Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Three Musketeers (2011) and Poorly-Thought Costume Choices

Now, I know I don't normally post movie reviews or costume reviews, but this morning I watched The Three Musketeers (2011) while I was doing some ironing. Though this movie, to me, isn't comparable to The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), a brilliant musketeers movie, I did enjoy the fantastical element of the steampunk-esque ships and the scheming cardinal. And for most of the movie, the costumes were appropriate, if not totally accurate, but were convincing enough to willingly suspend my belief, as movies should.

Despite this, I was horrified--appalled!--at the scene where Milady de Winder (Milla Jovovich) steals the diamond necklace in an excruciatingly cliche' way. But what made the scene awful, besides the obvious booby traps and impossible acrobatics, was what Milady de Winter was wearing (designed by Pierre-Yves Gayraud).

via Tumblr
No doubt a lovely set of stays, but there's a few things here that really bother me...
  1.  No shift...I image how uncomfortable it must be to wear stays without a protective garment underneath. And during that stealthy acrobatic scene, how was Milla not getting chaffed everywhere from the stays? From a costuming point of view, I think that adding a shift underneath the stays would not have decreased the "sexy" look they were going for.
  2. A single elastic garter...with no socks!! I mean really, what is that garter holding up? She's not wearing any kind of socks or hose. And it's so high up on her thigh, the garter ends up resembling a wedding garter...
  3. That vaguely bustley skirt is beautiful, I agree, but totally out of place with the time period. In the movie, it's swishy and semi-sheer, but in the context ends up looking like a quick steampunk costume element. And though I couldn't find a photo of the outfit from a front view, trust me when I say that the front-bustle-apron-thing comes up dangerously high, even making those "slutty" Halloween costumes look tame
The reason that these little anachronistic discrepancies irritate me is because of how beautifully costumed the rest of the movie is. And for such a prominent character, I feel that a little more thought could've benefited the ensemble in this scene. To me, the ensemble is too obvious, too trashy, and too ill-thought--such as the garter suspending nothing. Compare this outfit with some of the other elaborate costumes in this film, and you might see what I mean:

via Old-Fashioned Charm
via Old-Fashioned Charm

via Hotpress
via BeyondHollywood
What are your thoughts on the costuming of The Three Musketeers (2011)?


  1. Very interesting! I have not yet seen the movie but I agree entirely on your points about it, especially compared to those other sumptuous outfits! It just looks utterly wrong!

  2. I entirely agree! It was so beautifully costumed, especially the gentlemen, but that one scene was really disappointing. It's too late-Victorian burlesque and not enough Baroque sensual. They could have costumed Milla in just her stays, a filmy chemise, and then a fabulous dressing gown (open at the front of course!), and she would have been entirely historically accurate AND sexy by modern standards. Or maybe even a pair of (*gasp!*) breeches like Italian courtesans wore...