16 thoughts on “Wives & Daughters Week pt. 5: Hyacinth & Harriet’s Costumes

  1. This post was hilarious — especially “Baby Jesus’ gift to 1830’s hairstyles.” I think the costume designers really nailed Hyacinth’s costumes. She is so OTT.

    And THANK YOU for address Harriet’s short do. I was always confused about that! Rosamund Pike is beautiful, as usual. I irrationally love her.

    1. Forgot to add, could the shot silk dress be a subtle Indian influence? I know that was big during the Regency era. I’m a Jane Austen society member and other members have made some absolutely stunning gowns using sari fabrics. I know anything Indian was very fashionable and the shot silk would have looked stunning by candlelight.

  2. I’m a HUGE Francesca Annis fan. I loved her nuanced performance. Her Hyacinth is not clueless or stupid, but more. Her comment to Molly at the end shows that she paid attention to everything, but if it had no bearing on her goals, she faked cluelessness. Granted Hyacinth is self-centered and not really pleased that her daughter is a younger beauty.

    Miss Annis’s beauty is timeless and she really rocked the dresses. My favourite is the London purple gown.

    I loved how Lady Harriet chooses her wardrobe style. Artistic and fashionable.
    I developed a theory on her short hair: illness that forced its being cut.

  3. This is going to sound a bit odd, but have you ever considered reviewing the costumes of the “historical” Barbie movies for a future snark week?
    The princess and the pauper is set in a barbiefied 18th century, the three musketeers in 18th century as well, and Christmas Carol in 19th century

  4. I think, considering Harriet is portrayed as artistic/slightly bohemian, that the inspiration was probably Lady Caroline Lamb. I don’t know if she continued to wear her hair short into the 1820s though. It seems to be short in all her portraits.

    I remember in Georgette Heyer books set in the 1820s she does refer to the short hair fad still, so maybe it was a longer lasting fashion, especially with the artistic set? Late 1820s seems possible to me. It seems doubtful to me that it would last into the early 1830s, but who knows.

    For the life of me I can’t remember what Almack’s (the novel) said about it, but because I feel like Heyer used a lot of those silver fork novels as sources she’s often right. I’ll pay more attention next time I read one.

    1. Just to note, all the Heyer Regencies are set in the 1810s – There was one, Cousin Kate, that was thought to be set in the 1820s for a bit due to attempts to interpret the clues in the novel, but it was eventually placed in the 1810s too. There are quite a few 18th century set ones, including at least two set in the 1790s (Faro’s Daughter and Talisman Ring), that people tend to lump in with the Regencies, but all the true Heyer Regencies are 1810s.

      1. You are absolutely right. I thought a few of the late 1810 ones were set in the early 1820s, but turns out that’s wrong. Well, that takes care of that then.

        BTW I searched through Almack’s for mentions of short hair and found none. It will be fun to see if any other books mention it.

  5. My theory re Lady Harriet’s hair: Rosamund Pike had started work on another project for which she needed short hair and the Masterpiece Theatre people tried desperately to find a justification for it within W&D. An “A” for valiant effort if this was something beyond their control, but it does come off sounding as though they don’t realize the Neo-Classical/Regency period was a different animal from the Romantic period.

    On a different note – I just love love love Hyacinth and Francesca Annis’ portrayal is brilliant! It’s mostly her wardrobe in this that gives me urges to start playing with 1830s fashion, she makes it look awesome and so much fun!

    1. Although, I can never look at that pile of grapes in that one hairstyle of Hyacinth’s with a straight face and is therefore one of my favourite details on her.

  6. I loved how there’s one scene where you can see Hyacinth arranging one of her fancy hair pieces while she and Mr. Gibson are chatting in their bedroom.

  7. I adore that scene as well, but I’m smiling ? in the scene where she does an about face on Roger Hamley after she overheard Osborne Hamley’s health result.
    The other scene is when both Cynthia and Molly flounce out of the room after Molly’s ‘Father’

  8. Loved reading this! Really enjoyed the references to period dress and including pictures. Highly amusing! I love Wives and Daughters!

  9. The book explained why Hyacinth wears purple:

    Her wardrobe did not require much arrangement; if it had done, the poor lady would not have had much money to appropriate to the purpose. She was very pretty and graceful; and that goes a great way towards carrying off shabby clothes; and it was her taste more than any depth of feeling, that had made her persevere in wearing all the delicate tints—the violets and grays—which, with a certain admixture of black, constitute half-mourning. This style of becoming dress she was supposed to wear in memory of Mr. Kirkpatrick; in reality because it was both lady-like and economical.

    (Chapter 9. The Widower and the Widow)

  10. I really liked Rosamund Pike as Lady Harriet. She has refined and aristocratic appearance.

    I even liked Harriet’s hairstyle in the finale, because a rich young lady of noble birth could afford to be a little eccentric, without a fear of condemnation of local society.

  11. I’m very late to this party but I just viewed ep 1 & 2 and can’t wait for the rest. I absolutely love the clothes, hair and the story. Speaking of hair, is it just me or does that top knot and fan (and baubles, feathers, etc) in the hair remind me of what a Geisha might wear? https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjapanese-kimono.net%2Fkanzashi-history%2F&psig=AOvVaw24Bh1vLadxivGByvcBCNLD&ust=1588211207853000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCMDbzODDjOkCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD
    Could that have been an influence in these outlandish, exotic styles?

    As for Harriett, her charity ball gown is my most favorite of them all (so far).

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