Anyone who has not seen the 1981 Granada Television version of Brideshead Revisited recently may wish to revisit the series, if only to look at the clothing. Costume designer Jane Robinson's work is both subtle and true to the period.
For example, both Charles Ryder, the upper middle class narrator, and Sebastian Flyte, his aristocratic friend, wear tailored clothing. But Flyte obviously has a better tailor than Ryder, whose suits and jackets are consistently more awkward.
I am particularly fond of the second episode, covering the pair's summer visit to Venice in the 1920s. It has a palette of the tans and creams of the season, complemented by the largest assortment of silk neck wraps, which predated day cravates or ascots, ever seen on television (Take a 36" silk square and fold it into a triangle. Wrap it twice around the neck and tie a square knot in front of the throat. Bring the triangle over the knot and adjust to suit).
The awareness of clothing in the series extends to the script. In the first episode, Ryder comes to Oxford for the first time and is given a word of advice by his older cousin. And that is to wear country clothes but eschew odd jackets and flannels in favor of suits.
Eminently suitable for those in need of a clothing fix.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Photo: Granada Television/Everett Collection