A Trip To The OK Corral…

The gunfight at the OK Corral has been a key element in Tombstone’s history and with the current quarantine we’ve been unable to make our usual pilgrimage. So, just to keep the memories fresh, we decided to bump up a post we made sometime ago describing one of our visits. Enjoy!


No trip to Tombstone is complete without a visit to the OK Corral and today both of us at Lily Absinthe paid a visit. The lighting was excellent, reminding us of our visit to Monet’s Giverny Gardens, so we decided to take advantage and get some pictures and soak up some period ambiance. 🙂

Who is that saucy lady? Why, she's Karin McKechnie, the one arm of Lily Absinthe.

Who is that saucy lady? Why, she’s Karin McKechnie, the one arm of Lily Absinthe.

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Out for a drive, Karin insisted on going out without a driver…scandalous!

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Another view, Karin dropped in at Fly’s Studio but fortunately, Ike Clanton had departed long before.

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Adam is checking on his holdings and has been assured that the assay is good.

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Adam dropped in at Fly’s Studio…word has it that Johnny Behan is hiding out there from the Cowboys…

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Adam taking his ease behind the OK Corral…what’s that, no gun? He left it in his other suit…

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Checking out our investment…I am not sure that the automobile will go anywhere but at least it’s in a color other than black.

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Close up outside of the Tombstone Visitor Center.

OK, the last three pictures were actually taken across the street from the OK Corral but hey, it’s close enough. 🙂

As you can see from the above pictures, we’re dressed for a day out on the town in clothing typical of the late 1870s – early 1880s. In the case of Adam’s sack suit, this is a style that eventually segued into the modern business suit and will work for the 1880s through the early 1900s. This particular suit is made from linen with a lining of shirt-weight Pima cotton.

In the case of the Karin’s dress, this is a Parisian-sprigged cotton print trimmed in silk from the c. 1879. This is a dress definitely designed for a warmer climate. So, Gentle Reader, contrary to popular belief, Victorian Era clothing does not have to be dull, drab, and/or uncomfortable! 🙂



A Look Back At The Movie Tombstone…

As we’re leaving No. 11 today, the movie Tombstone hasn’t been far from our thoughts so in honor of the movie, we thought we’d re-post our take on some of the costuming aspects of the movie, so enjoy!


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The Earps and Doc Holiday off to the date with destiny at the OK Corral- From the movie Tombstone.

On a costuming level, the movie Tombstone never fails to excite interest and invariably, the question will arise: “How historically accurate are the costumes?” The short answer is “Somewhat…” Yes, much of the costuming is fairly accurate although one may quibble on the specific details. One of my favorites is the much-maligned Johnny Behan:

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Johnny Behan wearing a tailored blue/gray pin stripe sack suit.

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A better view of Johnny Behan’s suit.

Behan’s is wearing a well-tailored sack suit proper for someone in his position. Unlike the usual image of the scruffy frontier marshal or sheriff, Behan was more of a politician and his primary job was collecting enough tax revenue to keep the Cochise County government financially afloat. The actual work of dealing with criminals was tasked to several deputies.

That said, let’s take a look at the central focus of the movie, Wyatt Earp:

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This is the iconic Wyatt Earp outfit, one that has been widely imitated over the years by those recreating the Earp persona, usually for reenactments of the gunfight at the OK Corral. Now, as for historical accuracy, the coat itself is wrong. There were no ankle-length frock coats. Anything this long would be some sort of greatcoat. The frock coat of the later 19th Century tended to come down to just above the knee.

OK, so it rates a boo and a hiss…or does it? Bear in mind that this is a movie and a movie’s primary goal it to tell a story. Costuming supports this story-telling process and it’s often subject to conscious design changes in order to increase the dramatic effect. In this case, it’s pretty successful, judging from how much it’s imitated and let’s face it, it does increase the dramatic effect, especially when done in black (both the length and color choice were deliberate choices made the director). The effects of black color, coat length, and pictures of it flapping open in the breeze all suggest a superhero figure. So in the end, it’s all about telling a story.

Now just for a little equal time, here’s the Earps and Doc Holliday off to the OK Corral gunfight in the movie Wyatt Earp:

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The Earps and Doc Holiday off to the OK Corral and thei date with destiny- from the movie Wyatt Earl.

Compared to the top picture from Tombstone, the look in the above picture from Wyatt Earp is bit more gritty and less heroic (in fact, the actual gunfight scene itself is a bit anticlimactic in the movie). One is not more “correct” than the other, both go for a specific dramatic effect. Whether one is more effective than the other is subjective, in the eye of the viewer (we have our favorite, too).

So Gentle Readers, where does this leave us? Well, it goes to show that one must be mindful of the historically correct while at the same time being mindful that a movie’s objective differs from simply a recitation of historical events in that it also seeks to entertain. As a rule, costume designers go to great lengths to school themselves on what is historically appropriate for the period being depicted and they know exactly where departures are made.

