Finding Altamira: Banderas & Bustle Gowns

7

I was vaguely interested when I heard about Finding Altamira, the 2016 film about the discovery of the prehistoric art in the Altamira caves in Spain starring Antonio Banderas, but then got distracted. I finally fired it up and found it not perfect but enjoyable! This film tells a fictionalized version of a real life story: “In 1879, amateur archaeologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola was led by his eight-year-old daughter María to discover the cave’s drawings,” per Wikipedia.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. Critically:

2016 Finding Altamira

Antonio Banderas: STILL HOT.

2016 Finding Altamira

Golshifteh Farahani (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Exodus: Gods and Kings) is stunning as Conchita, Marcelino’s wife.

Some of the sub-plots were a little heavy handed, particularly Rupert Everett as the disapproving local priest:

2016 Finding Altamira

We’ll come back to that excellent parasol.

The costumes were designed by Consolata Boyle (Radioactive, Victoria & Abdul, Chéri), and she knows her stuff! I did spend the whole film thinking I had read it was set in 1866, so then was grumbling at the (beautiful) natural form dresses — only to recheck and yep, it’s 1879. Duh!

I’m (of course) going to focus on Conchita’s costumes, since they’re the most interesting.

2016 Finding Altamira

Things start off in bucolic family land. Conchita wears this white embroidered blouse with separate skirt.

2016 Finding Altamira

I don’t buy that she wouldn’t be wearing some kind of chemisette underneath, but it’s pretty and she’s supposed to be relaxed at home.

2016 Finding Altamira

This embroidered gown was GORGEOUS.

2016 Finding Altamira

More of it! Or maybe it’s not embroidered, but made of a paisley shawl?

2016 Finding Altamira

I thought the stark white with the pop of red looked so great with Farahani’s coloring.

2016 Finding Altamira

I’m always down for black & white!

2016 Finding Altamira
2016 Finding Altamira

Posing with the King of Spain. Daughter Maria (center) was super cute.

2016 Finding Altamira

Another dress made from a shawl?

2016 Finding Altamira

This was pretty for a casual ensemble, even if I scoffed at the hair.

2016 Finding Altamira

LOVED this cream & black ensemble (THE HAT). Sadly you don’t see enough of it!

2016 Finding Altamira

The best I could do for full length.

2016 Finding Altamira

Here you can see the lines of the natural form period, in between the two bustle eras, when skirts were still pulled to the back but there’s no actual bustle.

2016 Finding Altamira

A bit more, including the bonnet.

2016 Finding Altamira

This outfit confused me in terms of the event she wears it for, but it was gorgeous!

2016 Finding Altamira

A blouse and skirt combo.

2016 Finding Altamira

Here’s a bit more of that parasol. I loved the fabric in the skirt. The bodice fitting isn’t 100%, but I ascribed that to the fact that this is a well-off but not rich woman living in a small town. Am I being too generous?

2016 Finding Altamira

With the town’s disapproving biddies.

2016 Finding Altamira

There’s a coda in the 1900s, and I didn’t think they distinguished the style changes enough.

2016 Finding Altamira

Of course, Banderas was dapper.

2016 Finding Altamira

And Pierre Niney as an artist who helps capture the paintings was SO cute! © Samuel Goldwyn Films

 

 

Have you seen Finding Altamira? What did you think?

Tags

About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

7 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    I need to see this. Did you stream it on Amazon Prime?
    Why were the biddies and priest disapproving?

    Reply
  2. Nzie

    Hmm, somehow this didn’t make it across my radar (usually the ad algorithms are pretty good at picking what I’d be interested in and showing me trailers). It does look lovely.

    Reply
  3. Lily Lotus Rose

    No, I haven’t seen it, although it’s been in one of my streaming queues for a while. This blog post just moved it the top of the list! The costumes look gorgeous and so does Antonio Banderas (as usual), Pierre Niney (as usual), and Golshfteh Farahani (as usual). I wonder if Antonio Banderas is drawn to this type of movie as he was in a movie with a similar plot in the late 90s or early 2000s called The Body. Either way, I’m gonna watch this movie and probably re-watch Patterson (with Golshifteh Farahani) and Frantz (with Pierre Niney). Thanks for the recommendation!

    Reply
  4. Lmaris

    I think the “doesn’t fit perfectly” can be chalked up to even in the last quarter of the 19th Century women’s bodies didn’t stay exactly as they were when the dress was originally constructed/fitted. I think expecting perfection in fit, especially in the petit bourgeoisie (or its Spanish equivalence) is a bit much.

    Reply
  5. LisaS

    really stunning drawn-thread embroidery on that first blouse. Fun fact… drawn-thread embroidery is the precursor of needle lace

    Reply

Feel the love

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.