Would you like some gothic horror served with a side of gorgeous 18th-century costumes and bad hair? Then Brotherhood of the Wolf aka Le Pacte des Loups (2001) is for you! Or for me, because this movie is just what I was looking for back in college, only it came out a decade later, dangit. Still, it’s a not-so guilty pleasure for all the eye-candy, as long as I ignore the hair, especially on the men. This was going to be a quick post about a few fancy costumes (most of which are recycled from earlier productions), but I got carried away and had some nice screenshots and then some historical info, and, well, things escalated…
Kind of like this banquet scene — it’s just chock full of yummy things to look at, kinda sorta historical but with problems, all of it very gothic, and really, just save me a place because I’ll be right there!
Before we dig into the deliciousness, let’s taste a snarky appetizer of where this flick goes astray. Primarily, it’s with the guys.
Men’s Hair and Costumes in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
Knight Grégoire de Fronsac
The story revolves around Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) arriving in town to hunt down a nasty wolf-like creature that’s been terrorizing the peasants. Fronsac is fresh from doing stuff in the New World and has New Ideas ‘n stuff. Maybe that’s where got a New Wave haircut? It’s very floppy and not at all 1760s, when this movie is set.
He’s definitely a business up front, party in the back kind of guy. Except his party is is wrapped up in cheap Christmas ribbon. Folks, this is not how you do an 18th-c. men’s queue.
Sure, a queue (ponytail) would be worn and it could be braided or wrapped in ribbon. But the guy’s hair wouldn’t be cut into a mullet; the hair in front would be curled or possibly just pulled back into the queue. There aren’t a lot of back views of men’s hair in period portraiture, but this fellow has a bit of a side view of his queue, showing how it’s probably braided and looped up and tied with a nice black silk ribbon.
These diagrams show popular styles like wrapped pigtails and braided Ramillies wig, the later was first worn by soldiers in the American colonies, so theoretically Fronsac could have picked it up there. But, uh, he failed on the execution.
The suits are nice though, plenty of gold braid and buttons are in evidence for fancy events. The older man (on the right) also has shitty modern hair.
Look, Fronsac is supposed to be more macho or something, he’s wearing boots, while his younger buddy is wearing shoes and stockings. Gotta love that cliche!
Marquis Thomas d’Apcher
The young marquis (Jérémie Renier) really rocks the mullet! He doesn’t even bother attempting a ponytail or faux-queue. He just lets it all hang out.
But that seems to be the style in these parts.
When Fronsac was in the New World, he made an Iroquois pal, Mani (Mark Dacascos), so the movie can check off this vaguely racist cliche too.
The Young Poet
I didn’t catch this character’s name, but his hair is too magnificent not to screencap. He flirts unsuccessfully with Marianne and recites a dumb poem at the banquet. His hair is doing the heavy lifting here.
Miscellaneous Old Men
The young guys all wear their hair “natural” because they’re young, right? So the old guys wear wigs because they’re old fuddy-duddies — even though most any man of wealth and status (which includes all these characters) would wear a fashionable wig in the 1760s.
He could be out of a portrait. This is what most of the men in the movie should have hair like.
But then what happened here?
This one is a little retro for the 1760s, but I like it.
Jean-François de Morangias
Then there’s the baddie (Vincent Cassel). He starts off looking fiiiine, with his unpowdered hair worn in a proper queue. He’s always in vivid scarlet red and black, very goth, very hot.
When all is revealed, a key part of Jean-François’ “disguise” is this corset garment. It’s pretty cool how it’s constructed similar to 18th-c. stays but with the necessary modifications for his unique needs.
The rest of the bad guys get cool red velvet capes and leather masks.
OK, that’s an overview of the men. Not great! Let’s see if the women do better.
Marianne de Morangias’ Costumes in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
Marianne (Émilie Dequenne) is the daughter of the local count, she’s Jean-François’ sister, and she becomes Fronsac’s love interest. Thus, she gets the best costumes.
Red Court Gown
The first thing we see her in is very formal, probably too formal for the setting since it’s just that banquet at her home. But whatever, it’s a nice dress. Her hair, however, is what I’d call “just OK” and Kendra would freak the hell out about being “modern bridal.” No, it’s not really an 18th-century style, but it’s styled up and moderately decorative, so I don’t mind. If you want someone to pick this particular nit, ask her to write about it!
This gown appears to have been first made for this film (and later reused), and it bears a striking resemblance to this portrait.
Red Velvet Riding Habit
OK, this may be the main reason anyone watches this movie! If you don’t love Marianne’s riding habit, I can’t talk to you. This is definitely one of the best riding habits ever onscreen. And while it was originally made for Catherine Zeta Jones in Catherine the Great (1995), the outfit is much more beautifully showcased and filmed in Brotherhood of the Wolf.
I bet the original costume was inspired by this portrait. The style is later, but the red jacket / striped waistcoat combo with gold braid is iconic.
Pale Blue Suit
Another scene where the costume is beautiful but hard to see details because Marianne is backlit. What up, cinematographer? Well, it’s a lovely wintery scene none-the-less. Fronsac’s suit is very elegant here, in a plummy tone with gold accents, and I love the full-skirted look of 1760s men’s coats.
