15 thoughts on “SNARK WEEK RECAP: The Empress (2022), Ep. 5 & 6

  1. I’m not watching season 2 either. This show flunked history in every episode and costumes failed too.

  2. OK, so now I know how a random revolutionary became a lady in waiting to the Empress, but I still don’t see how she pulled it off. Impersonating a particular Austrian aristocrat in, I don’t know, India among the Brits, maybe. But, you know, these people were not hermits. They were from well-known families, they were all related to each other and they hung out at court quite often.

    1. Yup. Aristocracies are like small towns, everybody knows everybody else’s business and who’s related to whom.

  3. I have the impression that period film and series are getting worse and worse with time. Contemporary period productions have not only shitty costumes, but mess up timelines and show completely anachronistic behaviours of their protagonists (I can’t forget the picture of Katherine of Aragon in a “pregnancy armour” leading a battle …). I’m not saying that period films in the past were flawless, but with time one could expect improvement and not deterioration.

    1. I know what you mean about things getting worse.

      It used to be that there was at least a reasonable attempt to capture the period accurately, but with some concessions to current popular taste, or to the actress’ image as promoted by the studio, or to censorship dictates– most of which seemed to revolve around how boobs were being put on display.

      And sometimes you even had things like somebody deciding PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940) had to be time-shifted, because the costuming for the correct period “wasn’t sumptuous enough”– or didn’t look good on Greer Garson, depending on who’s telling it.

      (OTOH, Thackeray did the same thing with his illustrations for the original edition of his VANITY FAIR, because he thought the actual period costumes were ridiculous and ugly.)

      But now, you’ve got this trend towards making “relatable” costumes that wind up being hideous crap no one would want to wear in ANY period. Even though this is always couched as a need to accommodate modern audiences, it’s way too often just an excuse for slapping together things out of prom dresses and sari fabrics.

      And worst of all is when you see a designer express outright contempt for accurate period clothing, as is shown in the article about the costumes for THE EMPRESS. (If you think the period is that bad, just don’t take the damn job!)

      I’ve got a strong suspicion that anything in this crappy series that looked reasonably accurate or well-made was a rental– and not the work of this designer– given how ridiculous (and often hideous) most of the costumes were.

      In my book, they fall smack in the middle between Eiko Ishioka’s costumes for BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA and Andy Milligan’s sewn-with-a-stapler costumes for his no-budget “period” horror movies in the ’60s and ’70s.

      1. BTW– even though they’re considered to be among the worst films ever made, Andy Milligan’s oeuvre might be worthy of a future Snark Week or Halloween entry, since they’re largely misbegotten “period films” all costumed by the director himself.

        A lot of his stuff is out there on video, and there are at least two biographies covering his amazingly bizarre life. But be warned– you’ll probably need a bathtub full of pink drinks!

      2. Thank you for understanding my view :-). I wonder why film production companies make such crap as e. g. “The Empress” (with an absolutely amateurish, horrible costume designer, who knows nothing about the fashion of the period and expresses herself with such disdain about it), since a large portion of the audience are people, who are interested in history or/and the history of art. Are they thinking that the public are pelicans, who can swallow everything?

    2. I agree with you, too. It’s saddening, actually. There’s little or no sense of beauty or aesthetics or excellence, on top of ridiculous distortion of history and real people.

    3. Back in the day costumes might have been historically inaccurate but at least they were PRETTY!! Now the look like post modernist crap.

  4. If that mustard yellow rayon thing had a split waist band instead of a gap, didn’t have a (faux?) breast pocket, was a different color, and wasn’t purporting to be 1850s, I’d wear it.

  5. That’s a great screenshot of Revolutionary Boyfriend. His facial expression is less like someone realizing he’s about to die because his lover and comrade in arms betrayed him, and more like if Kendall Roy lost a Slim Shady costume contest.

  6. I double checked with Wikipedia, Maximilian was commander of the Austrian navy and mostly at sea in this period, not scheming in Vienna.

  7. Oh boy, was I waiting for you guys to review this. Even though I’m a rookie when it comes to historical fashion, I figured out that something isn’t right with the costumes in this series and actively rolled my eyes out at the outfits of ladies in waiting (corsets as outer garments, ombre skirts…) and the obligatory corset yanking scene. That costume designer is really something for shitting on 1850s fashion and than giving us THESE. If you’re gonna stray from the period, at least give us something beautiful to look at, legit the only pretty dress in the whole series was Elisabeth’s wedding dress. The hairstyles were atrocious, especially those of LiW and the matron, just terrible.

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