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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Did You Ever Notice... Eowyn's White Wool Gown?

Arwen's daughter

May 6 2008, 7:26pm

Post #1 of 12 (6276 views)
Did You Ever Notice... Eowyn's White Wool Gown? Can't Post

This is easily Eowyn's most iconic gown. It's actually a very light cream wool, though it shows up on film as white. Pure white has a tendency to show up on film as blue. The wide lower sleeves are lined with a cream brocade with a tight undersleeve in another fabric. The v-neck has embroidered scroll work in gold and silver. The neckline, sleeves, and the seam where the sleeve meets the bodice are all edged with golden cord. The upper sleeves are tight with golden cord wrapped around them. The skirt is very full, with a small train and a surprising amount of fabric in it that billows in the wind. The belt incorporates two pieces, a silver medallion belt just like the one she wore in gold with her green gown and a fabric belt with 'tail' decorated with gold beads down the front. She wears her flower necklace with this gown again.

Here is that pattern of that embroidery:

As always, I send you off to AlleyCatScratch and The Costumer's Guide for more pictures and details.

So, any thoughts on this dress?

Did You Ever Notice? is a roving discussion (ie it appears on no particular day or time) taking a look at some of the details that went into the costumes of LOTR.

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May 6 2008, 7:29pm

Post #2 of 12 (4887 views)
The broken Angel . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

To me, this dress makes Eowyn look like an angel, but it's ironic, because of how much her life has fallen apart. I look at her as the last glimmer of hope for Rohan.

Ash nazg durbatulūk, Ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulūk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.


May 6 2008, 8:55pm

Post #3 of 12 (4856 views)
The main impression I get [In reply to] Can't Post

is the contrast between bondage and freedom.

The upper sleeves are tight and wound with cording, while the lower sleeves flow loose in the wind. But the undersleeves are once again tied up! What a complex situation she finds herself in.

Likewise, the belt as the only detail of the body of the gown emphasizes the traditional girdle of the woman, but the skirts are, as you put it, surprisingly full and free! As if not even she is aware of what her dress can do until she escapes the palace and reaches the open air!

I've always loved this dress for its iconic role in the Rohan opening scene. It's nice to get a chance to learn more about it, and see the kind of symbolic thinking that Dickson put into it.

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Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


May 6 2008, 10:30pm

Post #4 of 12 (4874 views)
Even Ngila's most simple designs ... [In reply to] Can't Post

... are surpsisingly delicate and complex when you look at them up close! I expected there to be a fair amount of embroidery and texture that I wasn't able to see in the film, but again, I'm surprised and delighted by all the detail. Up close, this dress almost looks like a cross between Gandalf the White's robes (especially the embroidered inner sleeves) and one of Arwen's gowns (especially the billowy outer sleeves). But taken together, it's elegant and sleek and unique.

And the cording ... I wonder if the symbolism is intended. I would tend to think it is. Eowyn, more than any other character in the trilogy seems to struggle most against her perceived place in the universe. Straining at her social, sexual and political bindings. And this costume conveys that beautifully. Subtle and unobtrusive symbolism, but there if you're inclined to look for it.

And once again, I'm surprised by the shoes! You should consider doing a post of nothing but shoes and boots. Because so many characters are either barefoot, heavily robed, or wearing long, flowing dresses ... those are parts of the costumes that we almost never get to see or appreciate in the films!

"In Hollywood the screenplay is a fire hydrant. And there's a line of dogs around the block." -- Frank Miller

(This post was edited by BuckyUnderbelly on May 6 2008, 10:31pm)


May 7 2008, 12:22am

Post #5 of 12 (4835 views)
ah, a symbolic dress! [In reply to] Can't Post

I love the comments in this thread along that line!

To me, the film makers did a good job at getting us to immediately take an interest in Rohan, which is the point, in the books, where I know some people have lost interest -- once the story moves beyond Gandalf and hobbits, not everyone sticks with it.

