Crimson Peak - or Bad girls and Good Clothes

So we went to see Crimson Peak last night, after all the gushing fellow costumers had done I couldn't wait any longer. 

* I've tried to talk about the movie in general terms and not spoiler things too much but if you like to go in knowing nothing you may want to wait until after you've seen the movie to read this...
So I'll start by saying I'm a HUGE fan of Victorian Gothic fiction. I own just about everything Wilkie Collins and J.S. LeFanu ever wrote, and numerous volumes of Victorian ghost stories besides, so I was looking forward to the story as well as the costumes. And while it was quite good I'm sorry to say it disappointed me on both counts. Part of my love of Victorian Sensation/Gothic fiction is the slow ramp of of tension, where everything seems slightly wrong, and to me this felt a bit too much like a modern horror film - more jump scares and less of that slow build of tension. While the antagonists were wonderfully wicked I was left feeling like the protagonists were less fully realized.

As far as the costumes go they were all certainly well-crafted and rich in color, but Mia Wasikowski definitely got the less interesting of the costumes. 

 I mean really - would you rather wear this? 

Goth royalty!

Or this? (My husband said she had Mother Hubbard clothes and Hilary Clinton hair!)

I like the belt and the man, but those colors do nothing for poor Mia.

I'd heard that DelToro wanted Mia's character to be sunny and light, like a butterfly, but to me she just seemed a little boring.  

Even my nightie is prettier than yours!

I know, the bad girl wasn't even wearing the same era clothing as the ingenue, and that certainly was part of the problem, natural form gowns are just more graceful to my eyes than ginormous 1890s sleeves.  But they did give Mia a few nice outfits -

While I'm not keen on this rather dull mustard color
I thought it was a nice and flattering walking suit.
(But it's not reminding me of a butterfly AT ALL.)

And the ballgown she wore was also pretty.  But in general she looked less like a butterfly and more like a bit of a drip.   But then, I've always had a gothy side so gowns like these are just more appealing to me.

What did you think?


  1. I just saw this last night! I actually really enjoyed it; definitely one of the most visually striking movies of the year. The walls literally bleeding clay was a stroke of genius. I agree about the slight over-use of yellow (being a platinum blond myself I've always thought that yellow is not our colour) and that some of Edith's (Mia Wasikowska) day outfits were not wonderful - simply because I tend not to like 1890s sleeves and tailoring. And her ballgown/hairstyle did absolutely nothing for me. However, overall I loved the costuming, and I thought that her canary yellow gown with the black ribbon down the back and her wispy Watteau peignoir that she swoops around the house in were *to die for* and I want them so much.

    I thought it did look like she was choking on her nightgown, but del Toro is heavy on symbolism in his movies and with this in mind it makes sense: this is the point in the movie when (SPOILER AHEAD) she's being literally poisoned and metaphorically suffocated, and is particularly vulnerable, and the combination of the high, choke-y ruffles and wispy, almost see-through body of her nightgown reflects this.

    Also, can we talk about evil sister's (Jessica Chastain) braid near the end of the movie, and how gloriously epic it is!? It loops down, drapes over her shoulder, and hangs down again to at least her hips, with all that hair twisted around it like vines. Amaaaaazing. Edith's hair is pretty wonderful when it's down, too, although I agree that it looks silly when it's up in those 1890s coiffures.

    1. I did like the canary yellow one more as time went on, I think seeing that it was so bright yellow made it more attractive.

      And yes, strangulating on the nightgown, that does make sense!

      Lucille looked amazing throughout, I just loved her.

  2. I haven't seen this yet, but I can't wait! The pictures all look so stunningly interesting. The only thing that consistently bugs me is the "hand" belt that Mia's character wears with the yellow and white outfit. It's interesting, but it's such an iconic 1930s Shiaparelli piece that it throws me right out of the period.

    1. It is very striking visually. Ironically the hand belt was one of my favorites of hers! I know the Victorians did a lot of sentimental jewelry and this reminds me a lot of a mourning hand broach I have.

      I didn't know about the Shiaparelli connection, interesting!

  3. I haven't seen the movie yet, but really want to (so I just perused you general statements about the costuming). For me, I first fell in love with the Victorian era by way of the 1890s and was dubbed "The 90s Girl" in SASS, so I am absolutely in love with Mia's wardrobe! I want to make them all and so very much covet the hands shaking belt buckle. After making the fussy outfits of other eras, in particular the NFE and First Bustle eras, I find the clean lines and simplicity of the 90s very relaxing! I so cannot wait to watch the movie!!

    1. Well you do look lovely in that era. And I'm not adverse to ALL 1890s, it's mostly the sleeves bigger than my head I have a problem with. ;)

      I actually loved the hand belt, probably my favorite Edith piece.

      I'd love to hear what you thought of it!


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