Watch Vogue Historian Reality Checks HBO’s The Gilded Age | Would They Put on That?

[Presenter] That is Agnes Van Rhijn.

That is Bertha Russell.

them from The Gilded Age.

You could bear in mind this elegant ensemble.

And who may neglect this iconic look?

Hmm. However are they correct?

We requested this style historian.

Hello. I am Raissa Bretaña and I am a style historian

[Presenter] To stroll us by what The Gilded Age

acquired proper and what they acquired principally proper about these seems.

[Raissa] The Gilded Age is an HBO authentic sequence

that chronicles the drama that follows New York society

on the finish of the nineteenth century.

[Presenter] You’ll have heard of the well-known time interval

coined by Mark Twain in 1873,

however what precisely is the Gilded Age?

The Gilded Age refers to a interval in American historical past

that stretched from the tip of the Civil Warfare

to the flip of the twentieth century.

This period was outlined by speedy urbanization,

technological development, and financial development,

however it was additionally marked by unbelievable wealth disparity.

The opening title card locations us within the yr 1882.

The present is about in New York Metropolis.

On the present, the fictional Van Rhijn and Russell households

stay throughout the road from one another

on the nook of Fifth Avenue and East 61st Avenue.


Welcome to East 61st Avenue, Miss Marian.

This units the scene for the longstanding feud

between outdated and new cash.

We solely obtain the outdated individuals on this home,

not the brand new.

By no means the brand new

Costume designer, Kasia Walicka-Maimone,

heightened the social divide

by making a dramatic visible distinction

between these two teams.

The designer took benefit of the wealthy visible tradition

from the interval, and drew inspiration from this selection

of main sources like work, images,

style plates, and surviving clothes.

[Presenter] Hmm. What are style plates?

Vogue plates have been the illustrations that have been included

in style magazines through the nineteenth century.

It’s totally clear that Kasia researched style plates

from the interval as a result of there are lots of costumes

all through the sequence that appear like actual duplicates

of types that appeared in magazines.

For those who’re a style fanatic like me,

you may need additionally acknowledged a number of the costumes

as replicas of present clothes from museum collections.

Previous cash type was all about refinement and respectability.

[Presenter] So how nicely did the present

showcase these variations?

Let’s get into the seems.

First up, Mrs. Van Rhijn’ afternoon look

This look seems in episode one

and can be thought of a day ensemble.

Christine Baranski performs Agnes Van Rhijn,

who’s an imposing matriarch that represents the values

of Previous New York.

You belong to Previous New York, my pricey,

and do not let anybody let you know completely different.

Agnes, alongside together with her sister Ada and their niece Marian,

is descended from the extremely regarded Livingston line.

However she does marry into the Van Rhijn household

for monetary safety.

You have been allowed the pure and tranquil lifetime of a spinster.

I used to be not.

I am very grateful.

As a member of the best echelon of society,

she would’ve adhered to a strict coat of gown

that ruled a girl of her place.

This included altering as much as 5 instances a day.

Hardly. You want 4 outfits a day on the minimal,

respectable jewels, and a full dance card.

[Raissa] All through the sequence

she’s seen carrying a wide range of ensembles,

whether or not within the residence or out for social gatherings.

[Presenter] Let’s get into the layers, we could?

First up, the undergarments

Ladies have been required to put on a number of layers

of undergarments throughout this era.

We get a glimpse of Agnes’s undergarments

when she goes to go to her gown maker for a becoming.

The primary layer can be the chemise,

and this was the layer that was worn closest to the pores and skin.

Beneath she can be carrying drawers or pantalets,

which have been bloomer-like undergarments that have been worn

on the decrease half of the physique.

As they’d for hundreds of years, ladies on this period have been required

to put on stockings.

[Presenter] Up subsequent, the corset.

Corsets have been structured basis clothes

that sculpted the torso into the trendy silhouette

of the interval.

I am going as much as change. I wish to get out of this corset.

[Presenter] Up subsequent it is all concerning the bustle.

When it got here to style within the 1870s and Eighties,

it was all concerning the bustle.

The bustle was a metal basis garment

that gave skirts of this era their distinctive form.

Throughout this era, it was very trendy

to have a slender waistline and a voluminous posterior.

The bustle outlined style through the 1870s and Eighties.

