The 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen‘s Sense and Sensibility is, for me, one of the ultimate frock flicks. It’s one of a spate of films from the 1990s that made a strong attempt to achieve period accuracy. Its screenplay was thoughtfully adapted by Emma Thompson, and it was directed with care by Ang Lee. The performances — by Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, and more — are strong and pretty much everyone is well cast. I’ve put off doing a real, thorough review of this film because while it’s not the flashiest, it’s so pivotal to me. So I’ve finally decided to break things up, looking at each main character individually, as well as some of the supporting characters in groups. According to Thompson’s script, the filmmakers have chosen the round year of 1800 in which to set the film – at least, the opening scene is March 1800.
In previous posts, I reviewed Elinor’s wardrobe and went over the basics of English women’s dress around 1800; then looked at Marianne, and got into how her wardrobe reflects some specific styles of the 1790s; then looked at the older ladies, Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. Jennings.
Today we’re looking at two more supporting characters, the Regency bad girls of this film: Fanny (Harriet Walter), wife of John Dashwood, Elinor and Marianne’s half-brother, and Lucy Steele (Imogen Stubbs), Elinor’s rival for Edward Ferrars. Fanny is a bit older than Elinor, Marianne, and Lucy, but not as old as Mrs. Dashwood or Mrs. Jennings. She’s the richest of the bunch, with her husband having just inherited Elinor/Marianne/John’s father’s estate. Lucy Steele is not well off at all, often relying on the kindness of her “betters.”
Fanny’s wardrobe kicks butt, frankly, for fabulosity. She’s also the female character in the heaviest mourning besides Mrs. Dashwood, which I guess is making the point that she can afford a new wardrobe while Elinor and Marianne can’t?
Fanny’s Black Striped Dress
A black-on-black striped gown with a chemisette that has a standing lace collar.
Fanny’s Black Renaissance Revival Dress
I talked about the Renaissance revival in the 1810s-20s when discussing Mrs. Jennings’ wardrobe. Again, the cut-outs on the oversleeves make me think they’re referencing that style here.
Fanny’s Black Striped Dress #2
I THINK this is a different dress than her others? The stripes look narrower to me.
Fanny’s Black & Silver Evening Dress
THIS DRESS IS TO DIE FOR!!! Clearly made from a sari, but made well, with a gorgeous layout. I also love the sleeves, even if they seem a bit more 1910s than Regency.
Fanny’s Silver & Black Spencer
A classic Regency bad girl look! Pale silvery lavender spencer with amazing metallic embroidered standing collar, over a solid? black gown.
Fanny’s Green & Red Gown
Another great use of a sari. I like how they’ve laid out the saris in interesting ways in this film, rather than just plomped them obviously.
Fanny’s Lavender Pelisse
Lucy is ho-hum, except for her one amazing spencer.
Lucy’s White Gown
At first I was going to call foul on the parasol, thinking it was switching to black and white, when I realized it’s just whether they’re shooting the underside or overside.
Lucy’s Striped White Evening Dress
Her one ass-kicking garment, hence way too many screencaps:
Lucy’s Lavender Evening Gown
A lavender gown with a sheer overlayer.
Lucy’s Printed Stripe Day Dress
Possibly the first gown worn under the spencer?
Lucy’s Lavender Day Dress
Possibly the second gown worn under the spencer?
Which are your favorites from Fanny and Lucy’s wardrobes?