Lately we’ve gone gaga for Reign, but it’s not the first show to have costumes so outrageous that message boards everywhere explode as crotchety history fangirls vent their rage. Let’s look at a few other productions that regarded their time/place settings as mere suggestions (and I’m not talking rubber boots in The White Queen or a concealed zip in Inglorious Bassterds, I’m talking cray cray Shannyn-Sossoman-as-a-sexy-lampshade-level anachronistic).
1. A Knight’s Tale
I get that this movie is supposed to be a funky, slightly screwy skew on the age of chivalry. I was clued into that by the crowd grooving to “We Will Rock You” in the first scene. Some of the outfits, however, are more like what the funky. Observe Jocelyn in the scene below:
She’s dressed for bopping at a Spice Girls gig, not slithering around to David Bowie. And what about the sexy lampshade look I referenced?
I’ll admit this movie is a masterpiece with an awesome plot and brilliant actors, but the sheer amount of sheer clothing and neon makeup baffles me.
2. The Tudors
“What the heck?” I hear you cry. “The Tudors is so realistic, I can practically smell the BO of courtiers who only washed once a year!” I’m inclined to agree with you, save for one vital piece of costume tomfoolery — what’s going on atop Natalie Dormer’s head?
Yo Annie B, the Statue of Liberty called. She wants her hat back. And what about the scene where Anne first catches Henry’s eye, flitting around in white?
Masques were often performed in what were considered skimpy outfits, but they definitely didn’t include Urban Decay face spangles.
3. Marie Antoinette
One word: Converse.
Fifteen words: I really doubt there was plum coloured lipstick and this amount of risky bathing business.
Three words: I want candy. (I actually do, now.)
4. Once Upon a Time
Before you start down the road of “this is a fantasy show!”, I’m well aware. Fact is, while some parts are rooted in history, some really, really aren’t. Here’s Prince Charming David James, looking so sixteenth century that he and Henry VIII could have been buddies.
And here’s Snow White, wearing a prom dress, alongside several of the pros from Dancing with the Stars. What other explanation is there for the lady in peach?
That’s not even mentioning Aurora’s Jenny Packham-style gauzy gowns, the amount of pairs of trousers worn by women, and never knowing what anyone’s name actually is.
This one’s just for fun, because it was never Elizabeth Taylor playing Cleopatra; it was Cleopatra playing to Elizabeth Taylor’s taste in clothes, jewellery and temper tantrums.
HRH Liz may be an idol of mine, but the Greek Cleopatra is unlikely to have had long, flowing raven locks (sources suggest she may have been a redhead) or have worn so many Egyptian-style ensembles. Props to any woman who wears that much bling to bed, however.
Richard Burton in leopard print gets a free pass, though. He’s Richard Burton.
So you see, dear readers, Reign wasn’t the first to raise eyebrows and hemlines (as well as razing the history books), and it won’t be the last. Do you have any favourite historical fashion faux pas? Let us know in the comments down below.