And For Some More Dracula- Part 3

In the past two installments, we took a really good look at Mina Harker’s wardrobe and pointed out the historical elements. Today, we turn our attention to Mina’s ill-fated companion, Lucy Westenra who is distinct contrast to the more virtuous Mina, oozing sexuality and breaking every rule of Victorian Era propriety. Naturally, Lucy’s wardrobe reflects this to varying degrees and we first start with two dresses that are somewhat tame, giving just a hint of what’s to come with the off-the-shoulder sleeves:

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Lucy’s dress was designated as the “Snake Dress” by the Costume Designer because of the decorative trim pattern. Also, as an aside, Mina’s dress on the right only shows up briefly and there’s no other documentation or pictures of it. Here’s a better view of the Snake Dress:

cap009This appears to be an attempt at an evening dress and while it sort of reads “1890s,” it just doesn’t work. Combining a off-the-shoulder neckline with full Gigot sleeves appears awkward and simply looks like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.

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Day Dress, English, c. 1816 – 1821; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.55-1934)

d6590603c00bc9569ea24835bea4d348Lucy’s dress in the above picture is more reminiscent of the Romantic Era of the 1820s – 1830s with the sleeves which are a combination of the Demi-Gigot and Marie sleeves. The off-the-shoulder neckline would most likely be seen with evening dresses and ball gowns although it sometimes showed up in day dresses. Here are a couple of examples:

Demi-Gigot SleevesThe contrast between the demure Mina and the more forward Lucy and it shows in the dress. In both shots, Mina is covered up (especially in the one above).

Now, things escalate a bit with this completely fantastical dress:

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This dress is the perfect symbol of Lucy’s transformation in a vampire in thrall to Dracula and her dress screams this out to the audience. Color-wise, this is not really a good match for a red head but, as more than one commentator has noted, it was probably selected because it shows up nicely for the night scenes. In terms of Victorian morality, Lucy has definitely gone off the rails here. Can we say “Vamp”? 🙂

And now for what is probably what is the most disturbing dress (at least for us) in the whole film: Lucy’s wedding dress (we touched on a lot of this in a previous post so this may be a bit repetitious). Here are the concept sketches:

eiko_ishioka_dracula_1The dress is an ocean of layered white fabric, tulle, and lace topped off by an extremely wide stiff lace collar reminiscent of an Elizabethan ruff. This dress oozes the concept of the virginal white wedding dress and it’s impossible for the viewer to miss. In this picture, we see it in its most innocent guise when Dr. Seward visits Lucy while she is being fitted for the dress:

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Unfortunately, because these are screen captures, the dress is not that clear but one can still see the elements and especially the close, upright collar that was typical of many 1890s dresses. Here’s a closer view of the collar:

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The seeming very picture of innocence…

Here we see the pearl choker necklace, or “dog collar”, characteristic of 1890s style.

Now we shift to a darker guise after Lucy seemingly dies from being drained of her blood by Dracula. Lucy is then interred in a crypt wearing the wedding dress. However, as we find out, she’s now a vampire herself:

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Lucy, now deceased…or is she?

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The vampire Lucy stopped short by the crucifix.

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Vampire Lucy attempts to use her charms on her helpless bridegroom Arthur.

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These images pretty much demonstrate the horror that has befallen poor Lucy and the dress underscores this dramatically. From what is supposed to represent the epitome of innocence and beauty has been transformed into a grotesque garment of horror. Here, the costume designer has succeeded brilliantly and it definitely supports the impact of the story. In our next post we’ll be winding everything up so stay tuned and we hope we didn’t shock you too badly.  🙂

To be continued…





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