Costume Designer Nic Ede: The Frock Flicks Guide

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All I know about English costume designer Nic Ede is his first credit was in the costume department on Monty Python’s The Life of Brian (1979); he frequently works with costumer Raïssa Hans, who I adore ever since I interviewed her; and with one major exception, I really like his work! Let’s run down his frock flicks resume:

The Madness Museum (1986)

A black comedy about a doctor working in a mental asylum in 1860.

1986 The Madness Museum

Shitty screencap is shitty.

 

A World Apart (1988)

A young South African girl deals with her parents’ disappearance in 1963.

1988 A World Apart

Barbara Hershey as the mother, Jodhi May as the daughter.

 

Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

The Manhattan Project, the secret wartime project in New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were designed and built.

1989 Fat Man and Little Boy

John Cusack, Paul Newman…

1989 Fat Man and Little Boy

Natasha Richardson looks appropriately 1940s!

1989 Fat Man and Little Boy

Seaforth (1994)

A love story about two working-class Yorkshire people, set in 1943.

1994 Seaforth

Her bangs look suspiciously 1980s | Starstock/Photoshot

1994 Seaforth

Linus Roache is always cute!

 

Wilde (1997)

The biopic of Oscar Wilde starring Stephen Fry.

Vanessa Redgrave, Wilde (1997)

Vanessa Redgrave looking beautifully arty!

Wilde (1997)

NOTHING wrong with a man in a cream suit.

Wilde (1997)

That lingerie dress on Jennifer Ehle!

Jennifer Ehle, Wilde (1997)

Gah, I LOVE BLACK AND WHITE — especially satin!

Wilde (1997)

Every person crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man!

 

Far from the Madding Crowd (1998)

A TV adaptation of the 1874 Thomas Hardy novel.

1998 Far from the Madding Crowd

Set in rural England, hence all the hair?

1998 Far from the Madding Crowd

Looking past the hair, that looks like an appropriate outfit for a lower class girl.

1998 Far from the Madding Crowd

Photo by ITV/Shutterstock

1998 Far from the Madding Crowd

Never put bonnets over long hair! Instant derp!

 

Dash and Lilly (1999)

A biopic about writers Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman in the 1940s-50s.

Dash and Lilly (1999)

Photo by ITV/Shutterstock

Dash and Lilly (1999)

This is very noir!

 

The Lady in Question (1999)

A story about a Jewish Rights advocate who may have been killed by Nazis in 1938; Gene Wilder plays the detective who investigates.

1999 The Lady in Question

I can’t find a better pic!

 

Lorna Doone (2000)

An adaptation of the 17th-century-set romantic novel.

2000 Lorna Doone

It’s not ATROCIOUS, but it’s not good…

2000 Lorna Doone

Looking past her hair, this is decent for average-person 17th-century wear…

2000 Lorna Doone

Spectacles? Really?

2000 Lorna Doone

I’m guessing there’s some English Civil War drama?

 

Bright Young Things (2003)

An adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel Vile Bodies, about the young and fashionable set in 1920s Britain.

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS, Fenella Woolgar, 2003

Fenella Woolgar rocking the menswear look.

Michael Sheen, Bright Young Things (2003)

Michael Sheen at a fancy dress party, working the genderqueer costume.

Bright Young Things (2003)

More costume party.

David Tennant, 2003, Bright Young Things

David Tennant‘s hair is PERFECT for the period, and I’m loving those lapels.

2004 Bright Young Things

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot (2004)

A TV miniseries. The first half is about Mary, Queen of Scots; the second is about her son, James I. We’ve mocked it endlessly and for good reason. I can only assume there was less than zero budget.

2004 Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot

Floating ruffs; pin-tucked dupioni.

Catherine McCormack in Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot (2004)

If I overlook THE HAIR … Queen Elizabeth I at least has a partlet with her ruff?

Gunpowder Treason Plot

Ohhh my favorite! CLEARLY not made for Clemence.

Gunpowder Treason and Plot

Decent use of sari fabric.

2004 Gunpowder, Treason & Plot

King James I and Anne of Denmark. She lost her partlet.