If one thinks that this is a recent development, it is not. A good example of this in an earlier era is from the movie Gone with the Wind which was released in 1939. in which the costuming of the background and supporting characters is historically correct but the costumes for the lead actors were not. In closing, we view movies with an open mind and believe that costuming for film is an art form all itself and we like that.



Crimson Peak Briefly Revisited…

2016 was a noteworthy year for historical costuming with the release of the movie Crimson Peak and to this day, it’s remained a favorite with us. As noted in a previous post, the costuming was simply captivating and it demonstrates some some of the basic principles regarding the use of color. As a follow-on, the FIDM Museum Blog posted an article about the costumes’ designer Kate Hawley that gives some insight into the thought process that went into the costumes’ design. Hawley uses color to sharply differentiate the characters with the heroine Edith being clothes in lighter colors, mostly shades of yellow, gold, taupe, and the like. In contrast, her nemesis Lucille is dressed in black and dark blue with bright crimson thrown in (the “drop of blood dress” as it’s termed). Just for comparison, here are several color palette/mood boards from the movie. First, Edith:

And then Lucille…there’s two different views:

The contrast in colors between the two characters is fascinating and it’s really obvious from the above mood boards. Color selection has always been central to our designs, even if Gothic horror is not involved. 🙂

Off To The FIDM Museum

Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition

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oday we decided to get out of the house and make our annual pilgrimage to the 27th Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition at the FIDM Museum and enjoy the sunny weather in Downtown Los Angeles. First impressions? From a purely historical perspective, there wasn’t a lot going on this year. However, that said, there was a variety of exciting designs and being able to view the costumes up close in person was fascinating.

First up, are two from the movie Aquaman:

 

This is completely outside of what we do but just the combination of colors caught our eye and they definitely suggest an ocean environment. And speaking of color, here’s a gown from Ocean’s Eight:

The magenta/pink dress color just screams “shocking” in the Schiaparelli tradition and it’s a visual treat to look at. The combination gown with cape is amazing and it’s definitely an eye-catcher. The embroidery was especially striking although we were unable to get a close view of the train. Here’s some more:

Just for contrast, here’s another exquisite gown from the movie but only in shades of green:

The display lighting washes out the shades of green somewhat but trust me, in person they are deep jewel tones and the contrast between the magenta/pink of the first gown and this one is amazing.

Shifting gears a bit, we came across the Old West in the form of several outfits from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs:

In contrast to Ocean’s Eight, the wardrobe here is down to earth, practical, and perfectly fitting with the Old West, with the exception of Buster Scrugg’s outfit which was meant to stand out larger than life.

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And then for something a bit more fantastical, there are these outfits from the remake of Mary Poppins Returns:

Because the lighting wasn’t the best, here’s a better view of this outfit that we lifted off the net:

And then there’s this outfit:

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The styles are certainly interesting, more of an Edwardian “esq” style that anything that’s necessary period correct but hey, it’s meant to be fantastical so there you are. In keeping with the fantastical nature of the movie, here’s some more:

And just for completeness, the costume sketch:

At first, we weren’t sure of what we were looking at- much of the detail on these two outfits was actually painted on, especially for the  women’s dress where all the ruffles are actually painted on. Really! It fooled us at first. After doing a little research, we found out that these were part of an animated/live action musical number in the movie (we haven’t actually seen the movie so we apologize for any omissions). Finally one style note on the above women’s dress- it’s actually more reminiscent of a 1880s style than Edwardian. 🙂

Finally, we conclude with this simple walking outfit from Colette:

Probably the most “historical” of the outfits we viewed (that fits into the 19th Century) and it’s the quintessential day outfit characteristic circa 1900. Here it is from the movie itself, at least for the jacket and skirt:

This has been a somewhat subjective account of our excursion and we freely admit that with the exception of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Colette, we haven’t seen any of the other movies but we fully intend to in the future. Hopefully 2019 will see some more period pieces released. 🙂

 

And It’s That Time Again- Lily Absinthe Goes To The FIDM Museum, Part 2

12th Annual Art of Television Costume Design

And to wrap things up, here’s some more commentary on our latest trip to view the 12th “Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Exhibit” at the FIDM Museum in Los Angeles. After viewing the wardrobe from The Alienist, we then moved on to viewing the latest wardrobe installment from Game of Thrones:

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First up is one of Daenary’s winter looks…not your typical medieval fur coat look.

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Power dressing for Sansa…

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Cersei’s latest look…

And then we saw some interesting outfits from Season 3 of Westworld:

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We have to admit that although we pretty much lost interest in the show after the first season, we did find these costumes compelling from an aesthetic perspective. 🙂 Well, that pretty much concludes our trip to this year’s Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Exhibit at the FIDM Museum. We are looking forward to next year’s exhibit.