Outlander Costume Recap & Podcast: Season 2, Episode 2

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We’ll be recapping every episode of Outlander this season, both in blog post AND podcast. Kendra and Sarah will be focusing mostly on the costumes — designed by Terry Dresbach — in our blog posts, but probably tackling both the costumes and the story itself in our podcasts. You can find the podcast at the bottom of this post, or on iTunes!

For those who aren’t regular Frock Flicks readers: this blog and podcast is all about costumes in historical movies and TV shows, and we approach things from the angle of history. So, expect us to be talking about the costumes primarily from the point of view of comparison with the real history of the 1740s. We’ll also talk about costume in terms of story, and the deviations that come with this one having the fantasy element of time travel. But, know that when we talk about that dreaded phrase “historical accuracy,” we’re not doing it to be mean or judgy. It’s just one lens through which to watch this fabulous show.

IMPORTANT NOTE! We have a long discussion on the podcast about the decision to mash-up 1740s with 1940s in Claire’s wardrobe. Short summary: we like it, because it allows the costumers to play with Claire’s wardrobe and not have to worry about the dreaded “historical accuracy.” So, keep that in mind as you read our commentary, and listen to the podcast for the details!

Okay, so last week was a fake-out, costume wise. We’re REALLY in Paris now, Dorothy! During the opening, we see a lovely close-up of a beautiful gown while the wearer is dressing — we’ll come back to this dress in a bit:

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The “Bar Suit/New Look” Dress:

Very obviously modeled on Dior’s New Look. Since Claire traveled back in time in 1946, she’s apparently psychic considering that Dior debuted the New Look in 1947 (February 12th, to be exact). That said, it is a fabulous suit and the 1740s/1940s mash-up works really well. Props to costume designer Terry Dresbach for nailing this one, timeline issues aside. The silver silk satin used for the jacket is fab. We agreed that it was probably the best outfit in the entire episode.

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Claire’s version. You can’t go wrong with duchesse silk satin! — Kendra
Pretty much never. — Sarah

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I love this shot — beautiful pleats on the back of the riding habit-style jacket, and the roundness of her skirt with the roundness of her hat are lovely. — Kendra
How much you want to bet that this will become THE costume everyone wants to recreate? I know I do and I don’t even do cosplay. — Sarah

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I loved how this working class woman was checking out Claire’s outfit. — Kendra
Insert Sir Mixalot reference here. — Sarah

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Christian Dior’s bar suit

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Christian Dior’s bar suit, 1947

Maitre Raimonde:

A strange, short, knowledgeable man who runs an apothecary shop. The embroidery on his waistcoat makes him look mystical.

 

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Apothecary dude in weird weskit. There’s a lot happening here with that vest that I’m not sure I understand. — Sarah
Sarah doesn’t know where this is going, does she? :) — Kendra

Jamie, Murtagh, and a Bunch of Frenchies:

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Front row: lovely, lovely. Back row: gimme that parasol, lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely. – Kendra
You don’t think the gowns are a little too 1780s? Especially that green one? — Sarah

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Love the trim down front-guy-on-the-right’s jacket. Note how much the shape of that parasol…

... looks like this original 18th century one (which, sadly, I can't find any decent attribution for). -- Kendra

… looks like this original 18th century one (which, sadly, I can’t find any decent attribution for). — Kendra

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That green dress also screams 1780s to me, but I love it. The brown pet en l’air is making me yearn for one. — Sarah

Oh right, Jamie & Murtagh! Thank you to AshleyOlivia, who linked us to this genius post on the up’s and down’s of Jamie’s hair (basic theory: when he’s exercising, getting beat up, or shagging, his hair looks glorious; when he’s trying to clean up, it looks dorky). I think they may have something, because look at how scrummy Jamie’s hair looks:

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Tousle him a bit more, Murtagh! — Kendra

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Pretty sure this is how my hair would look in the 18th century. — Sarah

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I love when Jamie wears breeches. I dated a lot of guys in kilts, so the allure has worn off. The smell of wet wool… Yeah, I don’t miss that. — Sarah

Murtagh is sticking with the kilt, Frenchies or no Frenchies.

Claire’s Black At-Home Dress:

Claire’s black dress, really only seen from the waist-up in the once scene it appears in, was probably based on this painting by John Vanderbeck. We have some quibbles with the accuracy of this style being used for everyday wear, since gowns like this appear to be 1) based off an earlier 17th century style; 2) were likely worn as either fancy dress (ie. masquerade costume).

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Claire’s breasts. Basically the true stars of the show. — Sarah
I do like that they used quality silk organza for the chemise! — Kendra

"The Honourable Anne Howard, Lady Yonge" by John Vanderbeck, 1737

“The Honourable Anne Howard, Lady Yonge” by John Vanderbeck, 1737

Bonnie Prince Charlie:

Fabulous. Love the 1730s-style wig (totally appropriate to 1740s), the tangerine frock coat, the patterned waistcoat, the poncy skirt-chasing brain…

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Bonnie Prince Charlie. We LOVED the whole look, from the wig to the salmon-y color of his frock coat, to his poncy neckerchief.

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BPC applauds for dildos (who wouldn’t?). — Kendra
Everyone loves a good dildo! — Sarah

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LOVE this wig. — Kendra

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NO BACK LACING! YAY! — Sarah
Sticking with BPC, lovely cut of his frock coat! Looking at the ladies, pay attention to the backs, as we’ll come back to them… — Kendra

The Brothel:

Overall, we enjoyed the brothel scene for its surprising charm. 18th century pairs SO well with burlesque!

