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  • - So in an effort to be slightly more efficient

  • in all of the costume reviews that you seem to want me to do

  • we're going to do a little 2020 year wrap-up

  • of all the period dramas that have been released this year.

  • And just to make things a little bit more exciting

  • I have decided that we are going to be ranking

  • these period dramas on a scale of historical accuracy.

  • I have made up a chart.

  • I have tons of notes,

  • and we're about to rank these films and TV shows

  • on a scale of "they tried :/" to *chef's kiss*.

  • So I guess I should kind of clarify my tiers here.

  • *Chef's kiss* is obviously like near perfection.

  • There's a combination of silhouette

  • that obviously looks convincing to the period.

  • The materials that they use are appropriate as well as

  • presence of tiny details, such as seams or stitching details

  • or embroidery things that you can just

  • tell that the designer did their research

  • in order to find out those little things.

  • Pretty good is the silhouette is probably convincing enough.

  • There may or may not be a couple of seams

  • that look a little bit obviously modern

  • but we can let those pass

  • because generally the costumes themselves

  • don't pull us out of the realm

  • of the historical context of the story.

  • It was a Design Choice(tm).

  • This category is sort of reserved

  • for the element of fantasy.

  • So I'm not about to allow any of these historical dramas

  • to sort of cop out on "but this was a directorial vision".

  • Yes, that's fair,

  • if this is fantasy and it's not actually dealing with

  • actual historical events, actual historical figures,

  • or is meant to have been set in an actual period of history.

  • If they're going to a fantasy realm,

  • it's some alternate universe thing,

  • OK, fair.

  • It was a Design Choice.

  • There is a separate category for blasphemous hair and makeup

  • because the actual bane of my existence

  • there are several instances in which the costumes

  • are actually pretty good

  • but the entire convincing-ness of the world

  • of the historical film or show is just shattered.

  • You cannot fully immerse yourself

  • into the realm of the historical period

  • because you are constantly being pulled out

  • by the fact that her lip shade is like not quite right.

  • And also why is she wearing bronzer?

  • And then they tried is obviously like

  • an attempt at history was made,

  • but like not very successfully.

  • We're basically just going to be judging the

  • objective criteria of "is this historically accurate".

  • So without further ado, we are going in order of US release.

  • First on our list is "Little Women",

  • which if you watched my compilation video on

  • the worst costumes of all time, this film was on that list.

  • We've discussed the UGGs,

  • we have discussed the beach waves.

  • This gets a solid... they tried?

  • but were they even trying... remains to be seen

  • but that's gonna live there.

  • Second on our list is "Emma",

  • which once again also made it onto

  • not my worst costume compilation

  • but my best costume compilation.

  • we have already discussed the 10 out of 10

  • near perfection of "Emma", everyone basically looked like

  • they were out of a fashion plate.

  • It was beautifully designed.

  • This gets a chef's kiss.

  • I put Mulan on this list

  • because I think it technically is a period drama.

  • It does take place in fifth or sixth century,

  • Northern China.

  • It's based off of the original ballad of Mulan.

  • So there is historical text to it.

  • There is also a lot of fantasy.

  • So this one is a little bit tricky

  • because my particular realm of studies

  • centers around English and American pre-World war one

  • historical dress.

  • So I can't say that I am very well-educated in the realm

  • of six century Chinese dress, Northern Chinese dress.

  • So I put this one on my list and I was like,

  • I'll do some research.

  • So three hours later, I had only just got up to

  • the general overview of the Tang dynasty.

  • And I was like, oh wow now I understand

  • why historians choose one very specific little pinpoint

  • of history and study that for their entire lives.

  • So personally I am not qualified

  • to deem this historically accurate or not.

  • According to the background research that I did do,

  • I am first and foremost, a little bit disappointed

  • that they didn't hire an actual Chinese designer.

  • And I know, I was watching some criticism

  • from people who actually are more familiar

  • with the cultural details.

  • And one of the main criticisms of this

  • was the fact that they were hiring white designers

  • to do research into Chinese dress

  • and not actually hiring Chinese designers

  • who already have that background knowledge

  • and who can then focus on building a world

  • within the context of those historical foundations.

  • To my untrained eye

  • just based off of the artwork that I was looking at

  • within this time period there does seem to be a lot of

  • bright colorful dress happening, which is so superficial

  • but they certainly did that within this film.

  • The fabrics and materials that they use

  • do seem to be convincing enough in terms of quality.

  • Obviously, I haven't done the depth of research

  • to get to the point where I understand

  • what dyes were available

  • and therefore what colors would have been available

  • and what colors can be worn in what circumstances

  • and with what,

  • but just based off of the research that I did do

  • the silhouettes look pretty okay,

  • the colors look at least having existed within the period.

