New Year, New Historical Costume Movie/TV Trailers!


Time to see what’s coming up in the new year! Dates are for U.S. release, and you can always check our Upcoming Movies page for more.



The Aspern Papers (Jan. 11)

Adaptation of a Henry James novel, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson, set in 1885 Venice. Costumes by Birgit Hutter.


Victoria: season 3 (Jan. 13 on PBS)

Season 3 of Queen Victoria’s reign. Costumes by Rosalind Ebbutt.


Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story (Jan. 19 on Lifetime)

Christina Ricci stars in a TV movie as the 19th-century journalist who exposed mistreatment of asylum patients in New York. Costumes by Joanna Syrokomla.


Sonja: The White Swan (Jan. 29)

Biopic about athelete turned actress Sonja Henie. Costumes by Lorna Marie Mugan and Lena Mossum.



The ABC Murders (Feb. 1 on Amazon)

John Malkovich plays Poirot in this 1930s TV mystery. Costumes by Lindsay Pugh.



The Aftermath (March 15)

A British woman (Keira Knightley) joins her husband in Hamburg in the immediate aftermath of WWII. Costumes by Bojana Nikitovic.


Dumbo (March 29)

“A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus. But when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.” If Kendra watches this, she will cry. Costumes by Colleen Atwood.


Mrs. Wilson (March 31 on PBS)

A mid-century woman finds out her recently deceased husband was a bigamist. Costumes by Lorna Marie Mugan.



Peterloo (April 5)

“A drama based on events surrounding the 1819 Peterloo Massacre where British forces fired on a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester.” Costumes by Jacqueline Durran.


Les Misérables (April 14 on PBS)

Non-singing BBC miniseries based on Victor Hugo’s novel. Costumes by Marianne Agertoft.



Downton Abbey (Sept. 20)

The Crawley clan are coming to the big screen!


Sometime in 2019

Elisa y Marcela

The story of the first same-sex marriage in Spain to take place after the Roman Imperial era, which occurred on June 8, 1901. Costumes by Mercè Paloma.


The Spanish Princess

Another Philippa Fucking Gregory TV miniseries adaption on Starz, this one’s about Catherine of Aragon. Costumes by Phoebe de Gaye.


Vita and Virginia

The love affair between socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West and literary icon Virginia Woolf. Costumes by Lorna Marie Mugan.


Which historical costume film/series are you most excited about?


About the author



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.

36 Responses

  1. Gail

    What is the title image (the first picture) from?
    Hoping some of these movies/shows will be worth watching …. costumes and otherwise.

  2. Susan Pola Staples

    Les Miserables, Vita and Virginia, and Downton are the ones I’m looking forward to seeing. Others include The Aspern Papers, maybe Dumbo (Colleen Atwood) and perhaps Sonja. I’ll wait for Amazon to stream Elisa y Marcela for their captions.

  3. India

    ‘Peterloo’ is the one I’m particularly looking forward to. Since it’s based on a working class tragedy the costumes aren’t likely to be very exciting but it’s an important piece of history that needs to be told ……. unlike yet another re-imagining (ie completely fictionalised) retelling of the stories of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth of England. Plus all the reports I’ve heard about it are excellent.

    • Lynne Connolly

      I agree, looking forward to that one. I’m a Mancunian, and I used to work close to the site of Peterloo. Interesting trivia – the authorities built a concert hall, the Free Trade Hall on the site of Peterloo, and that’s where the Sex Pistols appeared in their seminal concert. So there’s something about that site and rebellion!

    • Liz Merrick

      I read about Peterloo in a short passage in a biography of George IV (who needs his own film- what a doofus!). It was basically a footnote, so I’ll be glad to learn more about it. (It helps to have a movie to spark your interest to do more research)

  4. Myra Cowan

    Could you review Mathilde:the affair to break an empire? I would love to see what you think of the costumes.

  5. Lynne Connolly

    Of the ones I’ve seen in the UK:
    I loved the ABC Murders, but purists might object. I thought Malkovich made a wonderful alternative Poirot.
    Les Miserables is a masterpiece. It’s currently running over here, and we’re at Episode 3. I’m not a Victor Hugo fan, but it’s done so very well, and the sparks between Dominic West (Valjean) and Oyeowolo (Javert) are brilliant. Shout out to Olivia Colman, too.
    Mrs. Wilson was really good. Very different, and enthralling.

    I’m not interested in Dumbo, because There Is Only One, and The Spanish Princess can fuck right off. And I stopped watching Victoria a while back, because it was so boring, and there’s zero chemistry, and it’s inaccurate.

    • Nzie

      Glad to hear good things about Les Mis! I also love Olivia Coleman (so glad to see her getting so many interesting parts!) and the clips of David Oyewolo as Javert are electrifying.

    • shellieeyre

      I agree about The ABC Murders and Les Miserables. Ruth Wilson in Mrs Wilson, is actually playing her own grandmother!

