California has had quite a rainy winter, for a change, which made me think of umbrellas. But what about the fancier, prettier alternative for sunny days? Parasols have been used just as long, maybe longer than the rain-repelling variety, having been used in ancient Egypt, China, and India. It wasn’t until the mid-18th century that parasols came into fashion among the European upper-classes, so we start to see them in some frock flicks. Of course, they’re plentiful in historical costume movies and TV shows set in the 19th century. As long as they’re not the cliched Battenburg lace, we like ’em! Let’s look at some frock flicks that have especially pretty or unusual parasols.
The Feast of All Saints (2001)
What I like here is how the character of Marie (Nicole Lyn) seems to have a matching parasol for every outfit of her 1840s wardrobe. It shows how she’s been taken care of and is being set up for a life of luxury.
Covering the life of Lady Randolph Churchill (Lee Remick) from 1873 to her death in 1921, this miniseries has a lot of parasols, just going to show how that was such a typical accessory in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Gilded Age (2022)
Snark all you want, but this newer TV series did a decent job with the accessories. Mostly the younger characters were shown outside and carrying parasols, and they were often of the tiny conspicuous-consumption variety suited to these ridiculously wealthy types.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Practically perfect Mary Poppins has a parrot-topped umbrella, and in the “Jolly Holiday” scenes, this morphs into a pastel parasol, which rates as a pretty impressive trick in my book.
The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
This is another frock flick that’s not so much filled with parasols, but it has one striking parasol that plays an important part in the plot. Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) carries this black-and-white stripe parasol while touring Italy. That’s where she meets and is seduced by Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich), and her story goes awry from there.
What parasols have you noticed in frock flicks?