  • There is definitely an element of fantasy involved.

  • I mean, we are dealing with the realm of witches

  • and people running up vertical walls,

  • which is not... you know... reality.

  • This is also a Disney film.

  • And I know one of the main criticisms

  • of trying to make Disney films historically accurate

  • is that they are Disney films and they are fairytales

  • and they are not historically accurate.

  • Anyway, that is a very long-winded way of saying that.

  • I do think the costume design was--

  • to my very unspecialized eye--

  • the costumes did look pretty okay to me,

  • I'm going to put this in it was a Design Choice.

  • (sigh)

  • I think that is the best that I can do.

  • So next on our list, we have Belgravia, it's a TV series.

  • The beginning is set in 1815,

  • and it sort of goes up through the 1840s.

  • Initially from looking at the promo images of this,

  • I was like, "oh my God". I was actually so excited

  • for the show because

  • obviously the book came out several years ago

  • and I was like, oh yay Julian Fellowes wrote the book.

  • I was like, oh, it's Downton Abbey.

  • So it will maybe be good,

  • but then I saw some promo pics and I was like, wow,

  • this looks extremely modern.

  • I guess the costumes are going to be

  • a Little Bit Questionable,

  • but the costumes were pretty good (sigh).

  • I realized the thing that was throwing me off

  • in the promo images that unfortunately,

  • because sometimes the promo images are done up and shot

  • before the actual thing is shot

  • or they're done separately offset,

  • not within the context of the actual shooting environment.

  • So the promo images don't always reflect

  • the actual costumes. Unfortunately, these kinds of did.

  • The Appallingly modern hair and makeup

  • did carry over into the actual series

  • to the point where like, I can tell that you are definitely

  • from the 21st century

  • and you're putting on a bonnet and a soap frog.

  • So unfortunately this one has to be classified in

  • blasphemous hair and makeup.

  • Next we have the English Game,

  • which is a new Netflix TV series.

  • This one is set in 1879 I believe is when the show begins.

  • Once again, I have not studied the realm of sporting

  • uniforms, so I cannot speak to the accuracy

  • of the football uniforms.

  • So here's the thing within period dramas, there tends to be

  • this overarching phenomenon where the men's wear

  • tends to be pretty much ok.

  • It doesn't change a whole lot from

  • mmh kind of from the beginning of the regency period

  • up to the modern times.

  • The women are overly made up again, the hair and makeup

  • is just... frustrating.

  • But then again, the women in the show are used as props

  • and on flowers anyway.

  • So does it really matter? Probably not!

  • One thing that I did enjoy on this show is that

  • because a lot of the story is spent in uniform

  • on the football field, everyone is kind of dressed the same.

  • They did capitalize on that late Victorian trend

  • of EPIC men's facial hair

  • and sort of extreme and varied men's facial hair,

  • which was extremely clever because I was a bit worried

  • just watching the show

  • that I would not be able to distinguish one white man

  • from the other white man, but they do

  • "Oh yeah, okay, this is the guy with a large beard.

  • This is the guy with a small beard.

  • This is the guy with the little mustache."

  • So I thought that was clever.

  • I have nothing like serious again

  • to complain about these clothes.

  • I'm gonna put this in pretty good.

  • So next we have another Netflix series.

  • This one is called Self-Made.

  • I have to go a little bit hard on this one

  • because this is actually about a real historical figure,

  • Madame CJ Walker,

  • who if you don't know who she is, go Google her.

  • She's like one of my favorite historical figures.

  • She's the first self-made female millionaire

  • in the United States.

  • The show itself is entertaining,

  • it's good.

  • Unfortunately, the clothes are not good.

  • It's supposed to be 1908 but you kind of can't really tell.

  • They're using all sorts of materials,

  • all sorts of laces and weird trimmings.

  • They did not really look period at all.

  • And I have to be a little bit more rigid

  • with the historical accuracy judgment on this

  • because it is not only dealing with actual specific years

  • within history, but also about a specific person.

  • Like the research is out there.

  • I think it may have been deliberate

  • because the way that the editing is done, it is very modern.

  • When I was watching it, I was like, you know what?

  • The only way that I can sort of describe this editing style

  • is TikTok.

  • It feels like TikToK or like YouTube editing

  • not in a bad way

  • because obviously we all find that entertaining, right?

  • But it was definitely different to see that in a TV show.

  • I will say the background characters,

  • a couple of the background characters

  • were actually really good.

  • I presume this is because they made

  • all of the principal characters and those were ~Designed~

  • but the background folk were rented or pulled from stock

  • or something.

  • And therefore there were existing costumes

  • that are a bit closer to history.

  • I will say though, that this show is unique

  • in that though the clothes were not the best,

  • the hair was really good, which obviously it should be

  • because the show is about hair and hair styling.