To accompany our podcast of the 2013 movie Belle, here are some resources related to costumes in the movie. It’s worth noting, however, that the movie costumes don’t reflect the specific period of the historical events the movie depicts. Dido “Belle” Lindsay lived from 1761 to 1804, and the painting of Belle and her cousin was made around 1778. The movie centers around the Zong massacre case (also called Gregson vs. Gilbert), which was decided in 1783. The costumes and hairstyles did not reflect this precise period of Belle’s life — they looked to be more mid-1760s.
If you’d like to know more about Belle herself, check out this article in which a historian reviews the film.
If you’ll trust the Daily Mail, here’s a longer version of the story of Dido’s life.
NPR has a short article, plus an audio interview, with the film’s director that specifically focuses on the portrait that inspired the book that inspired the movie.
If you’d like something more authoritative, here’s the biography that inspired the film.
And if you’re interested in 1760s costuming, here are some resources for you!
- The Victoria & Albert Museum has a nice “Introduction to 18th-Century Fashion“
- If you’d like to further geek out, the 18th Century Clothing Notebook has links to examples of all kinds of different 18th century dress items.
- If you’d like to try to make one of these dresses, the 18th Century English Gown pattern from At the Sign of the Golden Scissors/Larkin & Smith is HIGHLY recommended.