I admit it, I am obsessed with this costume. It does everything I think a costume should do. It is fantastic looking, but not distractingly so, because it is based on the story, not imposed upon it. I love that it has a history. My team did a phenomenal job of aging this piece. We shredded it, and then darned it!
I remember in the beginning one of my team members, Graham, who has quite an impressive collection of 18th century clothing, brought in this amazing coat. It had clearly belonged to a wealthy man, who had worn it a lot over many, many years. You could tell, because when you looked at the inside of the coat, it was covered in darned bits, and with carefully sewn in patches. We don’t do that anymore. We discard our clothing when we get bored with it, either individually, or as a culture. We do not nurse a garment across the decades. Even the poorest of our societies, discard the cheap garments purchased at Wal Mart, or Target only a few months or a few years before. But clothes like that coat, tell a story. They tell us about the wearer, they tell us about his life, and the world he lived in. Even a wealthy man, who could afford an ornately embroidered coat, took care of it, cherished it, and above all valued it. It had meaning.
It is important to me to show that on Outlander. To show how differently people then related to things that we take so casually. I can remember my mother repairing clothing, my father pulling out the wooden family shoe box and carefully polishing his shoes. I am not sure how accurate my memory is, but I only remember my father having maybe 4 pairs of shoes when I was growing up. And we were not poor, just a middle class family. How many of us have shoe polish boxes in our homes now?? He just took care of them, so they would last.
But then again, my parents didn’t have credit cards because they thought that if you couldn’t pay for something outright (other than a house, maybe), you had no business buying it.
I digress, I suppose. This costume was the first time, we were able to show that way of thinking, that kind of consciousness.
This is an old garment. One that has probably seen many owners. A garment passed around many lives. Until it becomes a costume, for a street performer, who sees glamour and theater in it’s fraying threads. it still has a purpose, a reason for being cherished.
This was also the first costume the amazingly talented textile artist, Hellen Gallogly, painted for us, after joining our team. She does beautiful work, and is creating truly startling textiles for us in Season Two.
And the equally talented Emily Watson created that felted embroidery on the coat. How fantastic is that. Emily also made the woven collar I recently wrote about.
Finally, there is nothing greater, than a woman wearing men’s clothing. Cait so embraced and reveled in the freedom given to Claire, and to herself, after both of them being trapped for months in heavy woolen women’s clothing.
The return of 1940s Claire and of 2014 Caitriona to trousers, was a joyful thing to behold. They both needed a break.
(Before we aged it)