Outlander Costume Recap & Podcast: Season 2, Episode 4

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We’ll be recapping every episode of Outlander this season, both in blog post AND podcast. This time it’s just Kendra for the blog post, and as usual, I’ll be focusing mostly on the costumes — designed by Terry DresbachHowever…

We have a very special guest on this podcast! Brenna Barks, a fashion historian who specializes in Scotland and who wrote our fabulous review of the men’s costumes in season 1. Brenna joins me to discuss Scottish history, Outlander, and episode 4 on our podcast, which you can find 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.

We begin with yet another chess game between Jamie and Duvernay at Versailles:

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Duvernay is wearing a lovely shade of grass green silk satin, and he’s back in his long, “full bottomed” wig.

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Jamie is sticking with his black silk satin frock coat, and his hair is looking sad.

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Claire’s brown dress has gold and turquoise trim — the turquoise really doesn’t read as 18th century, but it does pair well with the brown. The sheer ruffled stomacher and petticoat are a little weird too, but I’ll deal.

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It IS weird that Claire’s trim doesn’t go along the back of the neck, which is de rigeur. The Comte Saint Germain, on the other hand, is rocking some lovely blue patterned fabrics in both his frock coat and waistcoat!

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I’m sorry Claire got poisoned, but I’m very happy to see the Comte. rrRRRrrr.

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Random extras in back-closing gowns, this one with clunky boning.

Claire gets poisoned, but with something that just hurts for a bit and won’t actually kill her — and the culprit is probably the Comte Saint German. Back at home, Claire recovers. This whole plot thread reminds me of the “affair of the poisons,” a big scandal that happened in the late 17th century (read more about it at Wikipedia).

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We get a lovely view of Jamie’s waistcoat, which is silver with delicate black embroidery. Is it quilted, or is that just a pattern? Either way, thumbs up!

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The back of his waistcoat is nice too. The plainer fabric and back lacing is accurate — the lacing made your waistcoat adjustable (slightly bigger or smaller? no problem!), and both are hidden when you’re wearing a coat.

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Claire doesn’t feel so good.

Claire heads off to Maitre Raymond’s to confront him about potentially selling the poison to the Comte (likely).

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Claire wears a hooded jacket that’s made of electric blue silk with a magenta (printed?) pattern. The petticoat is in a solid silk that coordinates well when she’s outside…

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But when she’s inside and the lighting changes, the two don’t mesh quite as well. Also, that magenta dye is waaaaay bright for the 18th century — try 1860s or later aniline dyes.

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I think the stronger floral pattern along the jacket and hood edges is embroidered?

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We finally get a decent shot of Maitre Raymond’s servant. This cross-over fichu is very appropriate.

Claire goes to visit bestie Louise, who confides in Claire that she’s pregnant — but not with her husband’s child.

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They’re doing a great job of differentiating characters while still sticking to an 18th century aesthetic, even if not every little detail is accurate to a T. Mary is sweet and pure: white, delicate floral fabric; sweet jacket; lots of coverage through her cap and fichu and mitts. Louise is luxe and sensual: sensuous satin fabric, lots of frilly trims. Claire is elegant and practical: dark fabric, minimal trim.

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Mary’s cap is all English, all 1740s, and works perfectly to make her look like Little Miss Sweet.

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I got excited that Mary’s jacket is a real pet-en-l’air, the hip-length, jacket version of the robe à la française (aka sack gown)… except that then I spotted that the back pleats are cut separate from the jacket itself, which makes it another piémontaise and about 30-40 years too early. Minor quibble.

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Claire: back-lacing. Sigh.

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The center front of Claire’s dress has a vertical cut that is reminiscent of The Red Dress (from her first trip to Versailles in episode 2).

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Louise’s dress trimming is nice! They’ve used a bronze and blue fabric, where the blue matches the solid blue of the gown. Also, great jewelry.

Back at Chez Fraser, Jamie comes home with bite marks on his upper thighs and stories of almost 69ing with prostitutes. Claire is pissed, and I am team Claire… except that Jamie is getting over a horrible, brutal rape, and while I get that Claire is trying to get Jamie to communicate with/lean on her, I think she could be a lot more understanding of what he’s going through.

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Jamie spends this fight in his shirt, and they are careful to always frame him so we don’t see any bonus bits.

Jamie and Claire shag (FINALLY!), then hear someone on the roof. Jamie is ready to cut a bitch, when they discover its Bonnie Prince Charlie, who has been bitten by his lover’s monkey. Claire figures out that Louise’s baby daddy is BPC!

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Claire is getting a lot of wear out of her dressing gown.

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BPC’s silver waistcoat with silver embroidery is nice, although hard to see. His hair, however… drowned rat much?

A week later, Claire and Jamie are about to host an important dinner party at which they plan to blow up Prince Charles’s relationship with Sandringham. But beforehand, Claire has to go to the hospital as there’s been some major disaster. Mary goes along to assist, while Murtagh and Fergus escort them.

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Claire’s Brunswick — a German-inspired, hooded, jacket version of the robe à la française that was worn for traveling and other practical moments. It has an actual, proper française back! It has fabulous ruched self-fabric trim! It has matching mitts! It’s my favorite outfit so far this season, just because it’s A++ spot-on historically accurate AND pretty.

Brunswick gown

Here’s a real Brunswick jacket: Brunswick, 1765-75, France, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Brunswick jacket

And the same jacket from the back.

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Ruches! Matching ribbon choker!

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Fergus has a nice, class-appropriate suit… but no hat.