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This is a great color pairing. Perfect cut and styling for the 1740s, from the front. And gimme that man’s green coat. — Kendra

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Frock Flicks: The Original Broadway Recording Cast, Burlesque Edition. L-R: Kendra, Sarah, Trystan. — Sarah

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Who DOESN’T need a historically accurate dildo? — Kendra

Jamie & Murtagh Clean Up, Pt. 2:

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Jamie cleans up well, but his hair is still kinda tragic. — Sarah
It’s better tied-back than down and limp! — Kendra

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Murtagh looks surprisingly nice! “GO AWAY WE’RE BUSY” — Kendra

Claire’s Dressing Gown:

YES.

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Banyan, 1740-50, Victoria & Albert Museum

Woman’s Banyan (dressing gown), 1740-50, Victoria & Albert Museum

Louise de Rohan & Mary Hawkins’ Dressing Gowns:

We meet Claire’s new French BFF, Louise de Rohan, who schools Claire — and Louise’s charge, English girl Mary Hawkins — on pubic hair depilation.

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Madame de Rohan is short and sassy. I find these qualities admirable in a woman. — Sarah

Claire’s Riding Habit:

Riding habits weren’t just worn for horse riding in the 18th century! Particularly in England in this point in the century, they were worn for fashionable daywear too. Claire is right on point for Britain. It’s a trend that will soon take off in France.

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Jamie & Murtagh Clean Up, Take 2:

Jamie’s in black? velvet, Murtagh is wearing something shiny!

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The Red Dress:

Let’s take a brief detour to really talk about THE dress in this episode, because we have some Thoughts About It. First off, it is a really pretty color and it looks great on Caitriona Balfe. But that’s about the limit of what we like here, because there’s so much What The Frock happening here that really needs to be addressed.

First: The length of the skirt. Now, we know there’s been some heated debate online about the alleged historical accuracy of ankle length skirts in the 18th century, but let’s be clear: This is 1746, and any examples of short skirts on elite women don’t show up until a solid 40 years in the future. Yes, we get that Claire is actually from the future, and hell, maybe she even researched historical costume while not tending to horrific battlefield injuries during WWII, and maaaaybe she got confused about which half of the 18th century had a brief fad for short skirts and decided, well, fuck it, I’m from the future and I do what I want (which, tbh, has been her M.O. pretty much from the start). It probably had more to do with the fancy shoes than anything.

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The Infanta María Teresa Rafaela of Spain, future Dauphine of France by van Loo, c. 1745. This is a more appropriate skirt length for the 1740s, with the shoe barely peeking out. -- Kendra

The Infanta María Teresa Rafaela of Spain, future Dauphine of France by van Loo, c. 1745. This is a more appropriate skirt length for the 1740s, with the shoe barely peeking out. — Kendra

Second: That neckline. We are a bit confused because on the promo images that came out a few months ago, Claire is pretty obviously wearing a completely different bodice. It has kind of a sweetheart neckline, and ok, it too is not historically accurate, but at least it’s approaching an appropriate silhouette for this century.

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Claire, stop trying to make 18th Century underboob happen. — Sarah

Thirdly, it’s not at all what was described in the novel, so those who are crying foul about us forgetting it’s taken from the novel, well… We will let the novel speak for itself:

I essayed a restorative deep breath, but the tightness of the whalebone corseting made it come out as a strangled gasp…. Handling the train a bit gingerly, I stepped down into the room, swaying gently as the seamstress had instructed, to show off the filmy gussets of silk plissé let into the overskirt…. “It’s…ah…red, isn’t it?” he observed. “Rather.” Sang-du-Christ, to be exact. Christ’s blood, the most fashionable color of the season, or so I had been given to understand…But I did mean to be visible. Jamie had urged me to have something made that would make me stand out in the crowd… I sashayed a bit, making the huge overskirt swing like a bell…. (Jamie) “I can see every inch of ye, down to the third rib!” I peered downward. “No, you can’t. That isn’t me under the lace, it’s a fining of white charmeuse.” “Aye well, it looks like you!” He came closer, bending to inspect the bodice of the dress. He peered into my cleavage. “Christ, I can see down to your navel! Surely ye dinna mean to go out in public like that!”… His other hand grasped the soft roundness of my breast, swelling up above the tethering grip of the corsets, voluptuously free under a single layer of sheer silk..

So, basically, the only similarities between this dress and the book’s description is that it is red. Even the omission of the corset in the film version is not in keeping with the description of the dress in the book, because it’s literally the first thing Diana Gabaldon describes. Also, where is the train? Where are the “filmy gussets of silk plissé”?

And, see below — it’s got back-lacing! Sigh. Kendra would have liked it 10x more if it had actually opened in front.

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Not our cup of tea, sorry. — Kendra

The Court:

Check out the vast acres of shiny!

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Lots of silk, lots of wigs, lots of good things! — Kendra

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Claire certainly stands out in the crowd! — Kendra

Louise de Rohan’s Court Gown:

From the front, this gown is is straight-up referencing Boucher’s portrait of Madame de Pompadour, from 1756, and it’s practically perfect.

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Portrait of Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher, 1756.

Portrait of Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher, 1756.

It’s the back we have problems with, because it’s cut just like the extra on the right — fitted back, separate waist seam, no pleats.

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From the back, it, and everyone else’s dresses in the court scene (and in the brothel above), are certainly not THE dress style of the 1740s, the robe à la française with its super characteristic and fashionable long hanging back pleats.

