There is a scene in the new Little Women film, released on Boxing Day, where the March sisters take a trip to the beach. The sky is blue, the sand is creamy pale and, despite this being the 1860s, you will probably find yourself dreaming of wearing one of their outfits.
三级成人视频You may want to steal a picnic basket, don a classic straw sunhat, nab Meg’s delicate green cotton dress or shrug on Jo’s nautical jacket. Because not only is Little Women a universal tale that has chimed with every generation since its publication in 1868, the look is also just right for now.
三级成人视频‘The beach was very special,’ remembers Jacqueline Durran, the film’s costume designer. ‘I was happy with those costumes because what I wanted to express with them was a sense of light and freedom that I saw in American Impressionist paintings. I wanted to capture the beauty of that coastline, the sun and the summer and what it could have been like for these girls about to start their lives. I liked Jo’s costume being a boy’s sailor suit but not quite, and Meg’s being a lovely pastel dress.’
A三级成人视频 still of the scene, which took inspiration from Winslow Homer’s 1870 painting High Tide, was the first image from the film to be released, and it immediately went viral on social media. It managed to evoke the nostalgia we love about costume drama, a very modern preoccupation with all things prairie and Victoriana, and an optimistic mood.
Anyone who has read Louisa May Alcott’s classic will know that the March girls love clothes. They marvel over ribbons, twirl in ballgowns and crave expensive pieces they can’t afford – their experiences with clothes are as relatable as their sisterly bond or angst about growing up. Durran was determined, therefore, that the sisters ‘would wear their Victorian-ness lightly. We wanted them not to be hemmed in or restricted. Greta [Gerwig, the film's director] found in her research that Alcott used to go on 10-mile runs – you think, how did she do that? What did she wear?’
三级成人视频For Saoirse Ronan, whose character is an amalgamation of Jo and Alcott, this meant costumes that are boyish, allowing her to skip through fields, crawl around on all fours arranging pages of her novel (there’s a specific ‘scribbling suit’ for this) and ice skate with Laurie. She wears denim, men’s shirts and a palette of mulchy Farrow and Ball-ish neutrals. ‘She’s one of the characters that never wears a corset,’ Durran tells me. ‘We nearly put her in a hoop when she was going to New York but it didn’t feel right, it was too much of a compromise for her. She wouldn’t conform like that.’
T三级成人视频he antidote to Jo’s tomboy look is Amy (Florence Pugh), who gets the fanciest clothes in the film when she is taken to Europe by Aunt March (Meryl Streep) and treated to a couture wardrobe by Paris and London’s best dressmakers. ‘Amy is the most fashionable you can be,’ notes Durran of Pugh’s jewel- and lace-adorned little jackets, dramatic layered skirts and exquisite headwear. ‘Europe represented the peak of sophistication then and still does, to some extent, so I really wanted to lean into that.’
S三级成人视频omewhere between androgynous Jo and fancy Amy is Meg (Emma Watson), who yearns to wear beautiful dresses but never quite has the budget. In the childhood scenes, Durran was inspired by ‘fairy-tale romanticism… I looked at the Pre-Raphaelites, the Gothic Revival and medieval influences, which were fashionable in the 19th century, and used those to represent her longing for that kind of life.’
三级成人视频One scene that epitomises Meg’s conflict is when she is invited to Sallie Moffatt’s ‘coming out’ ball and is persuaded out of her simple (yet lovely) dress into an elaborate confection to match the other girls’ sickly sweet outfits. ‘The whole idea of that was to make it as pretty as we could. The dress signifies a kind of wealth that hasn’t been in the March house. It’s not bohemian at all, it’s just pure society, pre-Wasp.’
Meg marries impoverished tutor John Brooke and is resigned to a life in the crisp, practical frocks that are, ironically, now the height of cool. Meg might spend more than she can really afford on fabric for an opulent new dress, but today designers are charging hundreds for whimsical pieces inspired by this very element of the Little Women aesthetic.
New York label LoveShackFancy was singled out by fashion search engine Lyst as the leader of the ‘Cult Girl Summer’ trend, which is ‘rooted in rural Americana, demure prairie dresses’. Many of the film’s costumes, especially Marmee’s (Laura Dern) paisley cord dresses, also reminded me of Batsheva, another of-the-moment label, which recreates modest Laura Ashley-esque patterns and has gained fans including Natalie Portman, Lena Dunham and Sarah Jessica Parker. ‘I remember the 1949 Little Women movie as a particularly cosy, beautiful, inspirational film,’ says Batsheva Hay, who began her brand after a career as a lawyer. ‘I was told that imagery from my collection was used on the mood board for the film’s costume design, which makes me so happy – that’s the ultimate compliment.’
‘We have a customer who is pioneering in their style and who enjoys wearing these pieces teamed with a tough boot to contrast with the delicate and demure style of the dresses,’ notes Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matches Fashion, where labels such as Batsheva, The Vampire’s Wife, Horror Vacui and Loretta Caponi have tapped into the look.
With Little Women back in the cultural conversation, it’s not just the look inspiring designers but the attitude of the March sisters. For Emilia Wickstead, the book was the starting point for her spring/summer 2020 collection. ‘I was first introduced to the story as a child by my grandmother in New Zealand,’ she remembers. ‘I fell in love with the strong, eclectic and inspirational sisters as well as the way my grandmother played them, particularly Jo with whom she had so many similarities.’
Emilia’s collection reflects Jo’s ‘ambitious nature, maverick mentality and tomboy spirit’, with bold, dramatic silhouettes and bright colours. ‘We are in such an interesting time, where the role of women is being explored in a much more open way,’ adds Emilia. ‘It always strikes a chord with me that Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women in 1868, but with Jo she challenges the archetypal role of a woman. From how she can dress – experimenting with more masculine shapes – to her choosing to have a profession and becoming a writer, really going against the grain for those times.’ And therein lies the appeal of Little Women dressing: it makes us feel like we can do anything, no matter which character we identify with the most.
Blouse, £435, ; Corduroy dress, £165, ; Denim shirt, £39, ; Floral tote, £165,
‘Little Women’ is released on Boxing Day
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