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Sunday, March 21

Jane Austen Movie Fashion Throwdown

Today I ask you to decide between Lizzie Bennet and Elizabeth Bennet, or Keira and Jennifer. Which actress's wardrobe best AUTHENTICALLY portrayed our favorite Austen heroine? The votes for Mrs. Bennet were hot and heavy and it wasn't until the 5th day that the tide began to sway towards Brenda Blethyn's side. This week I ask you: Whose wardrobe do you like best?

Jennifer Ehle or Keira Knightley dressed as Elizabeth Bennet?



Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in P&P 1995

Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet in P&P 2005


Best dressed Lizzie
Jennifer Ehle, 1995 Elizabeth Bennet
Keira Knightley, 2005 Elizabeth Bennet
pollcode.com free polls

17 comments:

ChaChaneen said...

That was E-A-S-Y! Jennifer's clothes!

Charleybrown said...

This one is no contest for me. I loved Ehle's wardrobe!

Jane Travers said...

Oh, dear dear dear. You're asking two different questions here, I'm afraid. First you ask us which we prefer, then which are most "authentic".

Fear not, for I shall answer both! ;)

Sadly, Keira Knightley's less ample wardrobe, including her drab day dresses, are probably more authentic.

But who could not prefer Jennifer Ehle's simple, elegant gowns, well-cut pelisses and especially that rust-coloured bonnet she wore to visit the Collins'?

For guilty pleasure it's Jennifer's wardrobe every time.

BookGirl said...

It's got to be Jennifer's sprigged muslin dresses

Vic said...

Jane, I do have that habit of asking conflicting questions, don't I? Glad you were able to sort them out and come up with an answer!

Nonna Beach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nonna Beach said...

Jennifer E. is perfect in every costume. I love costume she is wearing when she takes a walk around Rosings Park with Col. Fitzwilliam and the costume she wears when she first dances with Mr. Darcy.

Mostly, Keira & Co. costumes look like a bunch of sheep herders or milk maids to me !!!

Heather Carroll said...

I know Ehle has an easy win on this one but I have to go for the wardrobe of 1995 P&P because they set it in 1796 (I believe; correct me if I am wrong!) which was purposely chosen since it was date of the original manuscript of the book.

Jane Travers said...

Come on then, Vic; which did you prefer?

Kathleen said...

I much prefer nearly everything about the 1995 P&P, but thought Keira Knightley's clothes were fabulous in a minimalist way. But I think it was because my eye was more used to them; they had a contemporary sensibility. Did anyone else think that?

shan said...

I vote for Ehle... but I too think that Knightley's P&P was supposed to be set earlier.. I read that somewhere. Also.. could you repost that amazing pic of Matthew MacFadyen laying on Keira's lap! I cant click on it (wont work) for a better look and its great! lol

Vic said...

I have no preference for either, if you can believe that, Jane! Heather is right in that the 2005 version features the fashions common when Jane Austen wrote First Impressions, the first version of Pride and Prejudice. While Keira's costumes are true to that era, and while I think that hems must have gotten muddy during long treks though fields and along muddy lanes, I believe that the costumers swung too far in the direction of country bumpkins living on a farm. Compare Keira's rough and simple homespun gowns to the simple day and work dresses worn by Marianne (Kate Winslet) and Elinor (Emma Thompson) in 1996 Sense and Sensibility, and you'll see what I mean. I also think that Regency ladies went out of their way to prevent their hems from soiling, and (like many paintings of peasants depict in that era). They wore patents to prevent their slippers from soiling, and I think they would have tucked up their hems in some way too, for mud and grass stains are hard to remove from clothes. By and large, the least favorite household duty of Regency maids and ladies was doing the laundry, a laborious two-day event that was universally dreaded.

Joe Wright, the director of the 2005 version, gave us an interesting point of view when it came to fashions and settings, but I don't think his was Jane's. She was interested in fashion, and I can't think of why her heroines' would not be either.

As for the 1995 version of P&P, the clothes are lush and gorgeous - perhaps a tad too fancy for life in the country, and had they shown Lizzie in work dresses during the day and a less varied wardrobe (Mr. Bennet was fairly well off, but he could not have afforded so many clothes for all his women - they would have borrowed each other's hats and gloves and trinkets, and the younger girls would have had to remake hand-me-downs, as was the custom).

I think both movies got details of the wardrobe wrong in small ways, but from what I understand, costumers often make creative decisions based on setting and moving the plot forward. They must also keep their budgets and audiences in mind, which is why Regency fashions in films made in 1940, 1980, 1995, 2005, and 2009 have varied so much. You can generally tell in what year a Regency era movie was filmed simply by looking at clothes, hair, makeup and sets. Having said that, my heart is with the elegant clothes of P&P 1995, while my head votes for 2005 for daring to be different.

Kolein said...

I don't recall seeing Keira Knightley in the white gown in the movie. Did I miss something??

Vic said...

It is the same gown she wore at the Netherfield Ball - the image is a publicity still

Nonna Beach said...

Country Bumpkins in the 2005 version... HaHa ! I really like that description...thanks Vic !

Emily said...

I loved that really long tartan scarf JE wore. Can't remember which scene exactly - worn with a long, dark coat. Anyway... want one!

seawaterwitch said...

Elizabeth Bennet - Jennifer Ehle of course ^^/

I love her outfit and her character. I hate Keira, she's ruining my Lizzie hiks hiks.....