Robe à la Française, 1740s, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Robe à la Française, 1740s, Metropolitan Museum of Art. The front of the Outlander gowns is picture-perfect. — Kendra

Robe à la Française, 1740s, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Robe à la Française, 1740s, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here’s what the back of all these gowns SHOULD look like. — Kendra

Is this the end of the world? Nope. Is it interesting to note? Yes!

Mary Hawkins’s Court Gown:

A pretty shade of lavender satin, perfect for an innocent young miss.

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It looks inspired by the English trend for 17th century-inspired masquerade costume, like this one:

Joseph Wright of Derby: Portrait of Mrs. Robert Gwilym, 1766

Joseph Wright of Derby: Portrait of Mrs. Robert Gwilym, 1766

Annalise de Marillac’s Robe à la Piemontaise:

Another dress that’s perfect from the front!

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And the only dress to look like a robe à la française from the back!

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Except, for nitpickers like us — when she turns sideways, you can see that it’s a robe à la piemontaise, a late 1770s-1780s style where the pleats were cut as part of the skirt, but separate from the bodice back (so, like a cape).

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Robe a la Piemontaise, ca 1770-1790, IMATEX. A historical example of this unusual, late 1770s-80s style.

Robe a la Piemontaise, ca 1770-1790, IMATEX. A historical example of this unusual, late 1770s-80s style.

What the robe à la française looks like from the side. The back pleats are part and parcel of the bodice/skirt back.

A brocaded cinnamon satin robe à la française, Invaluable.com.

A brocaded cinnamon satin robe à la française, Invaluable.com.

Louis XV’s Shitting Robe:

This characterization is totally true to the book, and totally ruins Kendra’s crush on the French king. It’s gold, gold, and more gold when you’re king, even if you’re constipated!

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I shall henceforth remember this episode as that which Jaime Fraser goes to Versailles and gives advice to King Louis XV about how to stay regular. — Sarah

Hangers On:

A lot of great wigs in this scene:

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The Court, Redux:

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Mmmmm. Andouille. Also, I want that hair. — Sarah

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Another great color pairing.

Monsieur Duvernay:

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The trim and embroidery on his coat and waistcoat? YES PLEASE. — Kendra

Louis XV & Nipple Swans:

Post-shitting (or, okay, NOT shitting), Louis is sticking with the gold. AND HOW. Check out that sparkly, sparkly embroidery! Check out that fabulous wig! Check out all that lace!

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What’s the perfect accessory for a king? Why, a mistress with piercings that are nipple swans! This is straight from the book, so if there’s blame to throw around, throw it that direction. OTHERWISE, it’s a lovely dress and I wish I could see the back. Beautiful fabric, gorgeous poufy trimming pattern.

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Pressing questions I need answered: did the actress get her nipples pierced for the show, or was she cast because she already had pierced nipples? — Sarah

The Duke of Sandringham:

Yes, white wigs are historically accurate, so long as they’re not shiny plasticky cheapness. White hair was rarer, and so more expensive, and so more fashionable. In fact, powdering came about in part as a cheaper way to turn wigs white (or grey, as more often happened) — it was also used because it was a degreaser, kind of like our modern-day dry shampoo.

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Considering everything else that’s wrong with this dress, the back lacing isn’t surprising. — Sarah

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Fireworks:

Because it’s VERSAILLES, bitches!
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Alrighty, kids! What did you think of Paris and the fashionable/court styles? Claire mashing up the 1940s with the 1740s? The Red Dress? The Nipple Swans?

Outlander Season Two, Episode Two, Podcast Recap

Listen to our podcast recap of the episode here or on iTunes!

94 Responses

  1. M.Diana Thompson

    As a Scot, and historical costumer with a business that has always prided itself on accuracy, and also a purveyor of quality Scottish goods I can only breathe a sigh of relief that season two is butchering French history and fashion this year and gives me from a break of the over 100 emails and messages every other day asking for anything Outlander.

    Reply
  2. Shirley

    Love the hilarious recap! :)

    I’m with Sarah on kilts. I don’t hate them, but they just don’t really do anything for me.

    I also preferred the original neckline on her red dress. I don’t know much about 18th century fashion, so I couldn’t judge accuracy, but I thought it was pretty when I saw the promotional pictures. But the neckline that made it on the show looks like Claire is about five seconds away from a Janet Jackson Super Bowl look.

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      • Kendra

        My total-guess is that maybe the promo dept. chose shots of the dress that didn’t TOTALLY show how low cut it was in order to keep the element of surprise?

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      • Shirley

        Oh okay! I went back and looked at it, and I guess the downward camera angle is what makes it look different.

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      • Lady Hermina De Pagan

        Terry, I have looked at a few of the promotional shots. Did you make several different red dresses? because I noticed a vast difference in the bodice and sleeves between the red court dress and the red promo shots dress.

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  3. Broughps

    Commenting while listening

    Supposedly Dior’s New Look were based on 1700s styles according to an article with Terry.

    Claire goes back in 1945/46 depending on which book you read Brit or American version.

    Claire wouldn’t have been a fashion maven. She was raised in remote areas around the world by her archaeologist uncle. Fashion wouldn’t have been a big deal to her.

    One of Claire’s problems in the first book or two is she doesn’t try to fit in.

    The actress was asked to pierce her nipples.

    The red dress wasn’t suppose to be that short. Apparently Terry was upset when she saw it on the show.

    Claire is fine with waxing/shaving. She gets her legs and arms done, not her “honeypot” and Jamie is horrified by all of it in the book.

