Why You Should Watch Original Sin (2001)


Original Sin (2001) just doesn’t get enough love from costumers, from what I can tell. Starring Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas, this film, set in the late 1870s, is one of those crosses and double-crosses type of stories. It’s a love story, but it’s also a con story, so I’m going to have a hard time convincing you to watch it without giving away important plot points. What you need to know is 1) it’s a great story, 2) the lead actors are convincing, 3) it’s satisfyingly smutty, and 4) it’s FULL of late 1870s natural-form fabulosity.

Before you say, “But Angelina and Antonio can be cheeseball” — they’re really quite good in this! Both of them are smokin’ hot and really well suited to their roles. Banderas is a wealthy Cuban coffee plantation owner, and Jolie is an American woman who travels to Cuba to marry him in a mail-order bride scenario. And then, things get WAY more complicated. Both of them have multiple levels to their characters, which go through some interesting twists and turns that bring new depths. Furthermore, I actually believe in the emotional connection between the two, and I actually tear up when I see the big final climax.

Now, I have to admit that I may be crazy, because most film reviewers thought this was lackluster. But I think they’re smokin’ crack, because really, both leads convinced me … and I’ve watched the movie multiple times!



One big plus (or minus, depending on your perspective) is that this a very erotic movie. Put the kids to bed before you start it up, because especially if you watch the unrated version (and really you should, although delicate flowers should know that the R-rated version omits all the smutty bits and so is safe to watch), Jolie and Banderas get DOWN to business quite explicitly. But as I said in my Top 10 Costume Movie Sex Scenes post, it’s done well and is quite (ahem) satisfying.

I think that the reason this film isn’t on most people’s radars is that lack of positive reviews from mainstream film critics, and due to the fact that it’s an “erotic thriller,” most of the images available are of Jolie and Banderas in their undies. To wit:


Porn, yes, but not costume porn!

So to make up for this fact, I actually sat down and screencapped all of Jolie’s main costumes (as she has the best wardrobe). I also did some deep digging and found that some of the costumes were later sold, so I’ve got a few photos from that. This film is chock-a-block with late 1870s natural-form goodness, as I hope to prove to you below.


Original Sin Costumes

Julia’s Arrival Suit

One of the few costumes from the movie that you can find many images of online, and it’s probably the most boring. I like the asymmetrical closure and that bonnet is fabulous, but otherwise, beige! Meh!


I do like how Jolie and Banderas’s costumes are the same color and so mirror each other.

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Great bonnet!



Julia’s Wedding Dress

Here’s where it starts to get good. Julia wears this for the wedding and also again to the theater. The bodice is relatively simple, but check out the layers and draping on the skirt and that long, long train … I love a totally impractical train!


At the wedding.


Backstage at the theater.

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Blurry, but there’s some interesting seaming on the bodice. And that color is great on her.

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Laced back closure. LOVE Jolie’s hairstyles in this!

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My favorite, I love the way the back of the skirt is gathered up.

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So lush!

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Julia’s White Cotton Dress

She wears this in two difference scenes. It’s fabulously summery and ruffley, and I love the addition of the colored bows (if one were to make a similar dress, one could have different colored sets of bows to mix things up!). This was listed on eBay, you can see pics of it in on a mannequin in the listing.


Censored to avoid spoilers. Again, LOVE that hair!




More ruffles!

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I adore the impracticality of a long train worn outdoors!

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Julia’s Black Satin Dress

I LOVE THIS. Black. Satin. Fabulous square neckline.  Three-quarter sleeves. Love the little white trim along the neckline.


SO sexx-ay!

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Nice neckline trim.

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Julia’s Grey Dress

Another long train (which was impossible to screencap). Nice details in the neckline and sleeve hem pleating.


Buttons on the sleeve hems!


Another gorgeous neckline.

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Julia’s Black Striped Dress

I was initially irritated at how little we see of this dress, because it is FABULOUS — and then I did some deep digging and found it’s a rewear from other films (thank you, Recycled Movie Costumes!). That probably accounts for its lack of featuring in this movie. I LOVE the stripes with the sheer black overlay, and I LOVE the princess seam (no waistline) — just a loooong column of stripey goodness. This is another one that was listed for sale, this time on iCollector, so you can see lots of clearer images of it there (I’ve included a few).

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Covered with a black-with-pink-lining cape. You can see the long stripes and the hem ruffles at least.

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The only other time you really see it, she’s running, so it’s hard to get a clear look at it.


Yay, finally we can see this sucker! LOVE all the neckline detail with the insets. Again, that sheer overlay over the stripes is fab. Love the asymmetrical ruffles on the skirt — that is SO 1870s.


Closeup of the fabric and bodice trim.


Julia’s Cream Dress

I also found this dress on iCollector and initially thought it must be from a cut scene, since I had no memory of it from the film. But then I found a listing from eBay and realized from their screenshots (which I pilfered) that it flashes by very quickly in a scene that 99% shows Jolie from the neck up. It’s an excellent example of a gorgeous costume that clearly had a ton of time spent on it, but it got lost in editing! How heartbreaking for the designer/costume team.


Blink and you’ll miss it — I did!


BUT CHECK IT OUT! I LOVE the layered swags on the skirt, and the two different fabrics, and all the pleats.


This must have been so gorgeous when walked in.


Detail of that fabulous skirt.


Drapey goodness!


Designer’s sketch & samples — it’s right out of a late 1870s fashion plate!

So, if you haven’t yet, give Original Sin a whirl (it’s on Amazon and iTunes, as well as DVD). You might be surprised how much you like it.


Have you seen Original Sin? What did you think of the costumes? If you haven’t, watch it and then report back!


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.

3 Responses

  1. hanasetsuna

    LOVE this movie! Beautiful costumes and settings. All manner of reasons for a pounding heart – and I normally HATE romantic movies AND thrillers. I also hate Angelina Jolie :) but the characters are so good, I feel compelled to wallow in the psychotic, possessive desperation and constant line-crossing misery-dares that no sane person would put up with from anyone! I highly recommend this movie for anyone who, for two or so hours, wants to feel that their relationships are healthy and have no major problems.

  2. M.D.

    I love this film and a lot of mainstream movie critics grate on my nerves, so I was really able to get into story and the beautiful costumes, especially the white cotton dress. Loved it.