underneath – and a man’s hat), hair down or very loosely up, and very Kim Kardashian-esque makeup. Zorro himself doesn’t fair much better as he has very 2020s hair (with no sideburns) and many open-to-the-navel shirts.

  8. For the most part, this phenomenon drives me nuts, but I personally give a pass on eyebrows. If you plucked an actress’s eyebrows into that 30s thin shape, it might never grow back. Look at everyone who’s eyebrows were never the same after the thin brow trend of the early 2000’s!

  9. I understand and agree with this post and the pictured examples–EXCEPT I simply CANNOT complain about the male “bad examples” pictured here because I’m too busy drooling over them–with the exception of Joseph Fiennes’s hair (in Merchant of Venice) and Tom Hardy’s hair (in Wuthering Heights). I mean, teenage me had a whole, beautiful, wonderful, sexual awakening from that scene in Much Ado About Nothing and every Ralph Fiennes scene in Wuthering Heights!! But, I get what you mean! ;)

    In my opinion, the most egregious leather pants example is not pictured here: Jamie Campbell Bower as Christoher Marlowe in Will–although, yet again, he was totally hottttt–but that costume was oh so wrong. (That whole production was oh so wrong.)

    Re makeup: I understand, but what about when being “accurate” is a distraction? I just re-watched season 2 of A Discovery of Witches and Queen Elizabeth’s makeup was a HUGE distraction for me. It helped the storyline in that show, but still…. Come to think of it, I believe Matthew Goode was also sexily strolling around Elizabethan England in leather pants, too…

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