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    • Sarah Lorraine

      Claire is fine with waxing/shaving. She gets her legs and arms done, not her “honeypot” and Jamie is horrified by all of it in the book.

      FINALLY. A MAN WHO IS NOT AFRAID OF A STRAY PUBIC HAIR.

      Reply
    • Trystan L. Bass

      Dior’s New Look didn’t have to reach that far back — it was just a reinterpretation of Victorian styles before the turn of the 19th century. Tiny waists, big full skirts, they’d gone out of fashion after WWI. Dior just brought ’em back :)

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    • Sarah Lorraine

      Supposedly Dior’s New Look were based on 1700s styles according to an article with Terry.

      I hadn’t heard that one. The costume history lesson I remember getting was that Dior was reaching back to the 1860s, trying to bring back the hyper-feminine silhouette of the hourglass — corseted waist, big bell skirts.

      Of course, looking for that reference now is turning up nothing. :P

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    • AshleyOlivia

      Do you have a source verifying that the actress was asked to pierce her nipples? Inquiring minds want to know! (I actually had a lengthy conversation about this with my friend after watching the show…)

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      • Broughps

        I can’t remember exactly which article it was but it was within the last week. It could have been the one with Terry about this seasons costumes, but I’m not going to stake my life on it.

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        • AshleyOlivia

          Fair enough ;-)

          If it’s true, that is what I call dedication to a role…!

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          • Broughps

            Don’t know that she pierced them, just that she was asked. Yeah I could never be that dedicated to a role. Not for someone on screen such a short time.

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      • Broughps

        Because DG got the end date for WWII wrong in the American version and it was corrected in the Brit version.

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      • Kendra

        Look at Diana Gabaldon’s site — I think it had to do with how she had written the story. Wherever it was first published (I think the UK?) had the earlier date, then before the other edition (US?) someone told her that the date she had chosen didn’t suit Claire & Frank’s moveability, the amount of rationing, etc.

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        • Broughps

          The US version has the wrong date. It was the first edition published. DG got not only the end date wrong but she has the post war prosperity wrong too. They had rationing in England until 1952. England was was more prosperous during the war because the US was sending them supplies, food, etc. Once the war ended the US cut off aid, so they were worse off. My info comes from a biography of the Queen Mother that has quotes from her diaries and letters.

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          • Shirley

            Also highly unlikely she and Frank would have both been demobilized by the initial date she picked.

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          • Shirley

            Actually isn’t there supposed to be a six month gap between their discharges and the second honeymoon or am I imagining that? If so, I’d argue it would be unlikely they’d both have been discharged for that length of time, according to the show timeline or the British edition ‘ s date either.

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  4. Miri

    I didn’t like the dior jacket, tbh. Partly because it messes with the timeline (Claire knowing about 1947 fashion) and partly because I dislike the direction in which this costuming pushes the characterization. WHY is Claire suddenly all about the fashion to the extent she’s designing her own stuff? The Claire I know cares more about setting bones than choosing a fancy dress. Not that she doesn’t like nice clothes, but it’s not her primary interest, the way practising medicine is. Most of it is to blame on the writing of the episode of course, I don’t like the focus they chose for the character at all, but of course the costuming reinforces that. Taken on it’s own I think it’s a lovely costume, taken in the context of this episode, I hate what they’re doing here.

    But I understand I’m very much in a tiny minority here.

    I really like the riding habit though. Shirts and cravats. Mmmmmmmh <3

    Reply
    • Sarah Lorraine

      I haven’t read the books, so I’m kind of in the dark about certain aspects of Claire’s personality in the show vs. the books, but with that said… I agree. It’s weirdly out of character for someone who is very no-nonsense to the point of being obnoxious. Suddenly being a fashion whore really seems like a 90-degree turn from what’s been established as Claire’s personality.

      The other side of the coin is that showing a lot of fabulous costumes in the show is obviously what is going to grab viewers’ attentions (worked with us!) so there’s presumably more of a necessity to make fashion a bigger part of the narrative than it was in the books.

      Reply
      • Miri

        So, I’m just listening to the Podcast (I had only read the post earlier) and Kendra was right. Claire goes to 1743 on the 1st of May 1746 – so there’s no way for her to know about the New Look of 1947. As you say in the podcast, it’s a fantasy, so from that point of view, I absolutely agree that this is a point where believability can be stretched.

        On the other hand, one of the main reasons I love the books, is because they try to create an illusion that Claire really is in History As It Really Happened – the research, especially when it comes to clothes – is a bit shaky in the first books, but it is thorough and it becomes increasingly better and better with further volumes. And this focus on social history, on daily life history, is a big part of why I enjoy them so much. So the show choosing a different direction simply isn’t what I would have liked to get of an Outlander show. Different focuses and all. At least so far in the second season, I did kind of get that in the first season!

        As for Claire, I’d say the big thing that drives her, her passion, her calling as Frank will call it at some point, is being a doctor, a healer. And not just one who knows things (can identify some herb mixture, or diagnose smallpox), but one who actively lays hands on patients and uses her skill and knowledge to heal them. She is, as you say, utterly non-nonsense and practical, and this translate to almost ruthlessness when it comes to healing. And I’d say she struggles with the public display and representative nature of a prominent wealthy person’s life, both in the 20th century and the 18th – it’s a chore and an obligation, not something she enjoys.

        And well, all this seems to be taking a backseat in this season? I hope I’m wrong and this episode was just a fluke, but that shifted focus on being a clothes’ horse and designing her own wardrobe (that brown dress is yet to come…). And not trying to blend in. As you guys pointed out in the podcast, after the witch trial she should know better! Well. Again, this adaptation interprets things very differently from me and that dampens my enjoyment a lot.

