After endless months of being stuck indoors shrouded in comfortable layers, we wish to see the world in our chicest attires. Without a mask when possible! A job that pays to travel, and a European backdrop with the James Dean of our dreams. Netflix’s Rebecca is the perfect wardrobe inspiration.
It’s safe to say that we are still dumbfounded by Lily James portrayal in last year’s release, Rebecca, who played the timid yet appealing Mrs. De Winters as she adorned 2020’s most celebrated trends. Her wardrobe breathed cottage-core aesthetics from lacey details to soft hues and fabrics. No shortage of Peter pan collars and puffed sleeves. The audience was basking in the beauty of the French Riviera like an Old-Hollywood style diva.
Adapted from the novel of the same name, “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier is a chilling story with a scenic visual representation. A lexicon of period-authentic styles, inspired by the style icon of the eras and beachwear photography, as the costume designer of the movie Julian Day explains in an interview with Fashionista, “Even though it’s period correct, it was the idea that anyone literally could go out now and buy the outfit of each character” which is literally the case as we spotted Harry Styles favored knitted cardigan and pearl detailing on Mrs. De Winters, and retro bowling shirt on Mr. De Winters.
The story unfolds with a clumsy and awkward Lily in an ill-fitted skirt suit making her way through a lavish interior. In cue to attract the most influential man of the crowd Mr. De Winter; soon enough, Lily’s sartorial choices developed. Her blonde bob hair-do is adorned with variations of berets, raffia, and bucket hats, her wardrobe saw a rich amalgamation of fabrics from tweed to delicate silks and cotton to lightweight knits as she indulged in summer silhouettes.
From cascading blouses to pussy-bow collars and balloon waisted tops with blowing palazzo pants, Julian explains in an interview with WWD “her style develops with the blossoming of the love she has with Maxim, she takes on a romantic silhouette”. Another detail that we connected with was the repetition of outfits. Leads rarely repeat outfits, which made her more into a girl next door further appealing to our likes.
As her journey shifts from a plain shy girl to a country lady after setting foot in Manderley as Mrs. De Winters wearing a gray collarless wrap-front coat. Soon enough, her closet hints at the transformation too from regular blouses to more twinsets and feminine silhouettes. You see edgy silhouettes washing off the colors from bright and pastel to dark and subdued. One such fit was that of a tweed pantsuit paired with a turtleneck (a reviving and most donned trend) for which Julian got inspired by the silver screen legends of the era like Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich who historically gave birth to androgynous fashion by wearing pants in the 30s.
Julian explains her look further to Vogue UK by adding, “I studied a lot of Wallis Simpson’s looks, and also Coco Chanel’s, particularly during the period when she was having an affair with the Duke of Westminster and would wear a lot of men’s oversized tweed jackets”. One of the more riveting looks was the Chanel inspired custom-made golden boucle suit. Rebecca proved to be a fashion-forward watch and the perfect wardrobe inspiration. At times it is necessary to bring a book alive and give the audience a visual treat. This was one of those times!
Hoo, Fawnia Soo. “The Old Hollywood-Inspired, Period-Authentic Costumes in ‘Rebecca’ Feel Exceptionally Modern.” Fashionista, Fashionista, 21 Oct. 2020, fashionista.com/2020/10/netflix-rebecca-movie-costumes-outfits.
Maitland, Hayley. “Every Symbolic Detail Woven Into The Costumes Of Netflix’s ‘Rebecca’ Adaptation.” British Vogue, British Vogue, 20 Oct. 2020, http://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/rebecca-netflix-costumes.
Tauer, Kristen. “Costume Designer Julian Day Reimagines the Sartorial Landscape of ‘Rebecca’.” WWD, WWD, 19 Oct. 2020, wwd.com/eye/lifestyle/rebecca-costume-designer-julian-day-netflix-1234638583/.