  6. Saraquill

    I’m still cross how one movie purported to premier last year, “Elisabeth,” didn’t. As for the movies above, I”m most eager to see Frock Flicks take them on.

  7. picasso Manu

    ABC because I’m curious on Malkovitch take on Poirot, Downton Abbey because, and the Aspern papers ’cause 1885 Venice sounds fascinating. Philippa Fucking Gregory can go to Historic Hell… And I’m a bit anxious about les Misérables, because that book I love doesn’t translate well to film, usually.

    On another subject: Anybody else saw Victoria’s crown on Aliexpress, or am I the only one?

  8. broughps

    I can already tell The ABC Murders would have me screaming at the screen. John M as Poirot? No, just no.

    • Boxermom

      Completely agree. I was yelling at the movie screen when I saw Murder on the Kenneth Branagh Express. To me, David Suchet will always be Poirot.

      • Donnalee

        We saw the Branagh before the Suchet, and at the time Branagh was fine. Now there can be only one, and it is David Suchet. We’re still trying to buy old dvds of his series since we missed many.

        • Boxermom

          I have “Peril At End House” on DVD. To this day,still my favorite (one of Polly Walker’s earlier roles). Cheers! :)

          • Donnalee

            I haven’t seen that yet. We bought some ‘ultimate’ set which has a dozen episodes, and then got some few shorter episodes on dvds, and have yet to find a big giant set that covers all 70 bases. I am hoping!

      • broughps

        Absolutely. David Suchet is Poirot. Just like Jeremy Brett will always be (the historical) Sherlock Holmes.

      • Boxermom

        My problem with the movie was not so much the absence of David Suchet as the fact that they turned Poirot into an action hero (engaging in fisticuffs,etc.). Poirot used ” the little gray cells” to solve crimes. I usually like Kenneth Branagh and went to see this because of him. :)

  9. mmcquown

    All this costuming can go to one’s head. On a recent Graham Norton show, Nicholas Holt, Olivia Colman, and Kiera Knightley were talking about wigs, and had brought a few from “The Favourite.” Knightley, due to get her OBE this month, told of a wig that was so heavy that ultimately it was suspended on wires and she stood in it to do scenes.

  10. Keith Fraser

    Several of these have already come out here in the UK – The ABC Murders was shown over 3 nights just after Christmas (as part of the BBC’s few-years-old tradition of doing a “darker and edgier” Agatha Christie adaptation every Christmas). It was pretty good, but a very different take on Poirot from the usual, which might annoy purists. I personally liked it, but not as much as the cracking And Then There Were None from a few years ago (I’d never read the book or seen any other adaptation, and I loved the “twist”).

    Peterloo was released in cinemas a few months ago and had mixed reviews, if I remember correctly – the depiction of the titular massacre was praised, but the overall story was criticized as too “talky”. One online commenter quipped “Peterloo – I couldn’t escape, but I wanted to”.

    Les Miserables is currently showing on Sunday nights, and has been pretty good so far – it expands a great deal on parts of the book that are rushed past in the musical, and definitely leans into the “poverty sucks” theme of the novel. It has both Javert and Thenardier played by non-white actors, which is interesting (Javert is played by David Oyelowo, who has been in some other historical films like A United Kingdom).

  11. Sam Marchiony

    I saw the trailer for Aftermath while I was waiting to watch Vox Lux, and I was incredibly confused by what was going on in the trailer. There’s not giving away too much of the plot, and then there’s making the story incomprehensible.
    Also, it featured some peak clompy Keira, which made me go nOPE.

  12. Nzie

    I’m most interested in Les Mis and Peterloo. I can just tell from the Dumbo trailer it’s going to be a sob fest… probably wait until Netflix for that one.

    Conversely I look at Aspern Papers and am just meh. The actual novella sounds interesting; based on the trailer I’m not sure this isn’t another example of the idea that sex = characterization. Sex can be part of characterization, but that takes more skill than your average “isn’t this sexy” scene. It’s honestly not titillating or story-furthering most of the time lately.

    • Natalie

      If you’re team sexy doesn’t mean characterisation I think some of les mis may disappoint you ecpessily in regards to Eponine.

  13. Nzie

    I have another film for you to add—just read that that Tolkien biopic starring Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins has gotten a release date of May 10.

  14. Natalie

    The Les Mis adaptation is quite disappointing both from a story perspective but most importantly from a costume perspective, for example are none of Cosettes dress sleves supported properly.

  15. Damnitz

    Peterloo – just to see David Bamber again.

    I think the best historical film of the year is/was “L’échange des princesses” although the costumes were not really good.
    But I loved the story and the camera did a stunning work.
    Perhaps Lambert Wilson was a bit too much angry and I prefered the young actor who played Louis XV. The regent was completely strange … after Philippe Noiret, who was the regent for two films, there is no Chance to do it better, but here the regent is just a old boring man.
    Nevertheless a great film.

    And hey! A French major production WITHOUT Dépardieu! What is not to like? (OK Dominique Blanc as Madame Ventadour would capture the whole film ;-) )