Marlo de Vaal presented a talk focusing on how the legacy of Regency fashion (1811 – 1820) has been translated on-screen addressing the question, “Does inaccurate always mean bad?” Marlo discussed the numerous adaptations of Jane Austen’s most famous novels and how despite the fact that Austen provides few descriptions of her characters’ outer appearances, the empire style gown is now almost intrinsically linked with Austen’s characters on screen. The talk explored what takes precedence in period costuming and whether or not inaccuracy is equivalent to a bad costume. After some historical context and explanations of the fashion of the era, Marlo showed us pictures from several Regency time period films, pointing out fashion inaccuracies and explaining the filming reasons why these occur. She explained how costumes are used in films to tell a story and how this can determine the style of the clothes as well as the colours used in the costumes. We looked at common mistakes in films. For example, the display of a woman’s cleavage, whereas in history the décolletage would have been covered up; and the absence of bonnets for the very practical reason that they hide an actor’s face in many camara angles. The talk ended with a “Who Wore it Best” segment depicting certain costumes that have been rented and used in multiple films.

More about Marlo: She is a Board member of the BC Society for the Museum of Original Costume (SMOC), and a feature writer for their newsletter. She has a Diploma in Costuming for Stage & Screen from Capilano University, has worked in the Vancouver film industry on Movies of the Week, including the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, and is currently studying Fashion Marketing at the Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Before the presentation, we heard from a few members about upcoming local events. As a follow-up to December’s meeting on quilting, Lorraine Meltzer brought in a quilt gifted to her from her children that incorporated t-shirts worn by her late husband. She then read a couple excerpts from Pride & Prejudice featuring Lydia Bennett in chapters 47 and 51. A potluck followed with several members enjoying lively conversation and good food.

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