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More of a working-class look. Also, Fergus is wise.

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Murtagh’s outfit is also class-appropriate — nubby wool, leather or suede (?) for the collars and cuffs, earthy colors.

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Murtagh is, of course, wearing a kilt. Also, no hat!

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Inside, Claire does some gross bone resetting while wearing a sleeveless bodice over her shift, worn with sleeves rolled up. And another pinned-on apron!

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Mother Hildegarde rocking the habit.

Outside, the carriage’s wheel has broken… how, when it was just parked outside? Claire decides they will walk home. There aren’t hackney carriages in Paris? They have to hurry because she has to get home for The Dinner — but then are shown strolling. Huh?

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LOOK! A PROPER, PLEATED FRANÇAISE BACK! SO HAPPY!

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I didn’t love Mary’s outfit, mostly on an aesthetic level. It’s perfectly appropriate to her character. I think it’s the cream lace? Blue linen? The lace under the bodice center front straps? Not sure. I did like that we get a rare glimpse of pleated cuffs, which are much more appropriate to the 1740s than the engageantes (sleeve ruffles) that we’re seeing on most other costumes. I also liked her cute hat with the turned-up back.

1740s style sleeve cuffs

Detail of the kind of pleated sleeve cuffs that are more typical of the 1740s. Robe Volante, c. 1720, France, Kyoto Costume Institute.

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More cream lace at Mary’s jacket hem. Murtagh: still no hat?

Chez Fraser, Jamie has to welcome all the dinner party guests on his own.

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Jamie is sticking with his black silk satin frock coat and embroidered black and white waistcoat. Which is fine by me, because it’s so beautiful.

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Hellooooo, embroidery!

Everyone turns up:

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Alexander Randall and the Duke of Sandringham.

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Sandringham’s outfit is subtle, including the pattern on his waistcoat. Possibly because he’s so subtle about espionage?

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Mary’s fiancé (poor dear) in green wool, and some other guy.

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A random couple. I feel like her bodice waistline, and the skirt opening, are clunky.

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More random guests. LOVE her green, and all the lace — including a fashion apron, which seems more 1770s-80s, but no big deal.

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Bonnie Prince Charlie in a muted purple velvet, with blue waistcoat.

Claire and company are hours late to the dinner — because they are attacked while en route. Poor Mary gets raped. The attackers suddenly start calling Claire “La Dame Blanche” and take off, clearly afraid of her.

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Mary’s hat!

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Claire’s trim!

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Mitts!

Back at chez Fraser, Sandringham is a dolt and invited the Comte and Comtesse Saint Germain.

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The Comte — gold silk satin with matching embroidery for the coat, black with gold embroidery for the waistcoat. Yes! The comtesse — kind of disappointing? I like the silver lace, but the apron drape is too short aesthetically. And really — a countess wearing a jacket to a formal dinner? I get that she’s a background character, plot-wise, but she’s a countess!

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From the waist up, the countess looks good. But who cares, because COMTE SAINT GERMAIN FTW.

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Another rando in gorgeous blue silk taffeta.

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Louise de Rohan and Mr. Rohan. Louise’s dress is faaaaabulous — red and gold! Her husband’s outfit is really great too — love the velvet, and particularly love the gold trim with tassels!

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Louise is clearly the focal female in this scene. Love Mr. Rohan’s fur trim on his collar and cuffs! That, with the tassels, makes his outfit seem a little bit German or Turkish (in a good way).

Claire and company finally show up. Poor Mary is sent to bed, with Alexander Randall to watch over her (the two are in love). Claire changes and heads in to dinner, despite Jamie’s offer to cancel things.

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Claire has great earrings. The necklace is something Maitre Raymond gave her as protection — it changes color in the presence of poison.

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Claire’s dress is a dark red. She’s sticking with her pared-down, elegant style. She’s also sticking with her very masquerade/posing gown wide, loose sleeves.

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Louise has yet more great froof around her neck.

During dinner, Claire and Jamie’s plan to set up BPC by announcing Louise’s pregnancy — she managed to convince her husband that it’s his — at dinner seems to be going well. BPC is being sulky and it looks like things might blow up as Claire & Jamie hope…

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Bonnie Prince Chuckie is wearing another great wig!

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Claire’s dress has back lacing again. Sigh.

Except — Mary wakes up, sees Alex and freaks out, goes running out into the house with Alex trying to calm her… but he ends up on top of her in a compromising position. All the guests rush in and most assume Alex is trying to rape Mary. A completely random melée ensues, during which various random male party guests try to beat up Alex and then Jamie and Murtagh as they leap to the rescue. Jamie and Murtagh win, of course. The Comte lurks ominously, then sends for the guards.

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Both Chuckie and Saint Germain have GREAT wigs!

Which costumes did you love this time around? Did anything give you an eye twitch?

Outlander Season Two, Episode Four, Podcast Recap

Listen to Kendra discuss episode 4 with fashion historian Brenna Barks in our podcast recap of the episode, here or on iTunes!

86 Responses

  1. mmcquown

    Someday, it’ll be on Netflix.*sigh* Since someone brought it up, when will somebody do a movie or series about the Affair of the Poisons? Couldn’t imagine a more juicy, titillating tale than that one. And how much about St. Germain are they highlighting? His alchemy? His occultism? More legend than fact, but nonetheless fascinating.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      A movie about the Affair of the Poisons would be SO GOOD.

      It’s been too long to remember the specifics on St. Germain from the book. So far in the TV series, he’s been seen visiting the apothecary Maitre Raymond’s shop, and may have tried to poison Claire in this episode.

