God is in the details. So they say. Words I tend to live by.
My next two posts will be a reflection on exactly that. I have talked before about my biggest struggle in doing a show like this, where the Costume team has an opportunity to create such elaborate, detailed pieces, is hearing viewers say, “when do we see that costume?”. WE SAW IT!!!! Three episodes ago! But you actually didn’t. The actor never got up from the table, we never saw them from the back, there was never a head to toe shot (almost never), it is too dark to see it if they did, etc.
I often threaten to abandon the details. “What is the point? ” I ask. “Why should my team bleed over these costumes for months, if we are never going to see them?!?! Don’t we want the audience to SEE this alien world??”
But I do get it. The show cannot add hours to loving close ups on buttons or pocket details. There is an awful lot of story to get into a 13 hours of television and every minute is precious. I also believe that even if we don’t see the details, we feel them. They are their subliminally (is that a word?), they help the audience to believe that the world is real, and they absolutely help the actor to feel the character. God IS in the details.
But I am a mere human, and I struggle. So I created my own art gallery, to celebrate the details. My work, the work of my team. I am an atheist, after all.
Let’s start with one of my favourite costumes this season. Annalise at Versailles. I love this costume. It is as close a reproduction as I could make of this costume. I try to pepper the show with reproductions. Not only does it add authenticity, but it validates various choices. this particular costume is about detail, but very importantly about color. This supports our choice to use a different palette in S2 than everyone expects. These are not the pastel, bon bon colours that come later in the 18th century. The colors of the mid 18th are much deeper and richer. Our story is just one King before the ears of Marie Antoinette that everyone associates with the 18th century.
This is a Casaquain from the Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.
The differences are clear. Our colors are deeper. There comes a point when you have looked at every possible shade of whatever colour you are trying to match, the dye room is already behind schedule, and you have to LET IT GO, TERRY! It is close enough! We also just did not have the time to create that marvellous tulip hem and to piece the silver lace the way they did. I had to use a Dupioni silk in order to get the closest color. Very often these things are an exercise in compromise. But you accept it and move one. Cameras need to roll.