Blue Brocade Jacket
This costume is another one recycled from Catherine the Great (1995), but it’s really gorgeous. That fabric is amazingly like period examples.
Compare that beautiful blue floral damask with:
This gown was made for The Aristocrats (1999) and has been reused a ton in so many productions. But it’s only seen a tiny bit onscreen here. What’s more noticeable is Marianne’s hair, and it’s bad enough that even I’ll comment on as SUPER modern bridal! I think it’s the little flowers that push me over the edge.
Sure, flowers were worn in the hair but they’d look real not like dinky ribbon roses. Even a romantic, stylized painting like Fragonard’s shows flowers that look like actual flowers:
Kind of hard to see this gown due to lighting and it’s a fight scene. But there is a great view of deeply shitty hair!
The dress looks like a standard-issue but nice francaise. Feels a little fancy given that she’s kind of running away from home here.
Green Velvet Jacket
Another great jacket! This one may have been created specifically for this film, since I can’t find details about it being reused previously. Beautiful material and fit, love the buttons, the matching hat with fur trim is a nice touch.
This jacket is cut similar to riding coats of the time, such as:
Sylvia’s Costumes in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
Sylvia (Monica Bellucci) starts out as a high-priced whore but turns out she’s a spy. In both cases, she has the next-best costumes in the film.
Black Lace Outfit
Not really sure what this is — some kind of lingerie? It’s not really a corset. Just a lot of strategically placed black lace worn with a mask and a beaded necklace that everyone seemed to have as soon as this movie came out.
Black Sparkly Outfit
This one does have a corset and pocket hoops and even a saque-back, though it’s all made in sparkly black material, which is totally not historically accurate but OMG is it sexy and gorgeous.
OK, here’s what all the goth girls watch this movie for! It’s all about that black veil and the white wig, the black tricorn, and the big black veil over everything. SO DAMN GOOD.
Really does seem like the perfect thing to wear in church to chat with the innocent girl who knows you’re screwing her boyfriend, right?
While she may be a whore / spy and Goth AF, she gets reasonably historical hair! Those side curls look awfully close to the “tete de mouton” style that was fashionable in the 1750s-60s.
Green Military-Inspired Habit
Another costume reused from Catherine the Great (1995), and I think Monica Bellucci is a little more of a fair fight against Catherine Zeta Jones than Émilie Dequenne.
Blue Velvet Jacket
Possibly made for this movie, again, haven’t seen that it was used in something else first. And costume designer Dominique Borg seemed to want a lot 1760s jackets here! The large paillettes on the veil are modern, but they’re pretty, and the rest of the look is gorgeous and feels historical.
Vs. period spangles:
Black Habit & Fan
I couldn’t get decent screenscaps of Sylvia’s last outfit, so here’s just a hint of what she fights and ends the film in.
Whores Costumes in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
Fronsac and some of other men visit the town’s whorehouse and, of course, that’s where Fronsac hooks up with Sylvia. But the movie makes sure to show off a selection of the other ladies who work there. Their costumes are a charming assortment of 18th-c. bits and pieces.
While it should have sleeves (and, y’know, be worn with a petticoat), that little orange jacket does resemble historical styles.
“Turquerie” — imitating Ottoman Turkish fashions, usually designating them as “exotic” and “other” including overtones of sexually uninhibited — was a trend among upper-class Europeans starting in the 16th century and had many expressions in the 18th century. The few women who had traveled to the Ottoman Empire were painted wearing Turkish dress, as were the wives of men who traveled there, such as this:
That’s pretty tits-out for an Englishwoman in the 1720s! The jacket isn’t far off from what the whore’s wearing, along with the turban that other whores wear.
All of the elements seen in the various whores’ corsets can be found in this period example — front lacing, brocade, trim.
Other Women’s Costumes in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
Marianne’s mom, Countess Geneviève de Morangias (Édith Scob), gets a couple nice gowns but I think they’re all recycled from previous productions. This first red one is from Catherine the Great (1995), but a stomacher and sleeve ruffles were added. I also love the jewelry this character wears, it’s heavy and ornate, which adds to the archaic opulence of her look. And if you’re going to wear a doily on your head, make it a gold lace one!
Can’t be sure, but I suspect she’s wearing the same gown under a red cape and with different accessories in this church scene.
In her final scene, the countess wears this lovely purple gown. Again, love the jewelry!
These chicks start a fight before the guys go off to hunt the wolf. I’m amused at the renfaire-goes-to-Burning-Man aesthetic.
While the fighters get cliche outfits, the woman with a lamb or goat who falls down a hillside in her attempt to escape the wolf has a reasonably historical outfit with a
coif unfortunate biggins, fitted jacket, and print neckerchief.
Her scarf reminds me of this Provencal print.
Older Peasant Woman
She’s Marianne’s old nurse, and she helps the girl run away and meet Fronsac. But even though she supposedly worked at the castle, she can’t afford a bodice that laces shut.
Have you seen Brotherhood of the Wolf?