      Reply
    • Ellira

      It is on Netflix right now, actually! Though you might need to use a service like Smartflix to access it. My Amazon Prime ran out this week and I was mourning the loss of the show, only to find it there!

      Reply
      • mmcquown

        That would be a great thing; that was a huge scandal. It amazes me that it hasn’t been paid more attention to.
        Now, for the Scotophiles: I tried to post this last night, but there some sort of connectivity issue. Besides the nonfiction bio, there are two novels by Nigel Tranter about Montrose: “The Young Montrose,” and “Montrose: the Captain-General.” Historically, Montrose was betrayed by Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll, who was himself executed after the Restoration. He got his own bio, “The Reign of King Covenant,” by Jane Lane. South of the Borders, the excellent Daphne du Maurier gives us a novel about another colourful character of the time, Sir Richard Grenville, “The King’s General” in the West.
        To be read in all your copious spare time.

        Reply
  2. ladylavinia1932

    Claire decides they will walk home. There aren’t hackney carriages in Paris? They have to hurry because she has to get home for The Dinner — but then are shown strolling. Huh?

    This is where the episode began to fail for me.

    Reply
    • Shae

      In the book they say that all the hackneys have been commandeered to use as ambulances for the medical emergency. They did walk awfully slow however, seeing as they were supposed to be in a hurry.

      Reply
      • Kendra

        Okay, that helps to know that there’s a reason there’s no hackneys! It’s been too many years since I’ve read this book.

        Reply
  3. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    I know the scene was super serious, but I half expected to hear yackity sacks playing in the background.

    Reply
  4. Kendra

    Seriously! Who were all these rando aristocrats fighting and why??!! (Okay, to defend Mary’s honor, but still, it just seemed random in the episode).

    Reply
    • AshleyOlivia

      I think they just wanted to show Jamie and Murtagh in another brawl. Sam Heughan has said the action scenes are his favorites to film.

      Reply
      • terrydresbach

        In a show where every minute has to count, choices are never made for such reasons. Actors neither want to be indulge like that, nor are they. It is quite a professional ensemble on both sides of the camera

        Reply
    • Susan Pola

      Okay, it’s been a few years since I read Dragonfly in Amber, but I thought Mary was raped at night or dusk. And at the time felt that Sandringham and possibly St Germain were behind the attack and the overbred narcissistic foppish rapist were also students of the occult. Thus the Blanche Dame remarks as Claire is very pale and knows healing. But I could be wrong.

      Reply
  5. AshleyOlivia

    All the accolades to Brenna! I was fascinated by her input on the podcast, and I was so grateful she was able to be a guest. I’ve learned so much! (And you are wonderful, too, as always, Kendra!)

    I was happy to hear that Brenna found the characterization of Bonnie Prince Charlie a tad too dorky. I read Christopher Duffy’s Fight for a Throne in preparation for this season (God, I am such a nerd) and he makes Charles seem fairly capable and reasonably knowledgable about military strategy. I think the show (and Gabaldon) are reacting against the idea of Charles as a romanticized hero, but they’ve gone too far in the other direction. (P.S. Kendra is right that Jamie is never persuaded by Charles. Charles forges Jamie’s name to a document pledging support for the Jacobite cause at the outset of the rebellion, forcing Jamie to fight.)

    I had one question that maybe someone (Brenna, if she’s around…) can answer. If clan tartans were not a thing in the eighteenth century, what was the purpose of the dress code ban after Culloden? Was the emphasis on getting rid of tartan, or the plaid/kilt itself? Was it that the kilt had proven to be an effective “tool” in battle (in the sense that the Highlanders were able to move around easily, and essentially camp in their kilts because it doubled as a blanket) and this was what the English were trying to halt?

    Clothes were so good in this episode. I, too, noticed the change in color of Claire’s hooded jacket, which she wears to Raymond’s. It looks blue and red to me when she is outside, then appears purple and magenta inside. This has got to be a lighting problem, as you guys note, and that makes me wonder if the “magenta” is actually just a shade of (historically appropriate) red. A similar thing happened to Jamie’s wedding outfit last year. The coat is blue, but in all of the promotional shots it photographed this weird teal color.

    I think Terry may have been referencing a particular painting for the neckline of the blue gown Claire wears at Louise’s home; it’s towards the bottom of her post on the red dress: http://www.terrydresbach.com/red/#comments. (Unfortunately she didn’t provide the name of the portrait or artist.) It does read a bit fancy dress/masquerade to me, especially the sleeves.

    The men’s clothes are fabulous. I am in love with Louise’s husband’s coat. Heavens, the fur and the tassels. And, of course, the Comte St Germain’s outfit is killer. Such a peacock, in all the right ways. I do think the men’s coats should have more pleating (note Joseph Highmore’s 1744 “Pamela and Mr. B in the Summerhouse” http://www.artchive.com/web_gallery/J/Joseph-Highmore/Pamela-and-Mr.-B-in-the-Summer-House-1744.html). But, this could be an issue with money (trying to save on the cost of fabric) or audience considerations. Personally, I love the fact that the silhouette for men almost made it look like they were wearing a skirt. I adore that move where they have to fluff out their coat “skirt” before they sit down. Also, arrgh about Jamie’s boots. Riding boots at formal dinner parties are the male version of dresses that lace up the back.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      Lots of good questions and thoughts! I’ll leave the questions to Brenna. Re: that inspiration painting at Terry Dresbach’s blog — alrighty then! Color me shocked! It definitely reads German to me, and masquerade-y — and the lack of center front opening would be because it’s a court style bodice. I thaw on the red dress about 5% now.

