Truth be told, I didn’t much care for Easy Virtue (2008) the first time I saw it. Noël Coward’s brand of rather cutting, sarcastic humour was not quite to my taste, and I couldn’t easily identify with any of the characters. What I did recall about it, though, was that the costumes worn by Larita (Jessica Biel) were exquisite. Upon a second viewing, I found that my recollections were quite correct… and I enjoyed the movie this time, too!
Although the original play was written in 1924, the filmmakers appear to have chosen to set the film in the very late ’20s – I’m assuming either 1928 or 1929. Hence the conservative British family is still wearing drop waists, while fashion-forward Larita favours dresses with the “mermaid” shape typical of a 1930s silhouette.
In this post, I’ll focus solely on Larita’s costumes, because they are honestly ten times prettier than all the other characters’ put together. These are the type of costumes that are so well done that any commentary seems almost superfluous – their appeal is self-explanatory. From the plethora of cloche hats, to the tailored blouses, the wide-legged pants, the leather driving jackets, and the silk scarves, everything hits just the right notes. Personal favourites include the two-tone leather gloves (sigh…), the black-and-white geometric sweater, and the Art Deco hair ornaments.
~ costume design: Charlotte Walter ~