Ragency era Fashion is here to stay – at least that’s what Netflix wants us to think. Just a few months after the departure of the new season of Bridgetonthe streaming platform released Jane Austen’s conviction With Dakota Johnson and Henry Goldling.
The occupation costumes were inspired by ephemera from the period: dresses, museum pieces and paintings. And although Reviews were, um, varied, there is no denying that the film is gorgeous to watch. From the colorful dresses with empire waists to the simple accessories – all designed in an artificial color palette – Regency era costumes are in conviction offer contemporary clothing with a more contemporary edge, with lower waists and a calmer and more minimalist aesthetic.
conviction‘s heroine is Anne Elliot, everyone’s low-key Austen favorite; as always, she is involved in a suitor’s drama. There’s the unsuitable suitor, Captain Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), aka the man she loved – but was deemed an unsuitable suitor by her aristocratic family. And then there’s dashing curveball admirer Mr. Elliot (Golding). Let the tense emotions begin.
before convictionFor the release, we caught up with the film’s London-based costume designer, Marianne Agertoft, whose credits include Poldark, utopia and Netflix Cursed.
How did you prepare for Persuasion?
We had precious little time conviction and only had nine weeks to prepare before we started filming. We started everything from scratch, from assembling the team to finding the makers, finding the workspace and creating the budget.
My mood boards are always the starting point. The mood boards evolve as more specific cut and color details are added for each character and as the characters’ “journey” or story becomes clearer.
How did the costumes come together?
The resulting mood boards serve to communicate with the director, the set designer and the cameraman. We’re collaborating on textures and colors that bring the overall look of the film together. The color palette and texture is very important to me, I mainly work with patterns when they create texture rather than contrast. A lot of time is spent dying fabrics and working textures into each and every garment.
I make very simple sketches and work with the cutter to achieve the final cuts of the garments during fitting. This allows me to get the actor’s visual and verbal feedback.
What was the inspiration behind the costumes?
MA: Some designs were based on paintings from that time. Details are inspired by cuts from historical garments and museum pieces. Another inspiration was the script, which felt contemporary – it had attitude and humor.
What was your style inspiration for the role of Anne Elliot, and how involved was Dakota Johnson?
My initial mood board had images of three other heroines that I felt illustrated different sides of Anne Elliot: Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, and Audrey Hepburn. I wanted to give her style a simpler, more timeless ease and unique feel compared to her sisters’ more typical Regency style.
I shared all the mood boards (with all the characters, not just Anne Elliot) with Dakota so she knew where I wanted to go with the characters to give her a reference point to make up her own mind. Dakota was generous with her time and her input was crucial.
The fittings were exciting and packed with many garments to develop. There were items that were discarded in the fittings but then brought in during the course of filming. There was one riding hat in particular that seemed like too much at the fitting stage, but Dakota felt it was right once we were on site.
What about your inspiration for Cosmo Jarvis’ Captain Frederick Wentworth and Henry Golding’s Mr. Elliot?
It was a pleasure to don the attractive and interesting, but somewhat awkward, hero that Cosmo portrays. The civilian costumes were all about the textures and feel of the sea. The deliberate wear and tear of all his clothes adds warmth and sets him apart from Mr. Elliot and Sir Walter.
The Western dueling feel between Wentworth and Mr Elliot when they first meet on the stunning cliff top was Henry’s main inspiration. This includes a popular but dented top hat that we ended up having to give him for the first few days of shooting. The bespoke Italian top hats we made for the production got stuck at the border because of Brexit and didn’t get to us until a week into shooting.
How important is the equipment of the supporting roles?
The supporting cast and their contribution in terms of what they wear and how they wear their clothes is crucial to enhance or enhance the looks of the main characters. Their costumes help us visually set the tone of the main cast. In this way, nuances in the story can be created and amplified that the audience can relate to visually.
Did you have a favorite look or character? Was there a look that particularly surprised or excited you?
I really enjoyed creating Nikki Amuka Bird’s character, the one and only Lady Russel. She is a strong woman who has guarded and inspired Anne despite convincing her to let go of Wentworth. There are deliberate similarities in cut and individuality in Anne and Lady Russell’s wardrobes. It was a wonderful opportunity to gain artistic freedom – my favorite attire for Lady Russel is the gold fur coat she wears in the opening scenes.
What was a typical working day on the set like for you?
Filming was entirely location-based, so you have to be constantly moving. This makes the days even more varied and less predictable. The reality is that I spent very little time on set. I generally start the day on set setting up costumes to make sure we have everything in place. Other days I have to juggle the set to keep preparations going in London (or close by) for upcoming characters or costumes that are still needed for the cast. That often meant going back to our costume base in London, unless we’d managed to set up a costume room close to location.
What was the most difficult part of working on Persuasion?
We were a small team from the start. We were then challenged by many of us having to self-isolate due to Covid and the team was stretched. That it might not show in the end is a testament to the dedication and perseverance of everyone who was part of the extraordinary costume team.
Without spoiling any of the details, what should fans look forward to with the film?
The Flirt Squid Talk.