      That Highmore painting is a great example of the men’s coat silhouettes in this era. The Outlander coats are close, they’re just not as swishy around the hips.

      BOOTS AT DINNER PARTIES. NO. ;)

      Reply
      • AshleyOlivia

        Yes, I really appreciated how generous Terry was in that blog post breaking down the evolution of her creation of the red dress. It is a very interesting case of the designer having to translate a wack-a-doodle book description to something that actually makes sense within the context of the 18th-c. I became a lot more forgiving once I realized the task she was facing, the different camps she had to please.

        The men’s coats are very close, for sure. (And the wigs! Such great wigs!)

        I have a couple gorgeous pairs of riding boots that I wear over my skinny jeans pretty much all winter long, and I have an older professor who grew up on a farm and she is very confused by the fashion. She keeps saying to me, “….but you aren’t riding horses! Why are you wearing riding boots?” I always think of her when men wear riding boots in inappropriate settings on film. I can just see her pointing at Jamie’s feet, going, “Why? Why? Is Donas coming to dinner?”

        Reply
    • brenna

      I CAN answer the questions! Such a relief. When people say they have a question there’s always that moment where you worry that it will be the one you’ve never found the answer for, but these I know! I’m going to be very lengthy because I am an epic nerd (the book you mentioned has been promptly added to my never-ending “To-Read” list on Goodreads).

      The kilt was never the Jacobite symbol. That was the white cockade, either a white rose or a white rosette made of paper or ribbon or fabrics.

      The kilt itself wasn’t really worn, I personally believe, as a way of running away from the English (or Vikings, or Lowlanders, or fellow Highlanders, whomever you were fighting at that moment). I feel based on the earliest evidence we have around the time of its emergence (15th century or so – sorry Mel Gibson) that it was probably more hunting/sporting gear for the Highland Scottish people. That way they wouldn’t startle the deer while tracking them, that sort of thing. That it was helpful in evading or attacking others who were stuck in less-than-hospitable foliage was just a bonus! The problem with the 1740s is that there are now not-suitable-for-dinner-parties boots, and all of the English regiments had them. So I’m afraid the Act of Proscription wasn’t nearly as practical as your hypothesis — way too rational, and we’re dealing with politics. And ancient politics, at that…

      The real reason behind banning Highland dress and tartan was that it was instantly recognizable as Scottish and “Highland”. And ever since the late Mediaeval period, the Highland/Gaelic way of life had been considered foreign and other, ironically because they lost a family feud with the Stuarts who were Lowlanders. By the end of the 1745 rebellion the Highlander was a sort of Bogeyman in the press: Catholic, barbaric, anti-progress, tartan- and kilt-wearing, marauding rapists who wanted to take your rational, Protestant king off the throne and replace him with a papist blessed by both the French king and the Pope. Absolutely not cricket.

      In the long eighteenth century they are seen as an impediment to progress, and they “threatened” British lives and livelihoods. Therefore, by eighteenth -century logic their way of life needs to be eradicated. Gaelic itself is even banned in the Act, because all those folks in the Highlands and Islands aren’t going to go back to speaking whatever they want whenever the inspector — if one was even sent — turns his back. You see this anti-Highland attitude in the reaction to a lot of the post-Culloden uprisings. Aberdeen (English-speaking) has a Jacobite uprising after 1745? It’s put down with essentially a wrist slap in comparison to what happens in the Gaelic-speaking regions. So the white cockade is ignored, if it was ever recognized, and instead what is distinctly Highland in attire is what is made illegal.

      On the topic of Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart (sorry, I had to do it), I don’t think either caricature is correct — neither the impossibly romantic hero nor the spoiled twit. When I think about him, I mostly feel sad. He was no doubt arrogant, he was 25, handsome, and had been raised to believe the British throne was his birthright and that he would take it back from the usurpers. James (VIII & III after George IV ascended to the throne) knew his own failings and made sure his son was unencumbered by them. Charles Edward Stuart was very skilled in the arts of war in the manner of any European prince: he had cavalry, sword, and battle strategy training. And if it hadn’t been for English counter-propaganda and spies, and an old Scottish commander he *could* have taken London, or kept Scotland. He is the greatest might-have-been in history. Poor lamb. No wonder he took to drink.

      Reply
      • Kendra

        I do just wish that Bonnie Prince Charlie & co. would have focused on taking and keeping Scotland. The big problem with the Rising of 1745 is that they went through England, and got close to London, expecting English Catholics to rise up with them — but few English did. They DID have support in Scotland, though, and if they’d just hunkered down there, maybe they could have succeeded (and avoided the wholesale slaughter of thousands or more people and a whole culture).

        Reply
        • brenna

          That is the consensus of the historians. There was a Swedish fleet ready to sail across the North Sea with reinforcements (badly needed, since BPC didn’t actually pick up that many followers on his way through Scotland), and with that help he could have held Scotland. The Glaswegians and others might not have been thrilled with his turning up, but they would have paid taxes and got used to him so long as he didn’t disrupt their daily lives too much.

          Charles was a bit stuck, though. He was there on Louis XV’s dime, and Louis said he needed to take London for James VIII & III. And he relied a little too much on Louis’s promises because the troops would only have been sent AFTER he took London. And that might have been possible, but would he have held it? We’ll never know, but I think not. Charles and James VIII & III and Henry (Charles’s younger brother) were the least oblivious of the Stuarts, but they failed to recognize that once James VII & II ‘abdicated’ and then failed to retake the throne, they were little more than pawns on the chess board anymore. And how can you be in touch with the people when you’re all the way in France or Italy?

