1/24/2018

Outlander Claire Fraser Costumes

Since seeing Tonner's Claire Fraser dressed in the big gorgeous red dress she wore to attend the French Court in the eighteenth century. I've been obsessed with trying to find photos of Claire's actual costume including her shoes. There are hundreds of images to be found on the internet but none better than these that show the entire shape of the gown with detail.


In these photos, one can see that the voluminous drape of the skirt is not created with pleats but with insanely full and tight gathering of fabric which would be nearly impossible to recreate in a small scale. The waist drops to a V in the front and the bodice is very low cut. 


There is no opening in the fabric at the front of the skirt as there seems to be on Tonner's gown. 



Here is Tonner's gown with the two areas of concern. In order to create the fullness of panniers, their pattern maker created a seam with pleats. I think it looks awful. The other area is the flap at the front of the gown. 

I realize that production must take into mind costs of construction and the scale but I would have preferred some other solution. 



Do you think the photographer was inspired by the photograph below to have the doll holding her skirts up?



 The actual shoe worn by the actress:



For more information on Outlander's costume designer, Terry Dresbach and Season 2's inspiration, read this article from Vanity Fair:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/04/outlander-season-2-costumes

14 comments:

  1. It is great to see pictures of the actual costume. I'm really surprised the series used that shoe as I've never seen anything like it in period shoes (but, who knows, maybe I just haven't looked in the right places). I'll be very interested to see photos of the actual doll from owners. Also, the hair on the doll in the Tonner photo looks kind of messy--I hadn't noticed that before.

    I really wonder what is up with the company--I feel like they've kind of skidded off the rails in the past couple years. I hope they can get it together since some of my favorite dolls have been Tonners.

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  2. Loved this and the detail of your observations. I make reproductions of Oscar dresses (Academy Award Action Figures) and it can be really difficult to work out the construction from photographs, then attempt to miniaturize them. Sometimes I'm successful. Mostly only so-so. But this one is way beyond me

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  3. I'm thinking the pleating uses less fabric than gathers, which is obvious on the original costume. Sadly, the doll looks more like Ava Gardner than Caitriona Balfe. You can see the disparity by comparing the doll with the picture Claire ascending the steps. Truth be told, I'd rather see Jamie and Claire in Highland tartans and wools to wearing court garb. Those costumes could have been sold separately. As for the shoes, the scenes in France, there were several nods to Dior. Perhaps the shoes are also a reference to 20th century design. I fear for Tonner's Jamie. Maybe the James Dean sculpt will be reused. There was a terrific repaint of Jamie using that sculpt. We shall see.

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    1. I need a good Jamie doll. The only males, except for one Jamieshow, in my collection, are Tonner’s.

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  4. The costume on the real person looks gorgeous. But on the doll it looks kinda cheap and low quality. From the color, to the material and fit. And then that face. I guess it is a Tonner thing but the bodies and faces of Tonner dolls lack sophistication in my opinion. I can't believe they want $235 for this.

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  5. I don't think the dress is very difficult to make, Tonner dolls are 16", not very small. The dress can work out perfectly on 12" Barbie dolls with TNT body type, too. The key is that the dress needs a petticoat to keep the skirt in the right shape--Tonner's pattern maker needs a little bit education about 18th century costumes. https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ea/64/a5/ea64a5cf5f6071fb6dc8c6123ed6a3e8--th-century-dress-th-century-fashion.jpg

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  6. Good point. As a matter of fact, I thought the original Tyler body might have worked. As for the material, switch out the taffeta to a brushed cotton. And you are right about the foundation garment.

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  7. Thank you for writing about this. It's so apauling to me that these were even approved. It's a dreadful costume repro job- It looks like the skirt from Theatre de la Mode Royal #82 -cut down the middle. There is no excuse for shotty, and they have made way better with so much more intricate detail in the past.
    -> neckline wrong
    -> length- (the dress stops right below the ankle)
    -> there is no opening, you can find pictures online of the entire skirt and those box pleats don't exist- this dress doesn't need panniers in this scale. -
    -> does it lace up the back? I am sure it doesn't... the costume laces up the back.
    How bad would it be for them to make a good shoe? The actual shoe is historically accurate. I can't even talk about how fowl looking the doll is.... She looks nothing like the actress at all.

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  8. I ended up buying the Garden Party Claire and was so disappointed I sold her. The mold looks nothing like the actress and the dress was... cheap. I was hoping for embroidery and it just was a tacky print on cheap fabric. I will pass on this one, too. I think Tonner's glory days are well over. So sad.

    -Eliza C

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    1. I sold mine, too. It was awful. Sigh.

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  9. The Jaime sculpt had to be re-worked, ergo the delay in release. I am worried for Jaime especially since Claire was so bad and they didn't even try to re-do her.

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    1. He’d better be gorgeous and dressed beautifully or I’m going to be disappointed as hell.
      T

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    2. This really should have been a slam-dunk for Tonner. If the sculpts we're good, I wouldn't care if they wore the daywear outfits from the first season.

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  10. I love the style of this dress- I'm sad that it didn't turn out very well. I hope KD tries an 18th century inspired gown sometime!

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