You all — especially our Patreon supporters, whose requests we take very seriously! — have been asking for an in-depth review of The Duchess (2008) for a while now, but I’ll admit to being overwhelmed by the prospect. There’s a ton to unpack, both in terms of plot and character, but also in terms of costumes, costumes, costumes — designed by Michael O’Connor. Luckily Trystan came up with a great idea, which is that I discuss the film one costume at a time. So, here’s our series: The Duchess Deep Dive, in which I will go through the movie, one costume at a time, focusing on those worn by the principle female characters. I’ll be talking about the costume itself, as well as hair, makeup, and accessories, both how they work in the film and how they compare to real fashion of the 1770s-80s.
For a quick overview of what I thought of the film, you can check out my short review. At some point in this process, I’ll take some time out to talk about how well they got the history right or not.
I’ve been putting off writing more posts in this series because while the next couple of costumes are beautiful, they’re more of the same. So I thought I’d do a quick fast-forward post where I share those costumes, so we can move on to the more 1780s-type dresses that happen in a few scenes. If you’d like to read more about the styles worn here, including dresses and hair, check out my earlier posts, which have lots of research.
This is the “montage of short scenes in which Georgiana and Bess are besties.” First, it’s awkward dinner with your BFF and hubby:
Next, Bess comes to stay:
Next, we go to the opera!
And finally, they’re just roommates…
Next time – the chemise à la reine! Sort of!
Got questions about any of these costumes? Details you want to savor? Let us know in the comments! We’ll be back with more research in our next post.