Saturday, August 12, 2017

Cinema Wedding Gowns: My Cousin Rachel (1953)

 
Last month My Cousin Rachel starring Rachel Weisz premiered in theaters. While I'm normally against remakes, when it's based on a book rather than a remake of an original movie script - especially a period piece - I'm fine with it. In such cases the films can be vastly different, especially when one was made during the days of the Hays Code and no CGI. I have not seen Weisz's version yet, but I thought it would be fun to take a look at Olivia de Havilland's version of Rachel for this month's first Cinema Wedding Gown.
 
 
The wedding scene occurs in a delirious dream of Richard Burton's while he is extremely ill. The enigmatic Rachel (de Havilland) cares for him during this time and when he gets better he insists that they are married and she insists it was a dream. Either way, de Havilland is absolutely gorgeous in her wedding gown, which can be seen in the promotional photos below. Displayed proximately is a family necklace, which is one of the reasons Rachel is not trusted. Is the family fortune all she wants (she's the widow of Burton's brother)?

 
I wanted to take screenshots of the scene but it's not on youtube and the movie isn't being shown on TCM anytime soon. Below is an image that shows (almost) the full-length dress as well as the sketch by costumer Dorothy Jeakins.

 
The gown is made of heavy cream satin, off the shoulders, and with flared three quarter length sleeves. There is lace appliqued on the front of the bodice, which has panels and is pointed in the front where it is attached to a full gathered skirt that just touches the floor. A floor length piece of exquisite lace is pinned to the back of her head. The sketch shows a different veil perched on the crown of the head with a piece over the face. You will notice the necklace is also different.

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