          The romantic legend of BPC is actually something Scott simply capitalized on, rather than invented himself. He started out as a ballad and folklore collector, and history loves an underdog. Over the sixty years between Culloden and when Scott began writing quite the mythology and collection of songs about Bonnie Prince Charlie had been built up, almost to a religious mania. There are so many relics in Scottish families and collections that, the curators often say, if they actually did all belong to him he would have walked onto Culloden Moor naked and bald.

          Scott was *monstrously* out of touch with the Scottish people of his time period. There is a lot to suggest that much of what he was writing was his attempt to sway them away from what he saw as the dangerous demand for voter reform in the 1820s/30s that expanded who could vote (not universal suffrage, don’t be silly, but still an exponential expansion). He spun tails of fealty and hierarchy, and they took the tartan and voted for the reform anyway.

          Reply
          • Susan Pola

            Didn’t Parliament pass a bill that increased who could actually vote in the 1820s and then the Catholic Emancipation Bill giving Catholic property holders and nobles (Duke of Norfolk, etc) the right to vote and sit in Parliament a few years later?

            Reply
          • brenna

            Susan, We’re moving outside of my comfort zone, so I will do the best I can. The only thing I know about the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 is that after the first Catholic who was able to stand for an election won his seat he couldn’t take it because the Relief Act failed to get rid of the Penal Laws that required oaths renouncing the pope and abjugating Charles Edward Stuart… I think they must have sorted that out within a year or so, but it was all very complicated and as soon as anything was done to make things easier for Catholics there were popular riots and nothing really changed in the end.

            Reply
      • mmcquown

        I think the romantic hero is more after the fact than not and came with people like Sir Walter Scott, who was responsible for a lot of rubbish about history that many people still tend to believe. My sense has always been that he was out of touch with the Scottish people and prone, as most Stuarts seem to have been, to listen to the wrong advice. As for the proscription and all the rest, as much can be put down to English greed as to religiosity. “Rob Roy” portrays a lot of the conniving between the less scrupulous Scottish lairds and their English/German overlords.

        Reply
      • AshleyOlivia

        Ah, okay. So the Dress Act was less about eradicating Jacobitism and more about destroying Highland culture, with tartan being part of that. This was a great answer, Brenna, and I really appreciate your taking the time to respond in such detail!

        Maybe you can shed light on one more aspect of Scottish history that has been driving me bonkers… (if you give such wonderful answers, you can’t blame me for wanting to ask more questions!) I was watching Outlander with a friend, when she pointed out that it was weird that Jamie was a Catholic since Scotland was largely Presbyterian. Then I read Christopher Duffy’s book, and my impression was that there were a small percentage of Highlanders that were still Catholic, but the typical stereotype of a Highlander is Catholic… Basically, what I’m trying to figure out is how likely it would have been for Jamie, a laird, to have been Catholic. Is his Catholicism plausible, or is it more likely that Gabaldon was just reproducing the stereotype?

        Agree with everything you’ve said about Charlie. I think the most serious fault was a sort of foolhardiness, but then he probably wouldn’t have gotten within 100 miles of London otherwise.

        Reply
        • brenna

          Sorry, that was me not explaining things properly. The Act was to root out the Jacobite cause, but in the minds of everyone the Jacobites and the Highland stereotypes had become merged, so the result was not the end of the Jacobite cause (there are still Jacobites, believe it or not) but the eradication of the Highland way of life as it had been.

          I’m happy to answer your other question, too!

          I don’t think Gabaldon was exclusively playing to the stereotype, because there is a grain of truth in it, it was entirely likely Jamie would be Catholic. There were English noblemen with more money and grandiose titles banned from participating in politics and government until the late 19th century because they were Catholic.

          The religion topic is tricky because so many people are painted all with the same brush. The Scottish people all being Presbyterian for one thing. Part of the reason people were so upset about the Union in 1707 was that it made the High Presbyterian Kirk the Church of Scotland. There were Anglican protestant Scottish people and still quite a few Catholics, both of whom feared reprisals from the High Kirk.

          Stereotypes are always partially true, but there were plenty of Protestant Jacobites, and plenty of Lowland and even English Jacobites. And plenty of Hanoverian, Protestant Highlanders. In fact, Clan Mackenzie upon which Colum and Dougal are based, was torn in two over Culloden with the laird at the time choosing the British/Hanoverian side and one of his close relatives choosing the Jacobite side. They also fought as Covenanters (Protestant) the century before in the prayer book wars that eventually led to the English Civil War.

          History, she is complicated.

          Reply
          • AshleyOlivia

            Thanks for the clarification about the Dress act and Jamie’s religion! History is indeed complicated, but that’s half the fun :) Our conversations would be so short, otherwise! (And as academics, we would probably be out of a job!)

            Reply
          • brenna

            Too funny! I almost wrote “which why we love her” after the last comment.

            Thanks for letting me geek out about Jacobites and Scottish history, you are right, we would definitely be lost without these things to do. I may have restarted ‘A history of Scotland’ last night while I knit. I neither confirm nor deny anything.

            Reply
          • mmcquown

            A gazillion books out there about the history of Scotland. My favourite is “The Survival of Scotland” by Eric Linklater, largely because he spells out the true history of MacBeth in the opening part. Also like “The Steel Bonnets” By James Macdonald Fraser, a history of nearly 300 years of warfare along the borders. A character well known and loved by Scots is James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, a Scottish loyalist during the Civil Wars. To my knowledge, there has never been a major film about him. It is his grandson or great-grandson who is portrayed in “Rob Roy,” most commonly associated with the song, “Bonnie Dundee.”

