Pride & Prejudice

Dinah Collin designed the costumes for the 1995 BBC television production of Pride and Prejudice, which starred Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.

 

Pride and Prejudice is one of the best-loved novels of all time: the adventures of the five Bennet sisters, and their search for love and happiness, still capture the hearts of readers the world over. Dinah Collin studied early nineteenth century printed cottons, which would give variety to the numerous dresses required over the six episodes, and would perfectly create the light, youthful look of the five young women.

Printed cottons are one of the distinctive fashions of this time. Textile printing in this country had slowly been changing from wood block printing to copper plate printing since the mid eighteenth century, with the result that more intricate designs with larger pattern repeats could be produced.

 

The famous scene where Darcy dives into the lake and then emerges, shirt dripping, and encounters Elizabeth has become the stuff of romantic legend. But, as Christopher Prins from Cosprop recalls, the famous ‘wet shirt scene’ almost did not happen. The exhibition describes how this pivotal moment was conceived and the part that Colin Firth played in creating it. 

Image: Pride and Prejudice display case with printed cotton dresses displayed on figures

Original nineteenth century dresses of printed cotton 

 

Image: Pride and Prejudice display case with printed dresses displayed and yellow dress as worn by the character Kitty Bennett

Yellow printed muslin dress worn by Polly Maberley as Kitty Bennet