costume drama

Posted by on July 18, 2008 in other things | 9 comments

I don’t think I ever mentioned here that I studied Clothing and Textiles in college. In high school I worked in a drapery workshop, and in my 20’s I did some design consulting for an import company, as well as lots of little odd jobs from slipcovers to wedding dresses. I’ve always loved textiles, and while I’m hardly cutting edge in the fashion department, I do love clothes. I haven’t done a lot of sewing for myself the past few years, and I hope to change that as I continue to lose weight and look better. I particularly love the little details that make an ordinary piece of clothing special (like sewing little petals all over a plain old t-shirt) :o). I loved my couture techniques class, and textile science class, and the theater classes where I got to work backstage on various productions. Lately, though I’ve been thinking about one of my very favorite classes: costume history. It’s so interesting how clothing permeates so many aspects of history. Art, religion, industry, it’s all intertwined with what people wore.


As you might expect, I love me a good old fashioned costume drama. I’m currently re-watching one of my favorite of all time, The House of Elliot. It takes place in 1920’s London-one of my favorite time periods, fashion-wise, and one of my favorite places. It’s the story of two sisters left destitute by their father. They start making clothes to support themselves, and eventually open their own fashion house. I was lucky enough to be in London when the V & A was doing an exhibit of costumes from the series. They really were just as exquisite close up as they were on the screen. Watching The House of Elliot again makes me want to make a 1920’s style gown with lots of hand beading and embroidery. One day I think I really will do this, just for fun. 


Another favorite (in a different sense) costume drama, Project Runway started again this week! I didn’t even know they were doing another season so soon. Luckily, my trusty Tivo was on the case and recorded it for me, so it was a nice surprise to come home to on Wednesday. Did they not do a preview show this time, where they show the selection process? It seems like there are more designers this time, and the introductions at the beginning were so quick, there’s no way to keep them all straight. Is anyone up for a PR discussion group? Let’s do it in the comments! I’ll start here.

First of all, super-tan Blayne and his stupid ‘girlicious’ needs to go soon. I didn’t like Christian at first, last season, but the little twerp grew on me, and he is extraodinarily talented, and I loved him and his ‘fierceness’ by the end of the season. I already know that Blayne and his stupid hat and sniffles is not going to ever endear himself to me. And yes, his design was daring, but it was also hideous and I hated it. There was a potholder on her shoulder. A potholder! Not deconstructed or anything, just stuck there. I can’t even post a picture of it because I hated it so much.

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The cup dress was so clever, and talk about labor intensive! I loved how Daniel used the rims like piping. I loved Kelley’s skirt of vacuum cleaner bags, how great was it that she dyed and bleached it? I thought the spiral notebook hooks were genius, and I even liked the gold pushpins adorning the waistband, but the coffee filter bodice? That really could have been done differently.

I wish we could have seen more of the pasta dress, I loved the way the skirt moved down the runway, and the ovenmitt bodice was so cute!

I thought the pink candy dress was sort of cute, and I decided to find out more about Leanne. I really like her aesthetic, her designs are so pretty and soft and feminine. She has an etsy shop! How cool is that? I would definitely wear something made by her. Look at this one! The construction is so fascinating to me. I’d like to know where she gets her fabrics, they all drape so nicely. Look at some of her sold items on etsy to see more. 

I thought the judges were right on with the bottom two. I probably would have sent Stella home, just because her trash bag dress looked like…trash bags. At least Jerry put a lot of work into his weird little raincoat, and made a dress to go underneath (although I use the term dress loosely). Maybe if he had foregone the rubber gloves and boots he might have had a chance.

What do you think? Did any designers stand out for you?


  1. So far, and it’s really too soon to tell, I like Kenley. I love her Retro 40’s look and I thought her dress was so charming. She made the bodice out of rubber! A rubber ball to be more exact. I also like Korto and Daniel. Korto’s dress, though she did use a table cloth, was gorgeous!

  2. I love project runway, I don’t have cable or a tv thanks to my 4 year old but I may have to break down and purchase another flat tv. I love the little pink dress, that is just too cute.

