SNARK WEEK: The Paradise TV Series Costumes – Ribbon Rosette Fiesta

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BBC’s The Paradise TV series costumes seemed to have a pretty limited budget in the first season, because nearly every dress was trimmed with bushels of ribbon rosettes. Apparently there was a sale!

The Paradise TV series costumes

Ribbon rosettes in red!

The Paradise

Ribbon rosettes in purple!

The Paradise tv series costumes

More ribbon rosettes in purple!

The Paradise TV series costumes

But wait… ribbon rosettes in pink!

The Paradise TV series costumes

Back to red!

The Paradise TV series costumes

BIG ribbon rosettes in purple!

The Paradise TV series costumes

Different ribbon rosettes in red!

The Paradise TV series costumes

Ribbon rosettes in blue!

The Paradise TV series costumes

Ribbon rosettes in purple!

Ribbon rosettes in red AND purple! NOW THAT'S JUST CRAZYTALK!

Ribbon rosettes in red AND purple! NOW THAT’S JUST CRAZYTALK!

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About the author

Kendra

Website

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

18 Responses

  1. Al

    “Well, we have this bodice made from $200/yard brocade, but it’s missing something… hmmm… oh yeah! RED POLYESTER SATIN BOWS!”

    Reply
  2. JDV

    I do have to say that the dark haired actress (I’m in a rush or I’d go over to IMDB) has one of the best bitchy snark faces ever! Love her!

    Reply
  3. The Guy with the Parasols

    I kind of liked/hated this series, myself. As somebody who works retail and just had a downsizing scare tat cost me a position I liked, I really was annoyed by the OMG THE STORE IS SO GREAT LOOK AT THE STORE IT’S WONDERFUL – and I kept thinking “When are they going to bother her about opening credit cards?” Or tell her that her clienteleing is subpar? I know it was based on a Zola novel, but couldn’t somebody who worked retail had written the script for a little snark at department store management culture?

    Also, Can we also just talk about the BATTENBERG LACE PARASOLS THAT WERE EVERYWHERE? Ugh. Surely the costume company has a few semi-decent carriage frames that they could have loaned out? Lord have mercy… When she asked bitchy supervisor blonde lady “Where can we put this new shipment of parasols?” and held up a Chinese straight-from-Ali-Baba or Ebay lace parasol I wanted the supervisor to answer “Straight into the garbage honey, that’s where they belong. Now, please apply to Sangsters’ for a selection of decent bone and ivory frames shipped post haste.”

    I mean SERIOUSLY.

    Reply
  4. Veronica

    I tried to watch this series and just could not. The recycled dresses didn’t bother me as much as the stripped down versions of such, so many open necklines. I’ve got it! They took out the neck details and added the rosettes for interest. I’ve seen some of these in the original versions (see The Pallisers). In addition to the Battenberg parasols, the matching drawstring purses make me cringe. “Look I have one for every dress!”

    Reply
  5. Bess

    It was the very late 1870s (Natural Form) dresses for the Shop Girls versus the supposedly ultra fashionable early Bustles of the customers that got me (and I wasn’t impressed with those either).

    Reply
  6. Tara

    Fabulous, Kendra. The rosettes were sad, but for me the most disturbingly odd costume detail were the endless chandelier-sized hanging crystals on the bodices. We could think of them as the “fancy” alternative to the ribbon rosettes – make it fancy! Okay, add random hanging crystals!

    Reply
  7. Lindy Shopper

    I knew Frock Flicks would have some commentary on this! I just finished season 1 and am wondering about the color scheme they’ve chosen for Katherine Glendenning, it’s as if Hello Kitty went Victorian (by way of rosettes, LOL). The 1800’s are not my area of expertise, but the colors for her seem off…

    Reply
    • Kendra

      I only made it through the first season, and my main thought was “WHY is she in white all the time??” I felt like it was a character thing, to make her seem all innocent and pure, and then at the very end of the season her bitchy side comes out and she’s suddenly in dark colors. But yeah. I spent the first few episodes thinking she was wearing the same dress with different trimmings in every scene.

      Reply
  8. Lisa

    I abandoned watching this series because I was so distracted by all the upholstery trimming on the costumes. It didn’t matter what was going on in the scene, all I could think of was the Carol Burnett/Bob Mackie send-up of Gone With The Wind. “I saw it in the window, and could not resist.”

    Reply
  9. Anita Joy

    Ha! I have just watched the two seasons after borrowing the dvds from
    the library and thought the costumes were great! In my defence, I was
    still traumatized from watching “Banished” (an epic story of survival set in
    Australia 1788).

    From the Extras, the costume person said that Catherine’s dresses
    were white/pale to convey the sense of her being a woman who goes
    from house-to-carriage-to-store, and doesn’t get dirty.

    Trivia: the actress (Joanna Vanderham) who played Denise in “Paradise” appears as
    convict Kitty McVitie in “Banished”, where she gets her kit off with a
    scrumptious chap, who rocked his costume.

    Reply
  10. Madeleine

    I’ve just started watching season 1 again (last seen a few years back).
    All I can now see is Those. Damn. Rosettes. !! hahaha

    Reply
  11. notanothercostumingblog

    I tried watching this and just couldn’t. The fit was SO BAD an there was no attempt to get anything like a period silhouette. I watched the first episode and kept going “I can’t place this. It doesn’t really look like natural form (no tight skirts, asymmetrical trim), but it’s not bustle or 1890s either…. what is this?” which is a BAD SIGN

    Reply

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