Thursday, May 15, 2014

And Now For Something Completely Different!

Long story short, I eat my words.

Long story long, we begin further back than I would like to admit. My mother impressed on me, inadvertently, only through example, an intense love of literature. Her passions are the English classics: Austen, the Brontes, Wharton, the whole lot of 19th century novelists. Thus, I grew up with the film adaptations, and I have very, very fond memories of myself, my mother, and my sister watching them, and Dad falling asleep shortly into them and yet somehow later doing a perfect imitation of a character.

Fast forward many years to Monday, and I'm lying in bed with a chronically busted knee and Netflix. I found and watched the 1995 Ang Lee adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, my all-time favorite Jane Austen film. I laughed, I cried, I remembered inside jokes my family and I made out of it. It was a great personal reminiscence. But I also watched it with my adult, costuming eyes. I noticed how easy the costuming looked, both in comfort and construction. It looked fun to wear! It seemed effortless with the lack of rigid underpinnings, flashy trims and materials, and weighty jewelry. Simple elegance, for sure. It was also easy to see the construction details in the costumes, and it was accurate to what little I know of Regency costuming from various costuming blogs and forums.

Specifically, the scene where the Dashwood sisters were playing lawn bowls with the Sir John Middleton and Mrs. Jennings clan really made me stop and think, "I want to wear that to the Time Travelers Picnic that I want to host this summer! I want to play croquet in it!"

And it began, the seed was planted: the daydreaming, the plotting, the planning, the search for screencaps.

Now, mind you, despite my love of Jane Austen films, I have never had any particular love for Regency. In regards to the fashion, I have usually preferred more structured, corseted styles: Renaissance, Georgian, Victorian, skipping Regency, especially with the ridiculous masses of curled hair. I've also felt that the whole Jane Austen movement is over-hyped and over-romanticized in the modern world. I mean, really, not everyone can hope to land a Mr. Darcy nowadays, can she? (Personally I've always had a soft spot for Colonel Brandon.) Let's be realistic. People don't live like that. People don't act like that. People like that don't exist anymore. You're just setting yourself up for disappointment. BUT the Regency revival movement is made up of people who feel about that time period the way I feel about the Middle Ages and Renaissance, so I have no room to talk.

So the next day, I set up my sewing space in my Dad's house, where I am currently living, and I've been printing off patterns and tutorials all night at work. I usually have a character to play with and to make an outfit for, and I don't really have one in mind yet, but here we go!

(I also watched Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and I have the following notes: I dislike her on every level. It was just poorly adapted with an unsettling amount of what I would consider modern behavior. I want to go back in time and burn down their costume shop. Ewan McGregor's hair is ridiculous. BUT when he sings, it redeems the whole mess.)

Deep breath.

I admit it. I'm a girl. I'm a romantic. I love Regency.

And I need a hat.

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