We’re excited enough by Hulu’s comedic version of Catherine the Great that we’re recapping and podcasting the series. Pour yourself a cocktail, because we don’t expect to take The Great (2020) too seriously! Here’s our screencaps to follow along with our costume analysis in this week’s podcast. Catch up with previous episodes here.
Most of Catherine’s costumes from the first two eps were reused in these two eps, so more screencaps of Peter and secondary characters this time. Episode 3 opens with Catherine imagining her new Russia, post-whenever she gets rid of Peter. And wearing a pale green gown from before.
Promo pic shows fabric detail, also nice period hairstyle.
Meanwhile, Peter is prepping for a formal meeting with his military officers and getting fitted for a new outfit.
Love a tailoring scene, even if it further reveals that Peter is wearing modern long pants and boots. The show is inconsistent because some of the male courtiers are wearing 18th-c. styled knee breeches, hose, & shoes.
Grigor & Georgina are hanging around. Her dress is gorgeous, if only vaguely historical. The fabric has some crazy print & a sparkly sheen. Love the giant sleeve cuff.
Peter has hired a lover for Catherine, and everyone gets a show of his cock. The audience only gets to see his butt. Instead of implied animal abuse, these two episodes get about three sets of bare male butts and implied male frontal nudity. Yay?
Leo’s main outfit is this green leafy brocade waistcoat & a black shirt & pants. It sets him apart from the other male courtiers.
We’ve mentioned this in reference to the 16th-c. at court before, but it applies in the 18th-c. at court as well. There’s no reason to wear tall riding boots unless you are riding a horse or have just jumped off of a horse. Furthermore, this is an era when knee breeches were standard-issue for upper-class men at European courts, not just for servants. This is such a Hollywood-ism to make the leading men look “cool” by putting them in “relatable” modern long pants & tall boots.
Peter presents Leo, the new lover, as a gift to Cathy, who is not impressed. In fact, she and Orlov worry that the guy is a spy. Marial thinks he’s hot, and Cathy should bang Leo anyway. But she has other business to attend to with the court ladies. She’s giving them gifts of her own — new dresses!
Lady Svenska receives this lovely striped gown!
Guessing that the stomacher is fastened with hooks & eyes on the sides (historically it’d be pinned), but hey, it’s a TV show, that works & it’s better than back-lacing.
ALL TEA, ALL SHADE.
Peter & crazy auntie have a moment in front of the new statue of his dad. He’s feeling a bit inadequate (because he is, duh).
He’s wearing the new suit that was being made earlier. It’s gorgeous, but looks a bit more 19th-c. than 18th-c.
That blue velvet is STUN-NING on Nicholas Hoult. And great to finally have a clear shot of one of auntie’s fabulous gowns. Pity there’s some gaposis at her waist.
The court greets the returning military leaders.
OMG, that red dress Georgina has been wearing has a giant bow offset at the waist!
Catherine hears about Peter’s half-brother, Ivan, and asks auntie for the details.
This teal jacket looks like it’s made of ultrasuede & that with the silver buttons give it a rocker, moto-jacket vibe. Not sure if that really does anything for the character here tho’.
Then Cathy wears her peasant outfit for SO MUCH of the rest of this episode. Yes, she’s wearing a corset underneath and even refers to that fact. But it’s boring from a costume POV. Plot-wise, she talks a lot with Leo, her appointed lover, and then with Orlov about the coup, so sure casual clothes, whatev. Finally, after a lot of this, plus Peter being an idiot with his generals, Catherine’s tea dress joke pays off.
But first, let’s look at the crowd loitering around. Ladies in fur-decked dresses & gents in proper knee breeches, hose, & shoes; only the generals in boots.
Eh, back-lacing gowns on extras, to be expected. Also, the wigs look very wiggy.
Cute little tricorns are in abundance.
Then Lady Svenska enters the Empress’s tent & *ta da* everyone gets the joke. Except none of us do, and have to rewind this scene and the next to figure it out.
It’s a good joke. Should have taken longer, or lightened things, though.
Elle Fanning delivers shade so well in this episode.
Meanwhile, outside, Orlov has been trying to get the buy-in of Colonel Svenska in preparation for the coup. Orlov also has a spiffy new grey suit.
But the colonel’s wife getting humiliated by the empress means no dice.
Self-satisfied. This promo pic shows them all in shades of green, from Leo’s dark green velvet coat & green waistcoat to Cathy’s green jacket & auntie’s wild green print outfit.
Check out the bird-shaped mouche on auntie!
Next up is Peter’s big court presentation about his dad’s statue ‘n stuff. Everyone’s all turned out.
Georgina is wearing another red dress with a bow! Even bigger & crazier! It’s very wanna-be modern haute couture mixed with 18th century. (She was wearing this in the tent scene too, but it was barely visible.)
Their hairstyles are pleasantly historical, despite their gowns.
The blonde chick’s dress is trimmed in a very 16th- or 17th-c. fashion.
Catherine’s ‘imperial’ formal gown is kind of like her wedding gown in silhouette.
But something about it reads more 19th century than 18th.