2004 Gunpowder, Treason & Plot

I like her hair and standing ruff! I hate this dress fabric!

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot (2004)

Trystan can’t stand these fabrics.

 

Nanny McPhee (2005)

Emma Thompson plays a nanny in this comic film set in late-19th-century England.

2005 Nanny McPhee

Kelly Macdonald looks pretty in her girly dress.

2005 Nanny McPhee

The costumes are purposefully super bright to suit the comic tone.

 

Allegiance (2005)

The meeting between the Irish Republican Michael Collins and Winston Churchill.

2005 Allegiance

Me and Orson Welles (2008)

In 1937, a teenager is cast in a theater production of “Julius Caesar,” directed by a young Orson Welles.

2008 Me and Orson Welles

Claire Danes looks pretty in her black and white blouse!

2008 Me and Orson Welles

 

Hysteria (2011)

A doctor invents the first vibrator to treat “hysterical” women in late-19th-century Britain.

2011 Hysteria

Hugh Dancy looks gooood in that high starched collar

2011 Hysteria

Providing treatment under a paisley shawl.

Hysteria (2011)

Rupert Everett is, of course, hot AF.

2011 Hysteria

Felicity Jones looks sweet in ruffles.

2011 Hysteria

And actually wears a bonnet well!

2011 Hysteria

Maggie Gyllenhaal is a progressive woman.

2011 Hysteria

Okay, this is TOO modern, but they’re trying to show Gyllenhaal’s character being “modern.” Sigh.

2011 Hysteria

This is MUCH better!

 

Summer in February (2013)

An artists’ colony in Cornwall, set during the 1910s (I think?).

2013 Summer in February

Her suit is great! And Dominic Cooper‘s knickers.

2013 Summer in February

Nice layering.

2013 Summer in February

Ooo great artists’ smock!

 

The White Queen (2013)

A miniseries about Queen Elizabeth Woodville and the Wars of the Roses.

2013 The White Queen

Nice use of linen fabrics.

2013 The White Queen

Some of the dresses seem too pared-down (let’s not even get into the hair).

2013 The White Queen

Ditto.

2013 The White Queen

Lovely veil!

2013 The White Queen

Then other dresses look great, to my not-an-expert-in-this-period eye!

2013 The White Queen
2013 The White Queen

I hope that’s silk velvet, but I’m feeling rayon…

2013 The White Queen

Janet McTeer‘s hair rocks!

Aneurin Barnard, The White Queen (2013)

A padded jerkin? doublet? thing? for Aneurin Barnard aka Frodo.

2013 The White Queen

Hennin alert!

The White Queen (2013) - Margaret Anjou

I’m not a huge fan of the pearls…

2013 The White Queen

Appropriately regal coronation look!

2013 The White Queen

Armor experts: discuss.

2013 The White Queen

That hat is OTT! I think it’s supposed to be a bourrelet?

 

Indian Summers (season 1, 2015)

Various lives intersect in 1930s colonial India.

Indian Summers (2015)

The costumes are perfectly suited to the characters and period.

Indian Summers (2015)

Glam dresses contrast with rural India.

2015 Indian Summers

There’s glamorous parties!

2015 Indian Summers

Cute daywear!

Indian Summers (2015)

Amazing sparkles!

Indian Summers (2015)

PUPPIES

Indian Summers (2015)

People of color!

2015 Indian Summers

Hot making out!

2015 Indian Summers

Gorgeous saris!

 

Close to the Enemy (2016)

Set just after World War II, a German scientist helps the British develop jet planes.

2016 Close to the Enemy

This is very cute, both the print and hat.

2016 Close to the Enemy

Fur was a Thing in this period!

2016 Close to the Enemy

Great hat!

2016 Close to the Enemy

Angela Basset looking amazing! That embroidery! That hair!

2016 Close to the Enemy

Green sparkles!

World on Fire (2019-)

A TV series set during World War II, about ordinary people.

World on Fire

Great hair, excellent sweater!

World on Fire (2019)

A nicely done uniform.