            Reply
          • brenna

            @mmcquown This is why I describe my “To-Read” list as never ending… So many good books, and then I meet people with similar interests on the interwebs and they tell me about more! Thank you for the titles, The Survival of Scotland I already had, but not the Steel Bonnets.

            Oh, I’m so glad you mentioned the Marquis de Montrose — I sometimes worry I’m the only one whose heard about these people. There are rather a lot of fabulous historical figures that would be wonderful movies (as Sarah’s post today shows), instead they remake Point Break…

            Reply
    • Miri

      The painting is Barbara of Portuga by Domenico Duprà, the only dating I found is 1725: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_of_Portugal and I agree, the blue seems to be also based on it. With stays and the cutout filed in it actually looks quite pretty, I like it much better than the red version, although it seems still very costume-y for 40’s France.

      Reply
  6. Kesari

    The real Louise’s husband did have German heritage, which may explain his furry collar. I wonder if Murtagh is not wearing a hat because he is Murtagh and everyone can sod off. ALSO.. please I am not a costume expert.. can someone please explain to me how the gowns all go together. Louise’s red for ex. I presume it’s a stomacher? does that mean there is also a red petticoat (may be wrong word?) Underskirt? would it be red all the way around even though the red gown goes over? And then is teh gown pinned to the stomacher? help please. I would love to understand. Thanks.

    Reply
    • AshleyOlivia

      I’m not a costume expert either, but as I understand it, you would put on a petticoat (which we’ve come to think of as an undergarment, but in the 18th c the front of the petticoat is often visible; sometimes it’s the same color as the gown, sometimes not). Then you put on the gown, which is often constructed more like a robe than a modern dress: it’s open in the front and you put it on like a coat. Then, the two parts of the bodice could be laced together, or a stomacher would be worn and in that case the bodice would be pinned to the stomacher on either side.

      You might check out Aileen Ribeiro’s Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe. Perhaps Frock Flicks has other recommendations?

      Reply
    • terrydresbach

      Yes, that is EXACTLY why Murtagh is not wearing a hat. We design for characters, individuals, people with their own perspectives, likes, dislikes, foibles. One size does not fit all.

      Reply
      • brenna

        I think this is why I didn’t actually notice that Murtagh wasn’t wearing a hat until Kendra pointed it out while we were doing the podcast. He looked like my beloved, surly Murtagh, so I didn’t notice.

        Thank you for the boot post! It was lovely — I love starting my day with shoe porn. It also reminded me suddenly that I wasn’t taking into account that Jamie and Murtagh would have a little more leniency in the French court with what they wore as “exotic” Scottish men. The court would love their “eccentricities” and they would be able to get away with things dress-wise that they wouldn’t accept from a French member of the court.

        Reply
  7. terrydresbach

    I just have tell you something. My LEAST favourite costume of the season is the brown brunswick coat. I just hate it. Beautiful coat, for Louise or Mary, but not for Claire. Totally out of character for her, I shudder every time I see it. It is just so wrong. I definitely would have scrapped it, but that is right when we lost our woman cutter, so I was stuck with it.

    But I love that I made something that makes you happy!!! ;)

    Reply
    • Kendra

      SO much you make makes me happy! This just gave me an extra toe twinkle because it was so spot-on for the period. I can see what you mean about the ruches not being Claire as you’ve designed her, but I thought because of the color and the fact that the whole ensemble was the one color, that it worked for her look. If it was on Louise or Mary, it would need to be pink or blue or white!

      Reply
      • terrydresbach

        You are absolutely right, the color saved it. Tricky business designing two centuries combined. A very fine line you have to walk, just an inch to the left or right, and you are over it!!!
        But it is successful, and I don’t have to LOVE every single piece. It doesn’t hurt to have a few costumes to show that we do actually have a clue and that we are making clear choices, not accidents…most of the time. Damn that back lacing, LOL.

        Reply
    • Kendra

      Also, can I just say again what massive kudos I give you for managing to differentiate characters while still staying within an 18th century aesthetic? I was looking at some stuff from the recent War & Peace last night, and rolling my eyes again at how they made one character (Helene) look slutty not by doing so in an early 19th century way, but by making her look 1910s. You are communicating all KINDS of things about the different characters, AND you’re doing it from an 18th century perspective. THAT is an achievement in my mind. Many designers seem to think that we won’t notice character differences unless one person is in a ball gown and another is in a post-apocalyptic hazmat suit.

      Reply
      • terrydresbach

        I always design for my toughest audience. Most people do not know the difference between the 18th and 19th centuries, let alone mid and late 18th century. But to count on the audience’s lack of costume education, is lazy and cheats them from learning something. And I think it sort of cheapens history.
        I design for the people who know, the Costume Designers and people like you guys,
        whose passion is historical costume. My toughest audience. If I can pass under the examination of that audience, I can sleep at night.
        That said, I have such empathy for what I see on other shows. Unless you are a very, very strong person,, and you are willing to go toe to toe with the mainly male, directors, producers, studio folk, who want very broad strokes and a re terrified of the history they do not know, then you are going to back down in the face of powerful opposition.
        Add to that budget and time restraints, it is a thankless task.

