The Washerwoman

The Washerwoman

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Nice frock.........?

I have just watched the fascinating and enjoyable BBC programme of the story of Enid Blyton (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00nxkm8/b00nxklj/Enid/) There were superb sets, excellent acting and all very evocative of the period.. BUT..... why oh why did they have to use a total of 3 Cath Kidston dresses? Some might say I am being hyper critical, but in this day and age when there are dozens of vintage fairs where costume designers can find plenty of original 40's dresses it does seem a great shame to resort to the High Street.
I have nothing against the pretty designs of CK, far from it as I own several of her dresses (including the one shown above!) I just feel that if you are putting on a "costume drama" of this type & quality it should be true to the era. It certainly cannot be a question of cost as these CK dresses retail at about £80- £90 each and you can still buy a good 40's dress at a vintage or Antique fair for anything between £45 and £75. One may also argue that sizing is tricky, there are ways around this as dresses can be made from vintage patterns using vintage fabric, both of which can be found on the Internet or specialist fairs. Helena Bonham Carter looks to be an average size, but it was she who was wearing the CK dresses, another character called Dorothy wore some great vintage dresses (but appeared to be the larger size of the two women).
Come on BBC costume department, stop being so lazy & get out there to see what is on offer!

Thank you for your comments on this one, I had no idea that there was no longer a "BBC costume dept". What a shame. However it still doesn't excuse the fact that whoever worked on this production took the easy way out.

17 comments:

Rosie said...

I had no idea they were CK dresses as I am not a huge fan. The fabrics and clothes etc are lovely but the cost always put me off buying anything.
I am shocked they didn't use vintage dresses which would have been much more authentic. After CK was around in Enid's time!

Floss said...

Well, that is lazy! Surely the costume people adore searching for the real thing, anyway? Do you think it was a sneaky form of Product Placement?

I've just clicked that link and it's not available outside the UK. I am gutted... I suppose it's because we don't pay the licence fee...

Clare said...

Quite agree! i do like CK but its very much a love/hate relationship!!Its such a shame they didn't do it properly!

Vintage to Victorian at Dairy House Antiques said...

Well said Liz - whatever possessed them to go straight to CK?

Sx

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Hello Lizzie

I am yet to see it. Although I am a fan of CK things including clothes, I agree with you. The CK dresses should not have been used, they should have been vintage!As you say it's not like there aren't plenty out there..Unlike the BBC really, they are usually so good when it comes to detail and costumes!
Isabelle x

Elegancemaison said...

The truth is that there is no BBC costume dept anymore. Sold off years ago when I lived in Ealing, only a 15 minutes from their storage department yet did not go to the sale!!! Curiously I met the last BBC head of costume at Frock Me! vintage fashion fair in Chelsea Town Hall in September. She now lectures in California and muttered darkly about the former DG John Birt who sold off all the BBC 'silver'. These days it's all down to independent production companies. Having sold period vintage items to the equally independent stylists for the ITV series, Poiret and Miss Marple, I am beginning to despair of the BBC. I haven't yet viewed 'Enid' but am already disappointed. How crass of the stylists, and as you say, hardly money-saving. (Though I have also sold wonderful vintage quilts (c1880s/1900) to Cath Kidston herself, but like all designers she 'channels' vintage designs into modern styles.)

Hens Teeth said...

Couldn't agree more.

Attention to detail BBC, this is a cop out!

OhSoVintage said...

Oh I have missed this programme so shall see if it is available on 'Catchup' or watch it on the link you gave. How ridiculous to use CK dresses. Their costume dept must be ginormous and surely they would have suitable dresses anyway. You should contact them and complain and tell them you would have been more than happy to sell them the real thing.
Re Packhouse. I have decided not to continue with this as it is just too far away for me to visit as often as necessary. Shame but I shall concentrate on the website.
Ruth x

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

So interesting to read your point of view on this, Lizzie. I do agree but very surprised that they did do it as the Brits are famous around the globe for their wonderful period costumes. I cannot wait to see this! I hope it comes to Australia soon. Helena is one of my favourite actors and Enid a very loved favourite. I do love that frock she is wearing but agree with your point! xx

tracey @ the vintage bothy said...

Hi there Lizzie, I think that I spoke to you at the V&H, because I just missed a lovely black fabric coloured chest of drawers, thanks for the comments about my cards, my own photography!
I am appauled at the use of CK in this production, I didn't watch it but will now! In the past I have sold authentic items for film productions & as we know most NEW vintage is more expensive than ORIGINAL so how silly of them. I am in the can take it or leave it with CK although I do have a collection (2) of her bags!!! Tracey

OhSoVintage said...

No BBC costume dept!!! Why? I am amazed!
I have just spent 1.5 hrs by the fire, sewing and watching this programme this afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wonder how like or unlike Enid this is. Was she really so cold? Anyway thanks for blogging about it, otherwise I would have missed it.
Ruth x

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Liz,
A very interesting post - and I quite agree with your point of view. Although I didn't see the TV drama and wouldn't have known this was a CK dress.
Helena is such a beautiful lady - and I would guess is quite petite, so I'm sure would have had the perfect frame for original 40's dresses...I know which I'd have preferred they'd used!
Niki x

Janean said...

the colors in the dress (frock) are so beautiful. the sweater is a lovely compliment too!

Elegancemaison said...

Having done a bit more research I discovered that Enid was made by Carnival Films productions for the BBC(and who also made the Poiret series for ITV!) According to the entertainment page on BBC.co.uk, Enid was a low budget effort made within a short production time. Many of the 'period' costumes were loaned to the production by Bonham Carter herself. " I was even paid a rental fee,practically more than I was paid as an actor." The costume designer is named as Lucinda Wright on the credits and the name seems familiar. Perhaps borrowed costumes and an easily obtained CK dress or two was more expedient on this occasion. But they foolishly reckoned without the hordes of eagle-eyed CK fans who were almost the target audience for this nostalgic period piece!

BusyLizzie said...

wow Cecile, you are quite a sleuth! well done!!!!
Lizzie x

Eni said...

I am glad that Helena Bonham Carter's movie on Enid Blyton coincides with the publication of my book on the writer titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (www.bbotw.com).

Stephen Isabirye

BusyLizzie said...

thanks "Eni".. will check it out!