However there was a quick interval within the very late seventies

and early eighties the place it diminished

in favor of a extra streamlined silhouette.

We see Agnes debating the evolution of bustle dimension

together with her gown maker in her becoming.

I ought to level out that bustles are getting smaller

for most individuals. I’m not most individuals.

[Presenter] Discuss iconic. Subsequent up, petticoat.

Yep, we’re nonetheless on underwear.

The petticoat was a cotton skirt-like undergarment

that offered an extra layer for heat, quantity,

and modesty, which was a precedence

for women throughout this period.

[Presenter] And now, afternoon gown.

There have been sure design options

that will make a gown acceptable for morning, afternoon,

or night, akin to neckline or sleeve size.

For the afternoon, the sleeves may very well be shortened

to disclose the forearm, however the chest needed to stay lined,

which might make this open neck line inaccurate.

It is a rule not usually adhered to in interval costuming,

and we see many characters all through the sequence

with uncovered chests through the day.

This may not have been acceptable,

particularly at this echelon of society.

Clothes within the trendy silhouette

featured a sculpted bodice that dipped low in entrance

and was fitted over the hips.

The skirt would have fullness to accommodate

the protruding bustle and extra decorations

to emphasise the bottom.

Trendy gown of the late nineteenth century is notable

for its heavy ornamentation.

In 1882, skirts for indoor put on tended to have

a little bit of a prepare, and we see Agnes drag hers

by the dust as she dramatically storms

throughout the road to barge into the Russell’s home.

[indistinct commotion] [thrilling music]

Dressing nicely was such an essential a part of society life,

that as quickly as Marion arrives in New York, Agnes sends her

straight to her gown maker to get new garments made.

First we should attend to your garments, my pricey.

You will go tomorrow with Ada to my gown maker.

At this fee, I ought to have extra garments

than the princess of Wales.

But when Mrs. Van Rhijn insists, who am I to object?

[Presenter] That brings us to hair and make-up.

Agnes wears her hair in a braided updo,

which is completely correct, however comes throughout

as a bit extra extreme, particularly compared

with the softer types we see on the opposite characters.

An higher class girl was anticipated to put on her hair up

each time she was seen in public,

after being formally introduced to society.

Gladys Russell is the one character we see

have her hair usually down all through the season,

however that is as a result of she has not but formally out in society.

In any other case, the one time we see characters

together with her hair down or in a unfastened braid,

is once they’re of their personal quarters.

[Presenter] And what about make-up?

Agnes would not going be carrying any seen make-up

as a result of there have been detrimental ethical connotations

linked to ladies who did.

A lady of Agnes’s character and social standing

didn’t welcome these associations.

That’s no excuse for risking the popularity

of each woman within the room.

[Presenter] Arising, we’ve jewellery.

Mrs. Van Rhijn wears a pair of dangling earrings,

which might’ve been very trendy for the interval.

In different scenes, she additionally wears a broach.

Most of the characters put on neck broaches

with their daytime apparel.

There was a spread of types that featured carved cameos,

seed pearls, inlaid enamel, and even human hair.

You heard me. Human hair.

Morning jewellery was a typical method

to commemorate the dearly departed.

Usually a lock of hair can be encased in a bit of jewellery,

like a broach, and worn as an act of remembrance.

Such a bit of jewellery can be acceptable for a widow

like Agnes, if she had any affection for her late husband.

[Presenter] Ouch.

Me, with the Van Rhijn cash,

which was not achieved for free of charge to myself.

[Presenter] Onto our subsequent layer, boots.

Excessive-buttoned, leather-based boots the place the usual

for daytime put on.

The type prevailed all through the late nineteenth

and early twentieth centuries because the on a regular basis footwear alternative

for the working class and higher class alike.

These boots prolonged up over the ankle, and offered modesty

and protection for these perilous moments

when skirts could should be lifted.

For instance, when strolling concerning the metropolis

or getting out and in of a carriage.

[Presenter] Who may neglect the equipment?

Agnes wears this look within the consolation of her own residence.

But when she have been to exit, there can be just a few mandatory

equipment to finish her ensemble.

First, she would want a pair of gloves,

and these may very well be bought at malls.