        For example- our extras, the “clunky ones”. We crossed our fingers and burned some stuff in effigy, in the hope that we could make them work. We don’t have the time nor labour to make a thousand extras costumes in house.
        So we sent them out to local clothing manufacturers. Imagine what that entails.

        – You need to to make 500 gowns for about £300 each, including accessories, shoes, etc.

        – Our patterns are COSTUME patterns, not commercial patterns. So we had to hire a fashion pattern maker to redraft costume patterns into commercial patterns, that a wedding dress manufacturer could understand.

        – You end up with 6 patterns for gowns.Because you are now doing mass production.

        – Fabric. It can’t be silk, we can’t afford that for extras, so it is poly silk.

        – We need to make 550 gowns that all look different from each other, using mass manufacturing.

        – After the costume “shell”, is brought back in, we add the decorative touches.

        They MOSTLY work. But they are a bit clunky. Some of them are really good, some not so good. We all spend a lot of time racing around on set, trying to move them around, putting the bad ones in the back and as far away from Cait or Sam as possible. But invariably, there is that still shot that is released of a closeup of a bad extra, or that shot from behind that has one of the bad ones standing behind Jamie. And we all die a thousand deaths.
        Because the AD’s don’t know the good ones from the bad when they place them, and the still photographer doesn’t know, no matter how many times we tell him to ask us which ones to shoot.
        It is a loosing battle, and you just have to let it go.

        We have tried to use some of them for day players when there wasn’t time to make a whole costume from scratch. For example, we tried it as a grand experiment with Comte St, Germain’e wife. It didn’t work out so well. But when I look back on all that was happening, I am just glad none of us was carted away in an ambulance, and I just smile at those costumes.

        If we hadn’t made those, they probably could not have shot S2, so I am proud and happy about them.

        So, when I see “bad” costumes, my first thought is always…”I wonder how screwed that designer was the day they started?”

        Reply
        • meraynor

          Terry I really adore all these insights into how the show comes to be costume-wise. It gives me a whole other layer of appreciation for the miracles you pulled off. I worked in product development (of a different sort) for years and never ever do you get the perfect product because you are always having to serve someone, whether it’s a marketing department, production issues and timelines, cost!, and other departments or producers. Like you said, at the end of the day you accept what you’ve been able to pull off which is the miracle you weren’t expecting. And we all want you still breathing and standing for another round! Bravo!

          Reply
          • terrydresbach

            Thank you. My job, just like everyone’s involves a tremendous amount of compromise. For many reasons. Creative choices are rarely the reason, except in a clear choice like Claire’s costumes.
            How I would love to lovingly pour over the exact research for what was made exactly what year, what kind of stitching, what sort of event, wouldn’t that be great!
            An Outlander Season would take about three years to produce.
            It took two years to produce S2. Not because anyone is breathing down our neck, but just sheer physics. We have X number of people, have to produce X amount of costumes, in X amount of time.

            And as you so highly point out. I consider my first and foremost responsibility to see to the well being of the crew who works for me. One of my team passed out one day from exhaustion. Can’t have that. This is not the real 18th century.
            I need to maintain working conditions that are humane. I say all the time. “People before Costumes”.
            That severely limits what we can produce.

            It all has to be managed. Time, budget, crew, schedules, weather. Massive, massive proposition. I would really love to take 5 leading bloggers on a tour of how things actually work. Maybe have them work for us, for a week at the heaviest point. That would be very interesting.

            Reply
    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      I also adore the Brunswick coat! I attempted to make one but I was running out of time. I also wonder where you had the red shoes Claire wears in ep 2 made? I totally need to own a pair.

      Reply
  8. 'Ehulani

    ~ Outside, the carriage’s wheel has broken… how, when it was just parked outside? ~

    At the very beginning of the episode, an unseen (except for his hands) person knocks out the linchpin from the wheel (with the end of a dagger, I think), then replaces the “hubcap” over the center of the axle.

    Eventually, it would cause the wheel to fail. :-)

    Reply
  9. Dianne Falcone (@dianne_falcone)

    Had a conversation with some friends regarding Claire’s gowns vs Louise’s. I’m of the opinion, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that Claire’s tend to be less over the top, solid colors with less fripperies because that’s just who Claire is. Louise, on the other hand, is over the top and more outlandish, if you will, therefore her gowns reflect that.

    Reply
    • brenna

      Hi Dianne, they are very much like “posing gowns” or the sort of gowns one wore to sit for a portrait rather than anything someone actually wore at the time period (this is the Rococo, after all — as much trim and doodads and tchotchkees as you can, please!). So they are startlingly un-embellished for the 1740s, especially in France.

      That being said, Claire isn’t from the eighteenth century. So it would make sense for her with a modern aesthetic and just because of her personality to direct her mantua maker to make things she had seen in paintings, and that are more in keeping with her personal style. Doesn’t make them “period correct”, but Claire isn’t either…

      Reply
  10. mmcquown

    Back to littacha for a moment: if you love Scottish heroes, you must read all six of Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicle: “The Game of Kings”, “Queen’s Play’ “The Disorderly Knights”, “Pawn In Frankincense”, “The Ringed Castle”, and “Checkmate.” A great adventure, a great love story, extremely well researched (although she does fudge on one character). Our hero, Francis Crawford of Lymond, goes from Scotland to France, to the Holy Land, to Russia and back again accompanied by a cast of characters that are fabulous. Makes Gabaldon’s work pale by comparison.

    Reply
    • brenna

      Ooh! Yes, please!! I’ve been meaning to read more fiction for a change. I think I know where I shall start…

      Reply
      • Susan Pola

        My library has Cowan’s bio on Montrose. Just reserved it. Still looking on one about Margrethe I of Denmark, on a wholly different subject.

