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Did You Ever Notice... Arwen's "Dying Frock"?

Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Dec 2 2009, 4:50pm

Post #1 of 15 (3993 views)
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Did You Ever Notice... Arwen's "Dying Frock"? Can't Post



A long delayed DYEN, this week marks the second anniversary of the series.

Some quotes about this dress:


Quote
From "The Art of ROTK", Ngila Dickson says:
"In this combination of dusky rose and midnight blue, Arwen's character rests at the brink of death. We used antique lace combination around the neck and sleeves, over-dyed and then layered into with more embroidery to affect both weight and delicacy. It needed to express Arwen caught between two worlds, the exquisite otherworldliness of the Elves, and the weight of her love for Aragorn and humankind, which leads her to this near-sacrifice."



Quote
From the New Zealand Herald:
The idea: Again, Dickson opted for a medieval look. Arwen, the elf princess, is royal and falls in love with a mortal. Her costumes had to be feminine, simple, rich and other-worldly to bring out the character's extraordinary qualities. "It was a fluke. We were working with a piece of velvet and it came back from the dye-house this unbelievable colour. It was just sublime. It was the old 'Eureka, we've got it'. Aside from the colour, the emphasis would be created around the luxurious drape of silk velvet."
The construction: The midnight blue silk velvet dress is trimmed with antiqued embroidery Dickson stumbled upon in London. Not content with the old feel it already had, she aged it further and used it around the neckline and on the upper part of the sleeve to give the look richness. The deep rose sleeves took 4.5m of silk velvet cut into a circular shape. At 1.8m, Tyler is tall enough to take on such a lot of fabric.
"It weighs a tonne, but she has such beautiful shoulders that if you hang something from them, she doesn't feel the weight and what you get is all silk velvet. The whole thing's about the hanging."
The reality: To keep the hands visible, hands had to be clasped at all times, otherwise the sleeve would rest at the ankle. Couple that with the excess of dress trailing on the ground and the weight of it, this is one of those hard-to-move-in, stay-put outfits, the sort you'd receive folk in during the course of royal duties. Arwen wouldn't want to have to make a fast getaway on horseback in it. On film, the effect of Tyler in the rich, coloured velvet is incredible, says Dickson. "This is actually my favourite dress." Tyler also loved it.


This costume is very similar to Arwen's coronation and requiem gowns. It's a two-piece dress: a sleeveless overgown and an undergown with these huge half-circle sleeves.

The dress is made with silk velvet. If you're curious about the fabrics used on the films, there are some online stores that will sell small swatches of their velvets for one or two dollars each. If you've never seen silk velvet in person, syfabrics.com is one of my favorite online velvet vendors. They have both silk velvet and cotton velvet (as well as a variety of others) and will mail you a swatch for $1 each. (I'm sorry, entire rest of the world, but I don't believe they ship internationally.)

The overdress is very simple. It's three pieces of velvet with seams down the sides and a zipper in the back. The whole thing hangs from a strip of red paisley fabric.

The underdress is a bit of a guess underneath the overdress. It's probably the same blue velvet (we can see a bit of it at the top, but can't be sure about what's under the other gown). The upper sleeves and the band around the neck are a red paisley fabric, probably an Indian cotton print or a silk fabric. The lower sleeves are half circles of rosy silk velvet. They're lined in a similar colored silk. Around the collar and elbow is an antique Indian trim, overdyed and with a little extra embroidery added. The whole thing is long enough to pool at her feet when she's standing or sitting.

I think this image shows off the colors and feel of the fabric best:















And just because I don't often get to sneak in a picture of Ngila:



You can find more images and details over at the Costumer's Guide and Alley Cat Scratch.

So, any thoughts?


Did You Ever Notice? is a running series taking a look at some of the detail in LOTR one costume at a time. It appears on no particular day and follows no particular order. You can always find links to past discussions at my Costume Discussion Archive.



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Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 2 2009, 5:58pm

Post #2 of 15 (3015 views)
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So it's not just Hobbits who have bare feet. [In reply to] Can't Post

>:)

Yeah all right, I wouldn't expect her to wear shoes while dying in bed, but they still stood out on the elegant Elf.

It's so hard to pick my favourite Arwen dress because there are *so many* great ones! Is it the 'dying' dress? Her wedding dress? The mourning dress or her purple dress-and-falling-cloak-when-she-confronts-daddy frock? Or her white dress when the wraithing-Frodo sees her as she is in the shadow world?

I truly can't decide - they're all gorgeous.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Snaga
Lorien


Dec 2 2009, 6:22pm

Post #3 of 15 (3014 views)
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I seem to remember from the appendices... [In reply to] Can't Post

That she was allowed to have one of her dresses, or an extra copy of one of her dresses, as a parting gift. I seem to think it was this one but I'm not 100 percent on that.

Anyone else remember this?

"Alas for Boromir! It was too sore a trial!"

