WCW: Alison Elliott


Alison Elliott got a lot of attention for (modern-set) The Spitfire Grill (1996), and a lot of MY attention for The Wings of the Dove, in which she plays the earnest American heiress who contrasts with Helena Bonham Carter‘s character. She hasn’t done enough period films, and hasn’t done enough work — her IMDB resume goes through 2017, but it’s mostly been smaller stuff recently. Nonetheless, I heart her red-headed-ness ever so much, so she’s my Woman Crush Wednesday!


Wyatt Earp (1994)

A western with Kevin Costner as the famous lawman. Elliott plays Lou(isa), the wife of Earp’s brother Morgan.

1994 Wyatt Earp

Churnin’ that Western butter!


The Buccaneers (1995)

Elliott plays conventional older sister Nan, who marries an English aristocrat who doesn’t love her. While I think she’s great in the role, she’s not one of the characters who appeal to me — but that’s because she responds to a loveless marriage by getting pinchy and bitchy.

The Buccaneers (1995)

Lovely stripes for a depressing situation!

The Buccaneers (1995)

I could never get excited about a guy with that hairline.

1995 The Buccaneers

Young and hopeful!

1995 The Buccaneers

God these gowns are gorgeous!

The Wings of the Dove (1997)

The reason I love Alison Elliott! She plays Milly, the uber-rich American heiress who nonetheless manages to be kind, loving, and unpretentious. It helps that she’s got a mysterious illness and is unrequited in love.

2007 The Wings of the Dove

She’s ultra fashionable.

The Wings of the Dove (1997)

But bohemian.

Dressed for Carnevale. That looks like assuit, a Middle Eastern fabric made of cotton or linen fabric woven with metal that was super popular in the 1920s. I’m guessing her costume is “Spanish,” given the comb and veil? Or is it “Venetian”?


The Miracle Worker (2000)

She plays teacher Anne Sullivan, who teaches (a way-too-cute) Helen Keller American Sign Language (and much more).

2000 The Miracle Worker

She definitely has the right look for the 1880s.

2000 The Miracle Worker

Sorry, Helen Keller should not look this precious.


The Song of the Lark (2001)

An adaptation of a Willa Cather novel, in which a country girl is torn between the piano and singing.

2001 The Song of the Lark

REALLY hard to find any pics of this.

2001 The Song of the Lark

The best I could do, sorry!


Red Betsy (2003)

“A close-knit Midwestern farm family deals with loss, change, and social progress during the 1940’s” per IMDB.

2003 Red Betsy

Elliott looks great with dark hair!


The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Another western, this time about Jesse James (Brad Pitt). Elliott plays Martha Bolton, the widowed sister of Robert Ford.

2007 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Ugh, too many westerns!


Why isn’t there more Alison Elliott in historical costume??!!


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.

2 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    My favourite is The Wings of the Dove. Costumes by her holiness, Sandy Powell, acting with Ms Elliott are HBC, Gayle Honeycutt and Linus Roche.

  2. A Reader

    “Wings of the Dove” was the first movie that I ever actually noticed what the people were wearing. Before that, I paid no attention at all. Costume? Design? Never even considered how it was decided what they wore.

    That movie made me sit up and pay attention.