  3. Oh Boy! Are we going to have fun this season! I’m a big PR fan, and yeah, it was like here it is. No build up or nothing. I heard PR is moving from Bravo to Lifetime, so maybe that has something to do with it. I have to go to PR website and review, but I didn’t like the trash bag dress and I didn’t like the coffee filters, and is it just me, or is the talent this season kind of lacking?
    I’m off to Netflix The House of Elliot. I love 20s fashion. And 40s and 60s, for that matter. See ya later.

  4. Oh yeah, Kenley was cute, I think I need to check out her portfolio. Didn’t she and Emily look really similar? I always hate the first few episodes when you can’t keep everyone straight! Korto will be an interesting one to watch, definitely.
    Mona-I’ve tried to find somewhere online that you can watch, but I’ve not come up with anything. You can see a lot of clips on, so you can keep up with what’s going on.
    Judy-You’re in for a treat if you haven’t seen House of Elliot! I’ve heard the same, that PR is moving to Lifetime. I hope they don’t screw it up. I’m still optimistic that we’ll see some talent, but yeah, overall I don’t think they did so great with this first challenge (everyone using tablecloths, for example-so predictable!).

  5. I have to get used to this new batch too. I agree that Jerry’s slasher raincoat thing was not as bad as trash bags, but they did what they did already. I would have used parma ham or nori….smell doesn’t count right!? +_+

  6. I have not seen the show Project Runway… so alas I cannot comment.
    However, I love the series The House of Elliot.

  7. Oh I’m so excited that PR is on again so soon! I was very surprised and stoked. Besides a couple of Food Network shows and Pushing Daisies, it’s the only TV I watch.
    I’m having a really hard time telling some of those girls apart! I think 3 of them look the same to me. I can’t wait for this week’s episode — maybe we’ll get to know them all better.
    Okay, Blayne drives me NUTS. He’s so trying to be the next Christian, with his ‘girlicious’ Christian was irritating at first but I ended up loving his irritating ways by the end. I don’t think that’ll be the case with Blayne. And his design was hideous. And he really needs to stop tanning.
    My favorite design was Kelley’s, even though when I first saw her dying and bleaching I was like, what the? But it turned out really cute. I agree though, the coffee filters could have been done better — it’s a little weird looking.
    The cup dress and the pasta dress were so clever! I’m disappointed we didn’t get to see more of the pasta dress though, too. I love the way it moved.
    And I HATE that Stella lady! She is incredible annoying to me. And her dress sucked! Daniel’s, while also incredibly hideous, at least somewhat thought out. Stella just threw something together at the last second. Plus, I liked Daniel’s personality a lot more. I can’t *stand* Stella. She and Blayne need to go.
    I basically repeated everything you said. 🙂

  8. Hi…My eight year-old daughter and I recently finished watching all of the “House of Eliott” series. We LOVED it!! All those incredible costumes…And the incredible cast, storyline, etc…It was the entire package…Are there any other BBC productions that you would recommend? (I enjoyed “Wives and Daughters”)…Katie

  9. I agree that Blayne has to go soon, but every season they seem to need a gay man who embodies many of the ridiculous sterotypes many people sadly associate with gay culture: the exaggerated way of talking, the obsession with tanning… he has no talent other than that of self-promotion (and I use the word “talent” loosely).
    “Suede” (yeah, sure, that’s his real name) is another I would love to see voted off the show. He seems to be trying way too hard to come off as ultra-cool, with the faux-hawk (in blue!) and always referring to himself in the third person (only royalty can get away with things like that).
    Last season was such a nice change of pace in that there didn’t seem to be any silly personal dramas between the contestants. Yes, Christian was a bit on the annoying side, but he was talented and, if I remember correctly, kept the personal drama to a minimum. I also grew to like him as the season went on. Project Runway is still a great series but I’m getting a bit of fatigue and don’t find myself desperate to catch the first airing of each episode, especially since you can always watch it any of the twenty times they rerun it before the next new one airs!

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