I finally had the chance to see the new Jane Eyre film this weekend. It was my Mother’s day gift to get to sneak off and see this movie!)
One word about the costumes- impeccable!
Unlike Michael O’Conner’s lavish costumes designed for The Duchess, the costuming in Jane Eyre was subtle, understated, and gorgeously executed. His attention to detail was amazing! Every stitch was accounted for, every layer of undergarment present, and each gown was meticulously researched. In short, he was spot on!
One thing that impressed me about O’Conner’s costumes was his attention to texture. This is something I have not seen in many other period films. One could almost reach out and touch the coarseness of young Jane’s gown, feel the delicateness of older Jane’s lace collars, and sweat under the weight of Miss Ingram’s heavy satin evening gowns.
He also paid close attention to social class when creating his costumes. While the majority of period films overemphasize this distinction (or do not deal with it at all), O’Conner was subtle about it.
I also appreciated that we (as viewers) were not bombarded with an overabundance of historical dress. O’Conner was true to the period in that he did not give his characters multitudes of garments. (As a costumer, it must be extremely frustrating to spend weeks on a gown only to have it used in a 15 second cameo.) Instead, O’Conner presents us with only a handful of gowns, each one reappearing time and again so we may savor it from every angle.
In short, the historical dress in this film seemed more likely to have stepped out of a museum than a costume studio. If you love refined, unfussy, beautifully constructed period garments, then you too will appreciate the meticulously and beautifully crafted costuming in this film.