        From a doylist perspective, it makes sense for the production… I just don’t like it personally. I’ll be glad when they’re done with Paris!

        Reply
      • terrydresbach

        Interesting. I have read the books many times. In Paris, Claire becomes a fashion whore (or just very fashionable) to help secure a place in the Kings inner circle.
        It is a 90 degree turn, and she is bored senseless by it.

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        • Lynn253

          Claire and Jamie are also representing Jared’s business interests and have Clientele to impress.

          Reply
    • Trystan L. Bass

      You are not the only one! I agree with you word for word: “Taken on it’s own I think it’s a lovely costume, taken in the context of this episode, I hate what they’re doing here.”

      I feel like the mix of 18th-c. with 1940s high fashion is done to make it relatable for a modern audience more than anything else. Look, there’s a 1940s woman in the 18th century! Let’s mix the two. Get it? Maybe this is fine when 75% of the show’s audience has no clue about either 18th century fashion or 1940s fashion. *shrug*

      Reply
    • Kay

      I don’t think that Claire has suddenly become a fashion maven, so much as Claire must wear clothing appropriate to the circumstances she’s currently in. She’s the wife of someone who’s running a very prosperous wine merchant and Lady Broch Tuararch. She and Jamie are running in the highest circles of French society in there attempt to stop the Rising. They have to both look the part or they won’t be taken seriously.

      While I don’t personally like all the costuming decisions for Claire, it makes sense that she would want to put her own stamp on her clothes and make them a little less fussy. Clothes weren’t bought off the rack and most women of means would had some hand in ‘designing’ their clothes.

      Reply
    • terrydresbach

      Claire is not COPYING clothing she has seen in the 40s. That was not at all what I have said. I said she comes from the same, generation, time and post war world that Dior does. That she would look at the 18th century riding suit from a similar view that Dior might,and end up in the same place. It is an HOMAGE, and a nod to fashion and time travel. It does not mean that she SAW the Dior Bar suit.

      Reply
      • Tracey Walker

        I am living for the fact that you are here to respond directly instead of all this, “Terry said this. Terry said that. I think what Terry was trying to say is….” It is absolutely invaluable and I appreciate it immensely. Also, Frock Flicks gals, I love that you state your truth when you know Ms. Dresbach is reading what you write. No mealy mouthed yes people in these parts. Everyone speaking their truth and respecting the soul of these books.

        Reply
  5. Susan Pola

    I’m still in partial shock and awe Re the Swan Nipple dress but I loved both Claire’s dress and Louise’s.
    I will listen to podcast after work and comment more.

    Reply
  6. Michael McPherron

    Liked the Bar Suit – thought it worked really well on the levels the costumer intended. Hated the red dress – agree the pre-release stills with a different neckline was better. Thought the court looked quite good, had some of the same complaints about back-lacing etc, but for an overall “look” thought more worked than not. I haven’t really loved any of Jaimie’s outfits, but I think characterizing him as the anti-fop leads to some dull choices.

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  7. Cassidy

    Shouldn’t there be back-lacing here? If they’re at court, they should be wearing the grande habite, non?

    My suspicions about the red dress’s neckline in the promo shots are that it’s all in the angle. Judging by the one at the top of the post, they held the camera juuuuust so in order to give the effect of a flat dip, rather than the dress splaying out.

    Reply
    • Cassidy

      Which is to say that my issue is that they’re wearing back-lacing anglaises instead of court dress, rather than sacques.

      Reply
      • Kendra

        They’re actually not anglaises, which in this era would still have center back pleats and cut-through skirt (ie “en fourreau”). And actually, surprisingly, aside from Claire’s red dress, the dresses don’t lace in back! They’re just fitted backs, like 1780s anglaises.

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      • Kendra

        And I had the same question about robes de cour vs. fashionable robes, but this was a party, not a formal event, so I think fashionable wear makes sense.

        Reply
        • Cassidy

          Oh, right, they’re not really anglaises! I was just calling them that because it seems like the intention was for that.

          I was under the impression that it was All Robes de Cour All the Time until Louis XVI/Marie Antoinette changed the rules so they were just for ceremonial court events, leaving the robe parée for evening parties, but I’m not sure why I thought that now.

          Reply
    • lesartsdecoratifs

      It lacks some essential features to be a grand habit (fully boned bodice, train, sleeves, palatine), Without these it would not be considered a grand habit and if the occasion had required wearing one, Claire would have not passed muster.

      Reply
  8. AshleyOlivia

    I got a shout-out! Oh, I can die happy now.

