The Forsyte Saga (2002) short review


This wasn’t my favorite, by any stretch of the imagination, British TV costume miniseries, but it’s still worth a watch. A very complicated tale telling the interweaving stories of various members of the Forsyte family. I think my big stumbling block was Gina McKee as Irene — she just doesn’t work for me. Lots of people are excited about the bustle gowns, but I don’t think they’re that remarkable. Worth a watch but don’t expect greatness.


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.

4 Responses

  1. Veronica

    Yes. Gina McGee was a terrible casting choice. I have re-watched it and still don’t get it. She is passive to the point of comatose. Let’s face it, she is a character actress and the constant mention of her beauty stumps me.

  2. Melissa

    I actually really enjoyed this series because of the costumes. Individually, there isnt much to get excited about, but I really loved how they showed the passage of time with the costumes, hats, and hair. I had no trouble figuring out how much time was passing. I feel like not enough period dramas show the differences between the bustle eras (with some 1890s at the end!) Of course, I might be biased given how annoyed I was that the 2019 Little Women didn’t show the passage of time in the same way.

    Also, in defense of Irene, her “great passivity” is presented as her greatest virtue in the novel. I thought it made for an interesting contrast for how she is with Soames vs Bossiney/Jolyon. I also liked that one of her gowns was based off of the portrait of Madame X. The costume designer was really making an effort.

  3. Scott Cannady

    The men’s clothes, especially the bohemian looks of Joelyn and the young architect. The green shirt, gold tie and deconstructed linen jackets were fantastic. I apologize in advance if this is a forum just for the costumes of the female characters.