2019 World on Fire

Maternity wear!

2019 World on Fire

Decent.

2019 World on Fire

Someone else needs to rate the uniforms. We don’t know.

2019 World on Fire

(C) Mammoth Screen – Photographer: Gareth Gatrell

Flowers in the Attic: the Origin (2022)

An adaptation of several VC Andrews books, about a seriously messed up family in 1910s-50s Virginia. We’ll have a review very soon!

2022 Flowers in the Attic- the Origin

1910s suits on the gents.

2022 Flowers in the Attic- the Origin

The perfect ingenue of the late 1910s.

2022 Flowers in the Attic- the Origin

Beautiful 1910s lingerie dress.

2022 Flowers in the Attic- the Origin

1930s teenagers.

 

 

What’s your favorite of Nic Ede’s frock flicks work?

11 Responses

  1. Aleko

    I think the ‘supposed to be a bourrelet?’ headdress in The White Queen is channelling the Portrait of a Grotesque Old Woman by Quinten Matsys:
    https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/quinten-massys-an-old-woman-the-ugly-duchess
    – in which case it’s about 30 years adrift of period.

    Not sure if I’ve said this before on this site, but in that still of Elizabeth Woodville at her coronation, one of her ‘sceptres’ is actually a modern British field-marshal’s baton with the figure of St George slaying the Dragon knocked off. I mean that literally; somebody has just taken a hammer and knocked it off, and not even bothered to file down the broken bit of dragon that was left. This is what it would look like with St George left on: https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/prince-charles-prince-of-wales-holds-the-field-marshal-news-photo/500940914?adppopup=true

    And, BTW, the battle action that takes place in Lorna Doone isn’t the English Civil War but the Monmouth Rebellion (in which the Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of the deceased King Charles II, landed in the West Country and stirred up the locals to try to overthrow James II and make him king instead), about a generation later.

    Reply
  2. Lily

    Hm. The costumes in White Queen are so … problematic … that it’s making me really wonder about the rest of the oeuvre. Most importantly, the belted houppelande is in NO way equivalent to the 60s-70s era empire waist that Gunny Sax used a lot. That said, it’s not nearly as common, well understood, or well documented as later periods. (And while I’ve done a lot of 15th century northern European costuming, there are really very few surviving examples, so it’s possible (unlikely! but possible) that I’m wrong.)

    Reply
  3. Brandy Loutherback

    The costumes look surprisingly good in Flowers in The Attic: The Origin. Especially for a lifetime miniseries!

    Reply
  4. Cynthia Virtue

    I expect all-silk velvet exists somewhere, but not at the price points I shop at. Usually what’s available for under $100/yd is part-silk only (and not specified until you find the tiny tiny print.) Alas.

    Reply
  5. Al Don

    The thumbnail is a Philippa Gregory adaptation. Have you no consideration for my blood pressure?

    You mentioned the armour in the The White Queen (2013) and to my eye: offensive on a visceral level. For a king, or even a noble of any kind: woefully under-armoured. By this point, mirror polished full Gothic plate armour was the fashion for nobles. He wears his family’s emblem on his single pauldron (by shape it’s not a spaulder so it just looks like a failed pauldron) which wasn’t a thing. Visual references show ornate tabards displaying coats of arms worn over the armour. (Tabards seem to be replacing joupons by this period.)

    That aside, I love some this designer’s other work – such as Wilde (1997) – so there’s that.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      The thumbnail is a Philippa Gregory adaptation. Have you no consideration for my blood pressure?

      AHAHHAHAHAHAH

      Reply
  6. Lily Lotus Rose

    What a career!!! This post was a treat. I like much of what I see here even in some of the cringeworthy films. And there’s lots more I want to see now. Of course it’s always fun to spot the British actors from this, that, this, that, and on and on, and that was a delight of this post. In answer to your question, I guess I’ll go with Bright Young Things as my fave film here. It’s a fun movie adapted from a fun and wierd book and features so many actors I like. (A young and adorable James McAvoy is in the film, all too briefly I’m afraid.)

    Reply

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