We see Marion buy two pairs at Bloomingdale’s,

which in 1882 was positioned near the Van Rhijn residence,

on Third Avenue and East 56th Avenue.

A hat was required at any time when a girl left the home.

We see a big selection of trendy hat types

through the charity bazaar scene.

Some have been formed extra like bonnets with ribbons

that tied beneath the chin, and others featured

extra of a tall crown with a shorter upturned brim.

However nearly all have been lavishly embellished with trimmings

like ribbons and lace and feathers.

When open air, ladies usually carried parasols,

which offered safety from the solar.

[Presenter] Each woman who loves purse, proper?

Purses function essential plot gadgets

at a number of factors all through the sequence.

Throughout this time, ladies turned extra autonomous

and acquired to maneuver across the metropolis on their very own

and with out male companions.

In order that they wanted purses so they may maintain their very own cash

and their different private results.

Purses have been additionally mandatory for carrying calling playing cards.

These would’ve been used when society ladies

made social visits to one another’s properties.

However you may give her my card and this envelope.

[Butler] You will say I referred to as? After all, ma’am.

This was all a part of a really strict set of etiquette

that ruled the higher class.

Mrs. Astor is within the corridor. What?

She wonders in case you have time to see her.

[Presenter] So this is what Agnes would’ve seemed like

in comparison with what she wore within the sequence.

General, this look is generally correct

and a fantastic illustration of fashions from the interval.

[Presenter] So now that we have taken a glance

on the customs of outdated cash, let’s step into the style

and flare of a brand new cash ensemble.

Subsequent up, Bertha Russell’s ballgown.

Bertha Russell is a spouse and mom who will cease

at nothing to be accepted into New York society.

She is portrayed by actress Carrie Coon.

Is that from the Palazzo Borghesi?

No, the Hôtel de Soubise within the Marais.

We completed the gilding within the ballroom, Mr. Russell.

No. You assume you’ve completed the gilding,

Mr. Kowalski, however nothing is completed until I resolve.

I do not need my outdated buddies. I would like new buddies.

The Russell household bears similarities

to the well-known Vanderbilt household, who additionally made their fortune

within the railroad business.

Bertha is determined to interrupt into excessive society,

and tries to make connections with the main members

by any means mandatory.

So, now they know we’re right here.

Bertha Russell’s character is loosely primarily based

on Alva Vanderbilt, who had an actual life face off

with Mrs. Astor in 1883 over the attendance of her ball.

That is the incident that will encourage the season finale.

I collect my daughter Caroline

won’t now dance at your ball tonight.

Certainly, she is now not invited. Is that appropriate?


For the large occasion within the season finale,

Bertha wears a ballgown, which was essentially the most formal class

of night apparel and subsequently commanded the best sum.

Ladies spent some huge cash on clothes through the Gilded Age

as a result of appearances have been every part.

Upwardly cellular nouveau riche ladies like Bertha Russell

had a style for the dramatic and for the avant-garde.

She would’ve patronized essentially the most highly-regarded

European style homes.

These have been the identical style homes patronized

by the outdated cash set.

Nonetheless, these ladies have been within the behavior

of shopping for the most recent types,

however then maintaining them of their closets for a yr or two,

in order to not seem too fashion-forward.

Bertha Russell wouldn’t try this.

Whereas outdated cash ladies tended to be extra modest,

nouveau riche ladies actually needed to indicate off

their new wealth.

[Presenter] Let’s draw this robe layer by layer.

Regardless of their variations, ladies of the outdated cash

and new cash units principally wore the identical undergarments.

Bertha would even be carrying a chemise, pantalets,

and a pair of stockings.

Chemises for night put on tended to have thinner straps

as a result of extra of the chest in arms can be uncovered.

[Presenter] we won’t neglect the corset.

The silhouette of the Eighties corset

featured a slender waistline, a rounded stomach,

and fullness on the hips.

Stitched channels encased strips of boning,

and that is what gave a course at its rigidity.

An higher class girl like Bertha would have a girl’s maid

to decorate her and to keep up her each day wardrobe.

Will there be anything, ma’am?

You inform me. Will there?

It may be higher with out the broach.

It is an excessive amount of?

Sure, it is an excessive amount of.

[Presenter] For the following layer, we’ve the bustle once more.

