Costume Party #3, European Nobility–The Duchess

The DuchessIMG_9742

UK, 2008 Directed by Saul Dibb

Starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes

Costume design by Michael O’Connor

Available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video _____________________________________

When I thought up the idea for this list, The Duchess was the first movie that came to mind. In fact, anytime I hear film and costume in the same sentence, it will inevitably make its way into my thoughts. I will forever judge period piece costuming by the standard set in this movie. It is unforgettable.

The story of The Duchess is based on the real 18th century life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. There is plenty of romantic and political intrigue, as well as an engaging internal conflict. It is also a very tough story, deftly visualized by director Saul Dibb, magnificently acted by the leads, and altogether incredibly satisfying as a narrative. But the most attractive thing about this story is by far the vast array of lavish get-ups. Michael O’Connor, who obviously won an Oscar for his work here, created so many beautiful costume ensembles, that they could have populated an entire decade of Merchant Ivory productions. It would take quite a bit more time than I have to comment thoroughly on the costumes in this movie, so in the slideshow below I will highlight Keira Knightley’s costumes, which are alone enough to write a book on.


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