-Faramir, reflecting on his brother.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 2 2009, 6:33pm

Post #4 of 15 (2997 views)
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Yep, she got this dress. [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if she ever wears it, or if she just keeps it carefully stored away?

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Dec 2 2009, 6:57pm

Post #5 of 15 (3096 views)
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The image of Arwen on the lounge [In reply to] Can't Post

suggests suicide (of a sort) is the cause of her death. Perhaps unintended but not entirely inappropriate given the subtext of her gift to Aragorn.

Now I must go off and further ponder the interplay between costuming and DOP-ing to create meaning in film.

Thank you (Lady) Arwen's Daughter :)


the_argonath
Lorien


Dec 2 2009, 9:54pm

Post #6 of 15 (2964 views)
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I too struggle to chose my favourite Arwen dress :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~*Haudh-en-Ndengin the Elves named it, the Hill of Slain, and Haugh-en-Nirnaeth, the Hill of tears... the earth beneath which the swords of the Eldar and the Edain crumbled into rust*~



Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Dec 3 2009, 12:57am

Post #7 of 15 (2938 views)
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I hope she dusts it off every once in a while for Halloween. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



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almas_sparks
Rohan

Dec 3 2009, 1:16am

Post #8 of 15 (3017 views)
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Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

Love it for dramatic use of clors. It`s very modern take on a mediaval dress so it doesn`t feel outdated like other dresses in the movie. I get more of a Dune vibe from it than mediaval fantasy one. Also, incredible attention to detail for something that was seen in the movie for a second or two. I wouldn`t know how rich handwork it has if you didn`t post these pictures.

I bet her foot is stuck in the pillow to hide Liv`s nail polish.

Finally, Arwen was never dying. It`s Elvish euphemism for morning sickness. She had a "vision" of a son. Right. And than collapsed. That`s...very usual for her condition. Sly


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Dec 3 2009, 3:35pm

Post #9 of 15 (2966 views)
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This is great [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never noticed it before, but that shot of her on the chaise does make the sleeves look like blood pooling around her arms and wrists. That adds a whole new layer to the "Arwen is dying" ...thing.



My LiveJournal
My Costuming Site
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frederica bolger
Lorien


Dec 3 2009, 4:08pm

Post #10 of 15 (2950 views)
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What this image suggested to me... [In reply to] Can't Post

... were all these Pre-raffaelite paintings of Ophelia (the twisted posture, the pale limbs, the hair/ dress flowing out), and I think she does look a bit like a dark-haired Elizabeth Siddall on that one! I had not connected the red sleeves to blood, but can see the connection now you say it.

This whole dress is absolutely steeped in symbolism, the midnight blue body (Madonna) and the red sleeves (power and sexuality). And it is less 'wafty' than a lot of the others, it has a solidity and the feel of being age-old (now I realise from ADs text that it has been lovingly aged by Ngila's workshop).

Rain may fall and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree I will lie
And watch the clouds go sailing by.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Dec 4 2009, 12:59am

Post #11 of 15 (2955 views)
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Oh my goodness... [In reply to] Can't Post

There is something so stunning about this dress. The colour is absolutely a big part of it, but the texture and use of how it enhances the drama of this scene is incredible. I'm so glad they let her keep this dress. I can't get over the detail, the exotic beauty, how it fit her and represents what she's going through here... it's hard to find words to express how beautiful it is.

Thanks so much! This is wonderful!



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."
~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



TORn's Observations Lists


mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Dec 4 2009, 7:41am

Post #12 of 15 (2938 views)
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Quite right! Great observation... // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


mae govannen
Tol Eressea


Dec 4 2009, 8:31am

Post #13 of 15 (2923 views)
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LOL... about your take on 'Arwen's dying'!!! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

(This post was edited by mae govannen on Dec 4 2009, 8:32am)


weaver
Half-elven

Dec 5 2009, 12:39am

Post #14 of 15 (2911 views)
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I was thinking the same thing... [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a great dress, but where could you possibly wear it? Halloween was about the only thing I could think of!

It's a lovely creation, though -- so maybe it's more like having a work of art in your closet than anything else...

Thanks for the insights into this gown -- makes me appreciate it more, now that I understand more of what went into it.

Weaver





batik
Tol Eressea


Dec 5 2009, 4:42am

Post #15 of 15 (2996 views)
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I reckon so :D [In reply to] Can't Post


"Arwen-ish" robe and...



"Arwen-ish" dress...Smile



made of polyester and spandex...not silk velvet Unsure It is super comfy though and looks to be made of 5-6 panels of fabric of various patterns--all cut diagonally (maybe, batik does not profess to know much about sewing and stuff!)
What I had not *noticed* was the pattern on the upper sleeves and neckline on this gown of Arwen. Which just gave me a geeky moment of "look! it's like on the dress!" I suppose it might be an 'overdress" as it is sleeveless--although I am now wondering if I might find that perfect underdress (or shirt) to wear with it.

 
 

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