    I was very skeptical when I first read of the 1740s-1940s fashion mashup philosophy, but after watching this episode I’m much more favorably disposed. I agree with everything you said in the podcast: it’s interesting, and it works visually to separate Claire from everyone else. While Claire isn’t a fashion maven in the book, her Paris dresses are going to be bespoke since she lives in an era where the ready-made clothing industry doesn’t exist (or is in the fledgling state), so it makes sense to me that she would voice her opinion–after all, when does Claire not voice her opinion?– and her clothes would come out looking not quite like everyone else’s. The bar dress was exquisite! I’m more ambivalent about the red dress. I can’t quite decide how I feel about it. I noticed that the neckline looked very different from the promotional photos that came out earlier, but I just assumed it was a camera trick. I read that Terry said they took Caitriona out of a corset for this dress, which is an interesting and bold move. As was mentioned in the podcast, Claire’s cleavage is not eighteenth-century… I don’t think that’s even 1940s cleavage. It reads to me like 2016 cleavage, especially with that neckline and lack of support. Tossing aside issues of historically accuracy, can I say it kind of worked for me? Again, it sets Claire apart from all the other women in the room that are corseted. But the length is a weird choice. I assumed it was historical to Versailles in the 1740s, but if that length only comes around in the 1780s I’m not sure what the thought process behind it was… It has to be to show off the shoes? (Which, I’m really sorry, but I found those to be fugly and obnoxiously modern. I know Terry loves them because she did a special blogpost about them. Sorry, sorry!) I read somewhere that Terry didn’t intend for the dress to be shot full length and was upset about how short it looks but I have not been able to locate that tweet. Also, it just doesn’t make sense. She didn’t think the dress would be shot full length? Surely she had to know about the staircase shot.

    I’m sad about the lack of robe à la françaises, but I’m assuming it was either an issue of cost or complaints that the silhouette would make the women appear fat. (That may be why Analise’s dress is a Robe a la Piemontaise, because you still have the very defined waist.)

    Jamie’s clothes are very meh. I’d like to see him in some more daring, adventurous looks. I’ve read all the interviews where Terry has talked about how it just isn’t in Jamie’s character to wear lavender suits, but from my memories of the book he dresses as would be expected of a courtier at Versailles… there aren’t any passages about him throwing fits about the finery from what I recall. (Actually, I think he wears formal Highland dress, complete with kilt, most of the time… Maybe that was just my own fantasy.) In fact, I think it’s an anachronistic understanding of gender in the 18th-c that supposes Jamie would refuse to wear ornate clothing in an appropriate setting just because he’s also comfortable roughing it in the Highlands.

    Thank you so much for recapping and podcasting!

    Reply
    • terrydresbach

      Had no idea about the shot on the stairs. They don’t tell us every shot. Wish they did.

      The red dress. Total pain. Boxed in on all sides. If it wasn’t the number one dress that I have been asked to do since before we started shooting Outlander, I would have never done it.
      How could anyone see down to the belly button (not a literal translation, obviously) in an 18th century gown? The book description would have been impossible to create. But it was a BELOVED moment in the book, and we decided to honor it. We broke every Bruce, and opened up the center seam on the bodice to make it as low cut as possible (per the book description). Other than that I just tried to make it as dramatic and sensational as I could.
      Period correct? Not even remotely.

      Reply
      • Kendra

        I can imagine it was a challenge! Yeah, how anyone could see down the belly button in an 18th century gown is beyond me, too. :)

        Reply
      • AshleyOlivia

        You know, I wrote that comment and then immediately after posting thought to myself, I bet they didn’t know about the specific shots. I think I routinely watch thinking the costuming department has more power than you really do; it’s easy to forget how incredibly complicated filming a show is and how many different voices are in the room.

        In any case, speaking for myself, I thought it worked! It looks weird, but “fashion weird” if that makes sense. And I think you did a marvelous job considering the source description, just like you did with that fabulous white dress in the premiere that had to look vaguely like an 18th-c chemise.

        Anyway, I have to say I couldn’t think of anything else after the fabulous bar suit walked onto the screen. That suit is beautiful and forever enshrined in my heart, maybe **maybe** even topping the wedding dress. In the post above Sarah predicts this will become a cosplay favorite and I wholeheartedly concur!

        I hope we get to see more of Claire’s “back at home” dress with the puffy organza sleeves.

        Reply
        • terrydresbach

          Thank you. Interesting that you made the connection between the red dress and the white dress of S1. I am constantly muttering that the red dress was the S2 version of the white 40s dress that transformers into an18th century chemise.
          Oy. Glad they are both in the rear view mirror.
          I think those are the last beloved book descriptions we have to wrestle with.

          That said, I am very proud of what we pulled off in S2. We made 10,000 garments. Dayumm. Very proud.

          I will leave you all to it now…

          Reply
          • Sarah Lorraine

            I loved the 1940s dress-chemise in the first episode. Probably one of my favorite costumes from a design standpoint, because it has to hit all of these complex marks laid out by the book, while essentially remaining simple and elegant. Thought you struck the balance perfectly, for what it’s worth.

            Reply
          • AshleyOlivia

            I agree with Sarah. The “chemise” gown was brilliant. I really enjoy seeing how these iconic outfits from the book get adapted to the screen, but I don’t envy Terry the task of making the magic happen (especially when book descriptions sometimes just don’t make an iota of sense… **cough cough Demelza’s blue silk “I need you to undo the hooks in the back, Ross”**).

            Reply
          • Cassidy

            Somebody asked me about Demelza’s blue dress on Tumblr one time! I had to explain that the author just didn’t know enough about 18th century clothing …

            Reply
          • AshleyOlivia

            YES! It is totally from the book… Also, Demelza starts crying right before they have sex and says, “I lied about the hooks. Oh Ross, don’t take me if you hate me.” (Literally. I just got out my copy to double-check.) So it answers the question of “how did she get the dress on if she can’t take it off without help” but it ignores the broader question of where she found a robe a la francaise that closes in the back with hooks… **face palm**

            Reply
            • Kendra

              Okay, I think I can handle the hooks more than the crying and “don’t take me if you hate me.” UGH. DOORMAT ALERT.