The entrance of Eowyn is very compelling, and the way she is dressed probably does create some subliminal impressions of her that get our interest and sympathy going just at the sight of her.



May 7 2008, 3:27am

Post #6 of 12 (4886 views)
White wool gown [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for the explanation of this dress. I loved it in the first picture where we are introduced to Eowyn but I was inclined to think that it was quite plain in comparison to her other dresses (oh that beautiful red one!).

I can now see how beautiful it is. Thank you!

Lily Fairbairn

May 7 2008, 3:01pm

Post #7 of 12 (4848 views)
This is another place [In reply to] Can't Post

where I think the filmmakers got it exactly right. Eowyn, the White Lady of Rohan, the morning in spring, etc. Although I hadn't realized just how subtle an imagery the dress has, until now. Thank you, A's D, and squire as well, for spelling it out for me.

I think that the attention paid to such detail and symbolism in the films is one reason I (and many others) respond to them so positively, and at such an emotional depth, even though intellectually I can pick nits with the best of them.

* * * * * * *
Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?

A man may do both. For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!


May 7 2008, 3:32pm

Post #8 of 12 (4798 views)
I love the symbology too ... [In reply to] Can't Post

There are some great comments in the posts!!

I see around Eowyn, that everything is drifting away and distant - and the bindings around her sleeve tops somehow keeps her secure, comforted and grounded in a sense - and her belt - very heavy looking considering the elegant cut and simplicity of the style.
Wool was a great fabric choice for this outfit - I bet it was warm and comfy too Smile

For some reason those crossed ties on her arms also make me think that Eowyns dress is practical for her duties (what ever she may have to do) ... but possibly those sleeves are not good when trying to do the washing -up Wink

I adore this dress!!

Thankyou for the thread Arwen's Daughter.
Cheers Elven

Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!


May 7 2008, 4:22pm

Post #9 of 12 (4821 views)
I also love how this particular costume interacts with the environment. [In reply to] Can't Post

Meaning ... in the exterior shots on the steps of the Golden Hall, such as the one at the top of your post, the dress flows and swirls in the gusting wind like a gleaming white-gold beacon.

Surely Ngila could not have predicted (and subsequently designed for) all the weather conditions the production team would encounter at each of the many, many locations where the films were shot ... but, amazingly, in this case it really does seem as though this particular dress was built to be filmed in the wind. (The wind, according to the DVD extras, was apparently a frequent obstacle at the Edoras location.)

This is surely one of those happy accidents that you can encounter when you shoot in real locations, rather than on sound stages, or ... (shudder) ... in an all-digital environment.

Because, in addition to creating a striking image, the costume coupled with the weather conditions really combine to build even more symbolism. She's a tiny, delicate figure in the midst of a harsh and unyeilding landscape ... being lashed and buffeted by the world. And yet, she stands fast. Resolute. Defiant.

"In Hollywood the screenplay is a fire hydrant. And there's a line of dogs around the block." -- Frank Miller

(This post was edited by BuckyUnderbelly on May 7 2008, 4:24pm)


May 8 2008, 4:29pm

Post #10 of 12 (4769 views)
Oh! The Shoes! [In reply to] Can't Post

They're as simple and elegant as her dress. When I met Miranda Otto at ORC a few years back, I brought a variation of her in this dress to sign. She gasped and said she hadn't seen this one before... and you could tell she enjoyed the image.

There something about this dress that's so stunning. I know part of it is because of the impact of how she appears in this shot on the porch, but even when she's inside with Theodred, it's a fitting contrast to her emotions. I really love this dress!

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May 10 2008, 2:20pm

Post #11 of 12 (4756 views)
white shows up as blue? [In reply to] Can't Post

so they have to use cream-white? I did not know that.

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May 26 2008, 11:14am

Post #12 of 12 (4773 views)
Beautiful dress for the White Lady of Rohan! [In reply to] Can't Post

Great job Ngila and team!!!

Frodo; "What I chiefly need now is courage . . ."


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