You all — especially our Patreon supporters, whose requests we take very seriously! — have been asking for an in-depth review of The Duchess (2008) for a while now, but I’ll admit to being overwhelmed by the prospect. There’s a ton to unpack, both in terms of plot and character, but also in terms of costumes, costumes, costumes — designed by Michael O’Connor. Luckily Trystan came up with a great idea, which is that I discuss the film one costume at a time. So, here’s a new series: The Duchess Deep Dive, in which I will go through the movie, one costume at a time, focusing on those worn by the principle female characters. I’ll be talking about the costume itself, as well as hair, makeup, and accessories, both how they work in the film and how they compare to real fashion of the 1770s-80s.
For a quick overview of what I thought of the film, you can check out my short review. At some point in this process, I’ll take some time out to talk about how well they got the history right or not.
And now we come to it, probably the biggest dress in the movie: Georgiana’s wedding dress. Georgiana married the Duke of Devonshire on June 7, 1774. According to her biography by Amanda Foreman, “She wore a white and gold dress, with silver slippers on her feet and pearl drops in her hair.”
The style shown in the film is the robe à la française (in French), known as sacque or sack in England. It was a long established style and the dress to wear for a formal occasion.
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