Style it Up: Pursuit of Love

THE LATEST BBC Period Drama based on a beloved book by Nancy Mitford

Lily James in ‘Pursuit of Love’ is saved by Heart-melting French Lover, Fabrice de Sauveterre, the Duke who appears to be feckless but ends up being a hero of the French Resistance. Played by Assad Bouab.

Without the performance of Lily James this story would be much like any other British novel on film but we are swept away entirely with her performance. Based on a novel by Nancy Mitford’s upper crust world of people and characters around her, it is a of two young girls who are nearly family. Her counterpart, played by Emily Beecham is a perfect support for her personality. The three part series shares their journey from school girls to mothers and beyond. Their bond is hard to understand at first but as you travel the journey of the story you realize that family roots, history and genealogy play an important role in how the story and attitude of the characters unfold. Yes, in most British stories about this class of folks, family does indeed matter.

The world of Nancy Mitford’s family is the basis for her novels and characters. We are are treated to a visual feast that real English country homes and landscapes can provide: The English Country House,  London High Society, The Spanish War, Paris in the 1920s and the interiors are settings for the multi-colored tapestry of characters.  The designer has taken us not just through a series of clothes, but the use and re-use of some clothes by the characters in each episode of the story connects them.  The clothes are seen in each context in the story and are more than just costumes, they are inhabited.  This is the art of a costume designer who has risen to the challenge.

But now, to the fashion.  The work of the costume designer in most British historical stories has many layers:  there is telling a period story, the passing of time, the style of a production either comic or dramatic; all told with the clothes that speak another language about the plot and character. The subtle art of style is both socially native to the period as well as a character’s viewpoint of it. There is always a current spin on period fashions that has made the British Costume Drama more fresh than before: gone are the dusty and musty recreations; now we are see truth from our own current perspective even as we look back through time.

Here are some of my favorite looks from the project:

I think you can see that each tells a strong story and divides the moments of a life into parts that are defined by both location, moment in the story and place. Costume Designer: Sinead Kidao