The Worth Gown From 1899 (2022)
Netflix just dropped the first season of 1899 (2022), a dark thriller that has garnered comparisons to everything from The X-Files to Lost. What caught my attention, however, were the costumes (duh). While 1899 definitely has supernatural and science fiction elements, the costumes are surprisingly grounded in the last year of the 19th century. And not only that, they’re really good. I sat down to watch the first two episodes to figure out if it was worth watching all the way to the end for the plot, but was blown away by the quality and research of the costuming for characters from all over the globe, and from all walks of life. Bina Daigeler, the series costume designer, is well-versed in historical costume, and has worked on a number of other frock flicks, such as Mrs. America (2020), Mulan (2020), and The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)
But honestly, I’m really here to discuss one gown in particular today.
Can you spot it?
I am, of course, referring to this gown, worn by the character Virginia Wilson (Rosalie Craig).
It looks to be a pretty faithful repro of this House of Worth gown from 1897, from the collection at the Palais Galliera in Paris. The original is a voided velvet in deep blue on an acid green satin ground. Worth made a number of gowns in this motif and in different colorways, but the green one is by far the most striking.
Of course the camera never shows the gown up close in any good detail. My friends and I have been speculating the last few days over how the fabric was reproduced… was it flocked? Appliqued? Custom woven?
I finally got a good shot of the bodice by watching the making-of documentary:
I’m reasonably certain that the design is printed in black on green taffeta. It’s so hard to make out in the show itself, but this still from the documentary shows how flat the design is on the surface of the fabric. It’s also not an exact copy of the original motif. There are subtle tweaks to include triangles, which have a special significance in the show and occur in everyone’s costumes in some way or another.
There are many other gorgeous outfits in the show so far, so stay tuned for another post that digs into the particulars!
Are you watching 1899 (2022)? Tell us your thoughts about it in the comments!