Designing the Costumes
The costumes for the drama were designed by Dinah Collin. Her first task was to research the period by collecting pictures and visiting museums.
This project was particularly difficult because there was very little costume of the right period available at the usual costume hire places. This meant most of the costumes would have to be made from scratch.
There were one or two bits of genuine clothing from the early 19th century that could be used for filming. However, most items were far too delicate to be handled. It wasn't even possible to go out and buy the kinds of fabrics that were being used in that time. The only solution was to design and print special fabrics in the styles of the period. These were then made up into specially designed outfits for each character.
Dinah felt it was very important to make the actors look like real people wearing their own clothes. She didn't want them to seem stiff and ill at ease in the costumes. To help with this she spent a lot of time talking to each actor and getting their input.
Elizabeth's clothes were designed to complement her practicality and active nature. Dinah deliberately chose earthy colours like browns, and ensured the clothes would allow Jennifer Ehle to move easily and naturally.
It was vital to think about how the costumes would look to modern eyes as well as bearing in mind period accuracy. This was particularly important for Darcy. As the romantic lead, he had to have costumes that emphasised his masculinity and made it easy to fall in love with him.
Luckily Colin Firth was very interested in getting the costumes right and provided a lot of input. Although everything he wore was completely historically accurate, pieces were selected that looked like clothes that could be bought in the modern era. This gave him a contemporary relevance and ensured that the clothes were attractive to a modern audience.
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