        Reply
        • mmcquown

          NIgel Tranter wrote two novels about Montrose: “The Young Montrose” and “Montrose: The Captain General.” He was betrayed by Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll, who in his turn was executed for treason after the Restoration. His story is told in “The Reign of King Covenant,” by Jane Lane (nonfiction).
          South of the Borders, the wonderful Daphne du Maurier tells the story of “The King’s General” in the West, Sir Richard Grenville. A few things to read in all your copious spare time.

          Reply
  11. Eleri Hamilton

    The thing I love best about reading this blog and Terry’s comments (and her blog, too) is that there isn’t always agreement, but there’s always solid, respectful conversation about *why* there’s disagreement. Terry lays out the reasoning behind the choices she made (even if that choice is “We didn’t have the resources to dive deep.”), and the FF team talks about where they are coming from. It is always fascinating and educational.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      Thanks so much! I think it’s important that we not just say “this is great!” — but also not dismiss things with “this is total crap” (unless super warranted, a la some of The Tudor’s travesties). And I’m very grateful to Terry for not only sharing such great info on her bog, but coming here and engaging with us.

      Reply
  12. mmcquown

    I just finished watching a flick called “Last Knights,” an action fantasy story starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman. International cast and crew, primary shooting in Prague. The great thing about movies like this is the fact that you can relax and just watch it, because there’s no wrong or right about much of any of it. In the interview section, the designer, Kalinas (?) said she thought of the Silk Road as the inspiration. Equally interesting were Owen’s comments about actors and costumes and their sense of what felt right and what worked.

    Reply
  13. Susan Pola

    Just caught up with the podcasts. Kendra, Louise de Rohan is a Princesse.

    Loved her blue dress in the scene with Claire and Mary.

    I’m drooling over both Jamie’s silver & black waistcoat and the Count’s attire. Besides slobbering over their gorgeousness. They both are high on the shaggable list.

    I agree about Countess St Germain needing to be better dressed, but I can understand maybe budget constraints and the fact she’s an extra. Money was spent on Prince and Princesse de Rohan.

    I wonder when BCP or Prince Charles Edward will show is charisma. So far, would you follow this man even though his father is the rightful king despite James VIII/III’s being Catholic? I think not. Hopefully, in future episodes that will change.

    My favourite dress this episode were the two worn by Louise Princesse de Rohan.
    But I do want Claire’s cape.

    Reply
  14. Martina

    I agree with Eleri…this is such an interesting, learned conversation. I now have recommendations for books to read, and spent a half hour last night figuring out why back lacing is so bad. :). It’s also interesting to get Terry’s perspective. I did a lot of costume design in college as a theatre major, so limited budgets ($1000 for Cabaret) were expected and I begged and borrowed to have enough to outfit everyone. It’s interesting to hear about her time and budget constraints, and how they figured into her choices.

    Reply
  15. lesartsdecoratifs

    I don’t think that the lack of the giant panniers is such an issue, considering that so far we have seen absolutely no court gowns that would require one. There have been also actually no occasions so where wearing court gowns would have been all that appropriate. Even the Versailles party was obviously informal. I would also be very surprised if we actually got a proper Robe de Cour (or even an improper attempt) since I can’t actually recall any historical movie on 18th century Versailles that has ever seriously tried to portray the “everyone had to appear in the court dress on special occasions” scenario.

    On another note, I am not quite sure if the ruched and pinked self-trim as the only decoration in Louise’s red dress and Claire’s Brunswick is all that hyper correct. In surviving garments the earliest examples of gown with only pinked self-fabric trim as decoration tend to be from 1760 or later.

    Reply
  16. Adina

    I found it interesting that when Brenna was talking about how a kilt was worn, it sounded similar to the way you drape a saree.

    Reply
  17. mmcquown

    I may have said this before, and if so, I apologise for my repetitive redundancy: upto the late 18th-early 19th century, most clothes were made by hand by individuals, so the chance of any two garments being exactly the same would be slim. Even two sempsters or seamstresses from the same shop would exhibit slight variations which might be almost as unique as a signature or a fingerprint.

    Reply
  18. Susan Pola

    So true. And then you have your Frenchwoman’s servants maybe sewing or basting her into the gatments. Adding maybe stomacher jewelry.

    Reply
  19. Broughps

    Finally got to listen.

    Jamie doesn’t follow BPC because he’s charismatic, he follows him because he has no choice in the matter, because of something BPC does. We should see it in ep 8 or 9.

    Reply
  20. A.

    Louise’s husband is a marquis, which is above a comte, so it’s not too surprising for her to be the best dressed of the women.

    Really enjoying these posts and podcasts!

    Reply
  21. Ashley

    I really appreciate the involvement on these discussions and it is really wonderful to have the designers input, so thank you Terry, and thank you for all your hard work. I look forward to watching Outlander every week! I can understand all the crazy/stressful/hair pulling it is working on a production. Thank you to Frock Flicks for creating this place to gab over costuming and information.

    Me too!! I’m down to join your costume crew if you are ever in need :)

    Reply
  22. calnyc

    Very random, but after rewatching this episode I realized why the brown silk gown doesn’t have the gold and turquoise trim on the back! Claire gets poisoned, and Jamie scoops her up and carries her away. The metal decoration would have been very uncomfortable for both Sam and Cait when he carries her, plus scratched the heck out of Jamie’s beautiful satin waistcoat!

    Reply

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