Re: Marion’s Dress

Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett), Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), and director Ridley Scott in this behind-the-scenes picture from Robin Hood. Cate is wearing the blue dress I want to copy.

I’ve been debating as only a costumer can over what I want to make for my upcoming journey to Costume College. I had decided on my evening wear–I’ve got a lovely teal dupioni silk that I’ll be making into an Indian-style khameez–but I was baffled as to what to wear for the afternoon tea on Sunday. I considered a lot of different things, but when my eye fell on the above dress, I knew I had found my costume.

Honestly, what is not to like about this gown? It’s a solid-colored princess-style dress so it’s flattering to me, it’s relatively simple to make, and since I’m a brunette of ..um.. a certain age, I think I can pull off the hairstyle as well.  In short, the dress should look as good on me as it does on Cate although, since I more closely resemble Samwise Gamgee than Galadriel, no one will be mistaking us for each other.

I’m not the only the one to be taken by this dress. Genevieve Valentine admires it greatly and suggests that the costumers took their inspiration from the Moy Dress, an extant textile recovered from an Irish peat bog in the 1930s. The Moy Dress is actually a very sophisticated piece of sewing, the main feature of which is the sleeves which are set way onto the back in order to increase ease of movement through the shoulders while at the same time fitting closely to the body. Women’s dresses at this time were designed to fit snugly in order to provide bust and back support. Genevieve is kind enough to provide a link to Matilda la Zouche’s blog where we can see pictures of Matilda’s re-creation of this historic dress.

Judging by what few photos have come out and from what I’ve been able to see in the trailers and featurettes, I think that Marian’s dress is much simpler than the Moy gown. In fact, I think it probably more likely resembles Sally Pointer’s Simple Medieval Dress.

One thing that concerned me was the lacing. However, I found the following websites very reassuring:

How to Do Eyelets Using a Whip Stitch (Medieval Tailor)

Eyelet Sewing and Spiral Lacing

Eyelets and Lacing

My progress to date: I’ve purchased the blue linen I want to use, washed and ironed it, and now have to start to work on the muslin.

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