              Reply
          • AshleyOlivia

            Amen, sister. This is one of the rare cases when I like the tv series better than the books. And there are some strange domestic violence issues, too. At one point Demelza tells Ross (speaking about Verity’s relationship with Blamey) that it doesn’t matter if your partner hits you once or twice as long as they love you. Glad they cut that part, too…

            Reply
  9. Kathleen Norvell

    OMG. It looks like they are doing to mid-18th century French clothing in S2 what they did to mid-18th century Highland clothing in S1. I binge-watched the entire S1 with a friend who had read the books and I wanted to throw rocks at the costumers. I still do, and I won’t be watching any more of this. I realize it’s a fantasy series, but when your reference real dates, people, and events, I feel you owe it to the audience to make an effort for authenticity.

    Oh, and the soft hats the Highlanders wear (especially in S1) are “bonnets,” not “tams.” The term “tam” came from Robert Burns’ poem “Tam O’ Shanter,” which was written in 1790 .

    Just sayin’.

    Reply
      • Lady Fiona F

        As a long time fan of the books (without any historical fashion knowledge) I would just like to say how appreciative I am for all of the wonderful costumes, wigs and jewelry that we the audience see each week. Sure it may not be 100% accurate but we are swooning nevertheless.

        Thank you (Outlander craft service and crew) for all your hard work!

        Also Kendra & Sarah thanks for your very interesting blog. I look forward to reading your remarks for the remainder of Season 2.

        Reply
    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      Why the hate? I know that not everything is exactly perfect but that is just mean. I am a historian, reenactor and live on Long Island, in the Port Jefferson/Setauket area. I have no ill will towards the series Turn, even thought they have gotten so much wrong I needed to stop watching. They are trying to distill the story into a digestible and exciting form because it would be boring as heck to portray the actual story. Terry is doing her best to represent the time and place in her costumes, though she did fall into the trap many people trying to present the common people do, which is called the burlap syndrome.

      Reply
  10. funnybunnyhelena

    This episode made me go all confused! A little weak story. Mourning the lack of watteau pleats-enabled francaises. Trying to melt the idea of 1940s mash up (liking the black and white outfit better) disliked the red dress, went wtf about the swan dress but started to like it in its craziness, after all the majority of the dress feels more authentic, it is like the woman wearing it is like “the woman of evening” wearing it with purpose of causing spectacle.

    Loved the brothel scenes!! sillinesses to be had!

    After I watched the episode I felt like “what happened?!” hahaa

    Reply
  11. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    Ok, first the “swan dress”. In the book Madame Du Berry is wearing a daring gown cut low to show of her breasts. Her nipples were pierced and the swan jewel were ornamented with large pearls is to hide a pair of inverted nipples. Also except for the royal mistress, the women of the court would cover their cleavage with fine silk or fine linen but still display their nipples under the fabric.
    I adore the Riding Gown and the Black at home gown that Claire was wearing. The Red Dress, not my favorite, the fabric is beautiful, the shoes are lovely and a small call back to Gillis Duncan, but the actual cut of the gown is meh. If people were not so invested in “Sang De Cris” Gown, I’m sure that Terry would have scrapped it and made something more fabulous for the first time in court.
    I loved the men’s costumes, especially The Prince with his orange frock coat and teal embroidered waistcoat. I would love for Terry to issue a line of patterns for a few of the gowns created IE the Dior New Look gown, the Brown Floral gown, and the Riding Habit. Why show Yaya Han make all the cosplay bank?

    Reply
    • Cassidy

      Lauren Stowell of American Duchess has made a pattern for Simplicity, actually! It’s just come out. I’m sure there will be more to come.

      Reply
  12. Adela

    Because I place Outlander in the “History that never was” file typical of historical fantasy my inner authenticity police is a bit more mellow. So the only piece so far I have issue with is the red dress and just the neckline. Mostly because it looks like the bodice is flapping open half the time. Maybe if some jewels or something straddled the center front points, it would have been more naughty teasing and less Hollywood red carpet desperate. Oh well live and learn.
    Terry the whole lot of you are doing pretty damn well bringing a rather cracked out source material to life despite it’s problems. There are some other pieces the promo materials are making me look forward to.

    Reply
  13. lesartsdecoratifs

    The red dress was not very flattering but I guess the costume designer was in a really awkward position here.

    As for the non-powdered hair, I am not sure you would be able to tell the difference. Since it hair powder does work as dry shampoo and it could be colored to match the wearer’s original hair color, you can use it and still look pretty normal. I have photos of me with powdered hair using 18th century-recipe pomade and powder and it is pretty much invisible. What it changes about your hair is the smell (especially after the aromatic oils in the pomade disappear lol!) and the way it adds mass and malleability to your hair.

    Of course, it does depend on how much powder your add and how much you brush it out. (It doesn’t completely brush out by the way. In fact, using colored powder shows how much remains and how tightly the powder clings to your hair.)

    Reply
  14. Sandra Turgeon Noel

    Wow, while I am no fashion historian nor a connoisseur of current haute couture, I am an intelligent TV viewer who appreciates how the costumes impact the drama of the sorytelling and realize the limitations of the wardrobe department and can imagine the challenges they must face. Can we please remember this original series- based on fiction – is not trying to pass itself off as the Metroplitan Museum of Art , National Geographic, Smithsonian or some other reputable organization with a 100% focus on historical or archival accuracy. I see the facilitators of this blog and podcast are critiquing certain aspects of fashion and that is a passion of theirs– I get that. But gosh please give Ms. Dresbach a break – I empathize with her situation of having to explain and justify ( and in some cases defend) her work. She seems to be accomplishing her link in the chain of Poe’s “Unity of Effect,” and the costumes are pleasing aesthetically and work for helping viewers believe and know the characters. Thank you

    Reply
    • Kay

      That rather seems to be the point of Frock Flicks- to discuss historical accuracy and historical references in costuming. It’s why I love this blog. I learn a lot and get to the nitty gritty historical movie costumes.