The bustle was a style staple that each

nouveau riche ladies and the outdated society ladies

deemed important for a trendy ensemble.

There are number of bustle varieties

that have been used to realize posterior fullness.

[Presenter] Right here comes the petticoat.

A night petticoat can be just like a daytime one,

however may incorporate extra ruffles

to help a heavier skirt.

Night attire usually featured a tail-like prepare.

So a petticoat with prolonged size on the again

can be acceptable.

[Presenter] And now for the primary occasion, the ballgown.

Bertha’s ballgown could be very intently primarily based

on a surviving garment within the assortment

on the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork,

designed by the Home of Price.

Nonetheless, that authentic gown dates to about 1898,

about 15 years after the present is about.

So this costume is technically inaccurate.

In truth, lots of the work and style plates

that served as inspiration for Bertha’s costumes

got here from the years after 1882, and helps Bertha

to face out because the main woman within the ballroom.

What’s correct about this look is the place it got here from.

The Home of Price was based in 1858

by Charles Frederick Price, who’s broadly thought of

to be the founding father of high fashion.

There’s a well-known robe by the Home of Price, from 1882,

that additionally resides

within the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork’s assortment.

So maybe it will’ve been extra acceptable

to recreate that look.

[Presenter] Hmm, maybe. Let’s get into the main points.

It’s festooned with extravagant plastic flowers,

which is fairly according to the opposite robes

that Bertha wears all through the season.

[Presenter] As for Bertha’s hair and make-up?

Like Agnes, Bertha additionally solely wears her hair down

when in her personal quarters.

For the ball, she sports activities an elaborate updo of stacked curls,

which might’ve been carried out by her woman’s maid turner.

When in comparison with the hairstyles worn by different ladies

within the sequence, Bertha’s are typically extra sculptural

and decidedly modern-looking,

which could be very becoming for her character.

As a result of using cosmetics was related

with ladies of in poor health reputation, like performers and prostitutes,

Bertha would’ve needed to go for a extra pure look,

even for the night.

Society ladies who wore unnatural-looking make-up,

just like the notorious Madam X, garnered scandalous reputations.

And Bertha wouldn’t have needed to take that threat.

[Presenter] Now, onto jewellery.

Chokers have been very trendy for night apparel.

Nonetheless, Bertha would wish to put on her most interesting,

flashiest jewellery to impress her friends.

[Presenter] Up subsequent, the sneakers.

Silk pumps have been the usual for night put on.

These may very well be dye to match gown or embroidered on the toe.

The heels have been curved,

and an acceptable peak for dancing at a ball.

Nicely, that is all for tomorrow.

Tonight for the belle of the ball.

[Presenter] And lastly, the equipment.

We see Bertha and the opposite women on the ball

carrying opera-length gloves that reach above the elbow.

These have been usually light-colored

and product of silk or a supple leather-based.

A fan was a really trendy night accent.

We see Marian specific envy over the one Berth carries

to the Academy of Music.

I envy your fan.

I want I had one so I may cowl my face

and look fascinating. [chuckles lightly]

[Raissa] Bertha later items her one in all her very personal.

[Presenter] So let’s imagine this look is fairly correct.

Though this costume is not technically correct

for 1882, it does convey the essence of the character.

[Presenter] So any ultimate ideas?

The costumes of The Gilded Age supply a broader

visible illustration of the final quarter

of the nineteenth century, moderately than a fixation

on the precise yr wherein the present is about.

The design workforce precisely captured the colourful colours,

luxurious textiles, and asymmetry of the interval.

On the finish of the day, the costume succeeded

in conveying a way of the period, they usually did their jobs

in creating a transparent visible distinction

between these two events

inside a really small slice of society.

Costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone

heightened this divide by placing the characters

that belong to outdated New York in types nearer to the 1870s

whereas placing the nouveau riche

in types nearer to the Eighteen Nineties.

She additionally took inventive license

with extra fantastical designs,

however she did appropriately place them on characters

that have been deemed outsiders inside this society.

There is a cause that movies and tv reveals

on this style are referred to as costume dramas.

And the costumes in The Gilded Age are the stuff

of desires in terms of this style.

Every part is luscious and opulent,

and also you get this visible delight

and a glance right into a extra glamorous previous.

[dramatic orchestral music]