Well ladies and gents, I finally had the chance to see the film Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo del Toro, both written by del Toro and Matthew Robbins. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver.
I'm still digesting all the visceral beauty that this film is made of.
All I can say for now is that it's a swirling masterpiece, and an homage to all the classic horror thrillers of the last 100+ years.
There is a hefty dose of the literary style of the era in the storytelling, but not so much that it would tire modern moviegoers with short-attention-span sensibilities. This classic Gothic romance goes straight for the jugular and races into the utterly disturbing, introducing us to the restless souls that have passed on. It delicately plunges into murderous mayhem straight away, while it hands us a hot cup of tea.
There's also a violent scene during the first half, that seems straight out of Boardwalk Empire. You'll know it when you see it.
The loving nod to Hammer Studios-style horror can instantly be seen but really, who are we kidding? Let's get down to the nitty-gritty; they *absolutely nailed the costuming*.
Borrowing heavily from actual trends in fashion between 1877 and 1901, they were able to incorporate the imaginative artistic influences that couture fashion was reflecting at the time, rather than try to modernize it.
Two of the main characters represent the present and the past with their choice of clothing. One is twisted with dark tragic beauty, while the other is bright, lyrical and full of optimism.
Along with the set design, lighting and art direction, the costuming is a fashion time capsule that has just burst open before our eyes. When combined with the aforementioned elements, it becomes a stunning painting in motion.
Needless to say, I have a stash of fabrics that have been yearning to become something similar to what we see Edith (Mia) wearing in the film as she plays a true American belle of the Art Nouveau age.
Below are some historical examples I like to think were inspiration for the costumes of Crimson Peak.
1893 Worth ballgown
Late 1870s natural form gowns
Jessica Chastain as Lady Lucille Sharpe
Evening cape by Emile Pingat 1890s, and Mia as Edith Cushing
Worth gown, and painting by John Singer Sargent
Worth cloak, and movie set still of Mia playing the role of Edith Cushing