      I don’t think not liking a costume or questioning a direction in costuming is giving the designer a hard time. Everyone has opinions on everything and as long as they’re polite I don’t see an issue.

      Reply
      • Sarah Lorraine

        Thanks, Kay. It seems like we invariably get a comment or two on our more popular posts from people who feel they need to point out to us that “it’s just a movie” or “it’s just fantasy” or “it’s just [insert the obvious here].”

        For those just tuning in, this is what we do. We comment on historical accuracy in film and television costuming. Why? Because we like discussing historical accuracy in film and television costuming. Are we doing it to be mean? No. We are doing it because we think it’s an interesting topic. We just don’t sugar coat our opinions when we see something that doesn’t work, or is egregiously wrong.

        I think we’ve been overwhelmingly praiseful of Terry’s work on “Outlander” from the very start. The quibbles we have are relatively minor compared to the stuff we do like (and which, if the above person had cared to read the article or listen to the podcast, we spend a great deal of time pointing out). The red dress has been the exception, honestly, and so what if we didn’t like it? Terry won’t be out of a job if we say we don’t like one out of literally thousands of outfits she’s designed for the show.

        Reply
  15. Fran in NYC

    Wasn’t Madame du Pompadour the royal mistress in 1746? Or wasn’t that the year she became it? I don’t recall ever reading about her wearing such a revealing dress, at all. And she was a very fashionable woman, considered at the time to have perfect taste.

    Reply
    • Gem

      She was! Louise’s dress is a near copy of those made famous by her. But the episode is 1744 (despite the incorrect date of 45 on screen 2 episodes running, a mistake confirmed by Maril Davis, one of the producers).

      Reply
  16. odeliaopium

    I loved everything about this episode! Especially the nipple swans!! I haven’t read the books (think I will now!), but I love the designer’s take on things! A feast for the eyes, especially the brothel and court scenes! Thank you for discussing it in such detail Frock Flicks!

    Reply
  17. Adina

    I listened to this podcast while playing a sci-fi video game-it’s actually a good combination.

    Reply
  18. Martina

    I read in one of Terry’s interviews that the nipples are actually silicone casts of the actress’s nipples, so that they could get the look without the pain. Although having them glued on couldn’t ha been too comfortable!

    Reply
  19. Liz

    I am in LOVE with the swan nipple dress! It’s sooooo 18th century crazy court decadance and if I had a set of girlies that pretty and pierced, you can be darn sure I would wear that dress in a heartbeat! I think the red dress would have looked fabulous with the same bodice cut, just with the sheer gauzy covering over her breasts like in the book and period portraits. Thank you for the excellent overview of the episodes. You guys catch details I often miss.

    Reply
  20. Gretchen Jacobsen

    The most common way nipples are pierced these days is horizontally. It is much more rare for them to be pierced vertically as they are in Outlander. The nipple swans just don’t look like they would work on any level as executed. You’d need some glue or something.

    Reply
  21. Margo Anderson

    The actress’s nipples may not be pierced. The swans could be glued on, with the beaks judiciously placed to give a pierced effect. That would explain why they aren’t swinging from pearled chains the way they were in the book.

    Reply
  22. picasso Manu

    I know I’m late to the party but I HAVE to rant (a bit) about that swan “dress”.
    I happen to be a history buff, and French to boot on top of that.
    Recently, I decided to go back to an old passion of mine, costuming, and went to scour the net for documentation.
    Saw that atrocity and shot straight to the ceiling in fury… It was very Exorcist like without the pea soup.
    I listened to the podcast and glad one of you pointed out that while illustrations of that kind do exist, they were PORN and not actual fashion plates.
    Now, I get the costume designers had to follow the book, and the author took the usual route of bashing the French, as per usual.
    Now, this is getting tiresome. Louis XV may not have been the monarch his grandfather was, but he had at least two things in common with him:
    1-He liked women ( a lot!)
    2- He had taste.

    That Kardashianesque display of sexual vulgarity was out of period (try the Minoans for size), out of place (my nation court was NOT a brothel!), and out of order (honestly, I didn’t know I could be insulted by a dress, but here goes…)
    Historical accuracy? my sweet bum!

    And my country was NOT decadent, thankyouverymuch. In fact, the reign of Louis XV was the peak in France for arts, fashion, architecture and so much more… The last years before, yes, all the misery that supported that beauty erupted. But in the meantime, France had a few beautiful decades, so much that centuries later, people are still obsessed with it… Aren’t we ladies?
    So I would appreciate if foreign authors would stop to shit on my country, and for it to be presented as “historically accurate” when it goes on TV.
    No, it isn’t.

    The French Court was governed by two things: Etiquette, and the catholic Church. Even the king could not easily change this, and being a king’s mistress, even a “favorite” was a quite precarious and uneasy position. I can’t even begin to list how many lines that “dress” is crossing!
    If Madame de Tourvel had turned out like that, she would have been stoned out of Court, maybe literally: The Catholic faction at Court was not beating around the bush.

    The one consolation I have is that the leading lady, in that ridiculous red dress, would have faced the same fate (or more likely been shown the servant entrance…)

    Okay, rant over, thanks for listening, I feel better now. And I love your podcast!

    Reply

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