More From The Cook of Castamar

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I said I’d try to keep watching The Cook of Castamar (2021), the 1720-set Spanish miniseries on Netflix. I’m surprised to say I’ve gotten semi-sucked into the story, although I am eye-rolling at a few plot devices. I’m not surprised to say the costumes continue to not be 1720s, and many continue to suck.

Clara, the cook, gets some Actual Clothes — specifically, this jacket which would be fine if not for the asymmetrical closure:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Note pocket worn on the outside, which is something seen in period images of lower-class women.

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Clara still spends most of her time in her stays, which seems ridiculous, although I do like the cut of the stays and the seam binding — it’s very 18th century:

2021 The Cook of Castamar
Stays, 1660-80, Victoria & Albert Museum

Compare them to the back of these: Stays, 1660-80, Victoria & Albert Museum

I am, however, impressed that the servants ALWAYS have neat, tidy hairstyles AND wear caps. There was even a scene where Clara is called to go upstairs, and she’s hanging out in her room cap-less, so she puts on her cap before going up.

2021 The Cook of Castamar

I particularly like this cap with its embroidery.

Mom’s dresses continue to be clunky, and I’m constantly distracted by her Steampunk fascinators:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Various characters wear what appear to be brooches in their hair in lieu of tiaras or other hair ornaments:

2021 The Cook of Castamar
2021 The Cook of Castamar

I feel like this wig (on the queen) was done by whoever did the wigs for Maria Theresia

Speaking of jewelry, a brooch that supposedly has belonged to every duchess of Castamar for centuries is brought out, and it’s totally an AliExpress special:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

The Brooch of Castamar(TM)

And the hair, particularly Amelia’s, is BAD:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Maybe they think it’s 1900-ish??

Elisabeth Farnese (1692-1766), wife of Philippe V and Queen of Spain by Giovanni Maria delle Piane, 1700-49, Palace of Caserta

Because it doesn’t look the least bit 1720s | Elisabeth Farnese (1692-1766), wife of Philippe V and Queen of Spain by Giovanni Maria delle Piane, 1700-49, Palace of Caserta

Lavinia, Countess Spencer, née Bingham (1762-1831), in mauve dress with white frilled collar, powdered upswept hair, by Samuel Shelley (auctioned by Christie's), 1780, Gogmsite.net

It’s not even 1780s, which is what they are clearly going for | Lavinia, Countess Spencer, née Bingham (1762-1831), in mauve dress with white frilled collar, powdered upswept hair by Samuel Shelley (auctioned by Christie’s), 1780 | Gogmsite.net

All of the gowns continue to be not-1720. Let’s pick on Amelia a bit:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

With weird Edwardian Venice lace trim.

2021 The Cook of Castamar

This was okay, in that it was more like a court gown (see Elisabeth Farnese above) than the mid- to late-18th century they’re usually in.

Robe volante, 1720-30, Palais Galliera

If they’re keeping up with the French, they’d be wearing something like this: Robe volante, 1720-30, Palais Galliera

Figures de modes by Antoine Watteau, c. 1720, Bunka Gakuen Library

Or a mantua | Figures de modes by Antoine Watteau, c. 1720, Bunka Gakuen Library

Jacket, 1715 - 1720, Catalonia, Museu del Disseny de Barcelona

Or something like this jacket and petticoat ensemble I talked about last time | Dress, c. 1718, Catalonia, Museu del Disseny de Barcelona

2021 The Cook of Castamar

This dress! I think it’s a crappy anglaise? At first I thought the lighter section in back was a trick of the light on changeable taffeta.

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Nope, it really is white in the center. WHY.

My favorite moment is when Amelia is going to have a new dress made. The tailor brings out some fabric, which everyone is super excited about because it’s an “indienne”! Indiennes are super fashionable but scarce! Their import is banned! This is actually historically accurate, except, “indiennes” are printed cottons from India. The fabric the tailor displays, and eventually makes a dress from, is totally a woven brocade.

2021 The Cook of Castamar

I squinted a lot in the low light, but…

2021 The Cook of Castamar

THAT’S A WOVEN BROCADE.

Here are two examples of actual printed cottons made in India for export to Europe from this period:

Fragment, late 17th century, Coromandel Coast, Victoria & Albert Museum

Fragment, late 17th century, Coromandel Coast, Victoria & Albert Museum

Dress or Furnishing Fabric, Dress or Furnishing Fabric ca. 1715-1725, Coromandel Coast, Victoria & Albert Museum

Dress or Furnishing Fabric, ca. 1715-1725, Coromandel Coast, Victoria & Albert Museum

Actual robes à la française are worn, which are at least vaguely more period (being 1740s-60s) than the fitted-back dresses we also see (which are 1770s-80s):

2021 The Cook of Castamar

And, this is the wider back pleats that you’d see in the 1740s when the française first came into style, so, it’s better than the narrower/later ones!

2021 The Cook of Castamar

This sucker was DIRE on screen. DIRE.

There was one cute redingote, although it’s about 60 years too early for the style and it’s a rewear from Poldark:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Pretty satin! Just, it’s a 1780s style.

Poldark.

As worn by Caroline in season 3 of Poldark.

The bearded men continue to read as SO CHEESY to me:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Especially the Marquis de Soto, since his hair is always long, lustrous, wavy, and uncontained. Note shitty bib instead of cravat.

2021 The Cook of Castamar

The Count of Armiño should be slaying me, but I just keep thinking “ROMANCE NOVEL ALERT”

Which is honestly too bad, because these two are major hotties by modern standards:

Hugo Silva

Hugo Silva! Let me tell you about my fetish for bearded Mediterranean men.

Maxi Iglesias

Maxi Iglesias. Not related to Julio or Enrique.

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Cheezoid!

The duke of Castamar gets an actual “powdered” wig … with a totally obvious lace front:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Someone forgot to trim the lace.

The duke’s brother, Gabriel, paints a portrait of Amelia and it’s one of the shittier historical portraits I’ve seen on screen:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

It’s both a Paint by Numbers AND a southern belle romance novel cover!

Plot-wise … I’m glad that they are showing non-straight characters, and also that they are showing the kind of social conflict being queer would bring in an era of forced heterosexuality:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

I like that there’s a well-off character who’s Black, and again, they are showing how that’s a complicated thing to be in this period/location:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

Gabriel was adopted into the Castamar family.

I can’t stand the whole “I went out in the rain, now I am at death’s door” plot device:

2021 The Cook of Castamar

I’m not saying hypothermia or exposure aren’t things, just, this is such a trope from before-modern-germ-theory.

There’s still a few episodes left, I’ll report back once I’ve finished the series!

 

Are you watching The Cook of Castamar? How are you feeling about it?

3 Responses

  1. Aleko

    “I’m not saying hypothermia or exposure aren’t things, just, this is such a trope from before-modern-germ-theory.”

    Well, to be fair, when people didn’t know about modern germ theory, or brucellosis, or exactly how illnesses such as yellow fever are transmitted, they did cast around for explanations which to us seem absurd – ‘he didn’t change his stockings after getting his feet wet!’ (a standard explanation for illness and death in the letters of Jane Austen’s family) or ‘she slept with her window open!’

    Reply
    • Kendra

      Oh totally, so if it’s in a period novel, it makes perfect sense. But this is based on a historical novel written by a modern author!

      Reply
  2. Damnitz

    Too many beards and ugly cravates to my taste. The mix of clothing from all decades of the 18th century are typical for such productions. Thank you for writing about the series nevertheless.

    Do you write about “Delicious” too?

    Reply

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