Likewise, the cut of Peter’s coat isn’t quite of the period, although it’s gorgeous. Her cape is a very modern haute-couture thing.
Peter’s speech goes stabby, there’s a feast with fire dancing, Cathy decides to fuck Leo, and we close out the episode with a blood oath about the coup.
On to episode four, where the (false) rumor about Catherine fucking a horse becomes a running joke. “Neigh means neigh,” folks!
Leo is now wearing knee breeches. He also invents the Moscow Mule drink (there will be an actual mule). Cathy’s back in her peasant garb.
The patriarch of the Russian church has died, so Peter will need to choose a new one and he’s not thrilled about the task. Peter and Catherine send off the soldiers on his probably futile campaign.
Catherine notices Lady Svenska crying over her hubbi leaving for war & tries to make nice. It doesn’t go well. Note that Svenska is wearing purple again — it’s her color, & that’s why the striped dress joke worked on her.
Leo has a new pale blue coat. Cathy’s hair is down now that she’s getting fucked good.
Orlov thinks one of the patriarch candidates will be more pro-Catherine than the others and makes introductions. Good think she’s finally wearing a new dress.
This changeable pink-green brocade is really lovely, not that any screencap can represent it accurately.
Same style as all her gowns, but with self-fabric sleeve ruffles.
Peter interviews the patriarch candidates and one of them self-immolates.
The suit he’s wearing is off the hook — the cut is perfectly historical but the fabrics are wild, literally!
The coat is in a brown & black print that’s kind of an Ikat, reminiscent of an animal print. His cravat is similarly a geometric that looks like an animal print. We’re loving this wig – the curls are just right, and the touch of powder is perfection!
Back view shows the fabric a bit more.
Cathy tries to win over the ladies of the court by giving them each Faberge eggs and visiting them in their private quarters.
One of the ladies has a puppeh. Kendra shouts “PUPPY!” while watching alone.
Trystan suspects this new wave fop was planted as an Easter egg just for her. They probably went to high school together.
Peter parties with Leo, as you do with your wife’s lover, which Cathy notices and isn’t sure she’s thrilled about. But c’mon, none of this has been a picnic of her own choosing so deal with it, hon. Peter keeps on partying with his besties.
Since Peter & Grigor are in just shirts, Georgina’s just in her stays & a “shift.”
+1 for the spiral lacing, +5 for the fabric pattern matching, -1 for the hair, -5 for the pink T-shirt. It’s a wash.
Cathy gets invited to a tea dance by Lady Svenska and the ladies of the court. Yay!
Svenska & the ladies just want to chat. They’re being so nice!
Then they invite the empress to dance. It’s a hilarious scene, like a violent “Vogue.”
Catherine is wearing a repeat dress, suitably staid in comparison with the whackadoodle stuff the court ladies are wearing.
Cabbage-rose print gowns & pastel wigs, oh my!
Catherine isn’t up to this dance. But that provides a great view of these wild gowns.
Lady Svenska escorts the empress to the door wearing her trademark purple, with white & green.
Catherine has a good cry and some vodka with Leo and some sex. Auntie counsels her on how to properly deal with the court ladies.
Auntie is holding a salon where she’s giving a dramatic reading. She’s wearing a stunning male outfit, note the plum-colored hose.
Love all the ruffles, pleats, embroidery, & spangles on auntie’s coat.
She takes auntie’s advice at a party that night and impresses the ladies, including Svenska (although Catherine is still wearing her peasant outfit, which does not impress us).
Everyone else got the memo.
On the podcast, we give more detailed thoughts about the costumes — these screencaps are just for reference. So make sure to listen in.
We’ll be back in two weeks with episodes five & six!
The Great Episodes Three & Four, Podcast Recap
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Peter’s wigs are really gorgeous.
I think the imperial robe worn by Catherine has a very inaccurate bodice silhouette.Most of the extant examples show that the centre had a protruding busk,much like what she wore in the previous episode.Those sleeves were certainly meant to mimic the ruched sleeves,but I feel they are from a later period.It seems like they misinterpreted the ermine lined blue velvet cape thrown on one shoulder in royal portraits(was it really fashionable,or just an artistic pose to appear delicate?It comes up in so many portraits).
One thing that this show does get right,have your 18th century ensembles entirely in one fabric.Many shows make the actors wear pastel gowns with floral stomachers and petticoats(a gorgeous look to be honest)but even the extant examples show that the wealthy people had different petticoats and stomachers for their ensembles.Mostly jewelled stomachers were recycled.Atleast nobles would have splurged on clothing.Not that this show is trying for accuracy.
Wonder if the ikat suit is a reference to Uzbek silk ikat (though the suit is much less colorful and Uzbekistan wouldn’t have been part of the Russian empire at the time).
I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get the dress/curtain thing at first. I had to rewind and pause to see what was going on! Haha.
Was there more to the tent/dress joke than “hahaha I made you dress like the curtains”?
Yeah I don’t get it.
Maybe the joke is that the garment is cheap enough to make a tent with it. So the lady was so proud of her dress given by the queen, but in fact, it was the cheapest dress in the world (or it was perceived as such)