Cut! – Howard’s End – Meg

Costume Poster

Another costume from the Cut! exhibit that I took some photos are from another movie I haven’t seen yet – Howard’s End which is from 1992. The movie is set in England in 1908-1910, and the poster describes this costume. (Click the image for a full-size version.)

Emma Thompson steps out of her roll as an enlightened bourgeois and humanist free thinker to step into the role of step mother dressing for her step-daughter’s wedding. This black dress with white lace bodice grew from the director’s desire to make the world of Howard’s End seem genuinely inhabited and the costumer’s wish to show ‘real clothes made in an authentic way’. It illustrates how original pieces of detailing such as the lace on the bodice can be blended with new but period-correct fabrics to make an outfit which looks exactly as it would have in 1908-1910. The skirt of this dress is cut on the bias and was draped on Emma to ensure that the folds fell correctly on her and looked natural. Mauve velvet flowers at the neckline and a straw bonnet with a cream silk crown complete the ensemble.”

Meg's costume from Howard's End

I couldn’t really get a full-length shot of this dress, so this is the best that I can do!  It doesn’t really show off the bias-cut skirt very well, but it gives a decent idea of what the costume looks like.

Meg's costume from Howard's End

A close up of the lace at the bodice.  I found the cut edge really interesting – how it looks as though it’s part of the bodice, and yet separate at the same time. However, looking at the size of the netting connecting the embroidered/couched motifs, the netting in the overall netting looks much larger than the net where the flowers are.  This shot also shows a bit of the pleating at the waist on the black silk.

Meg's hat from Howard's End

I was much more interested in the hat for this costume than the dress itself – a straw hat with a wide black velvet trim at the outside edge and black hatband.  Then the hat’s crown is covered in ivory silk –with how poofy the silk is, I imagine that there’s also a tulle support under the silk.  The description calls this a ‘bonnet’ – however from what I understand, a bonnet has ties to hold it on.  This one doesn’t have ties, but I’m not sure if the ‘ties’ thing is accurate or not.

Meg's hat from Howard's End

In this shot you can see the black hatband, covering that the poofy ivory silk is actually gathered onto a small band of ivory silk.  There is also a ivory silk… flower?  (with the black stem) I don’t entirely understand this… or perhaps I’m just not seeing it right.

Meg's hat from Howard's End

I also really wanted to get a shot of the underside of the hat, but unfortunately it doesn’t give me quite as much as I would like.  I had thought if it was unlined, I’d be able to see if this was just built on a straw directly (since I could see the straw crown), but since the hat is lined, I can’t really see anything – other than the ivory (silk?) lining.

Promo photo from Howard's End from Cheddar Bay. Click for the original source.

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