Friday, December 3, 2010

Doppelganger Dresses, Part 14: Bonnie's Blue Velvet Riding Habit

We have a beautiful, if tragic, costume from Gone with the Wind to feature as this week's Doppelganger Dresses entry: Bonnie Blue Butler's blue velvet riding habit. 

The matching fashion plate is waiting for you after the jump. Does it look like Bonnie's riding habit to you? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Girl's blue dress, circa 1863. Le Follet.
Screenshots of Bonnie's blue riding habit in Gone with the Wind.

And it's worthy noting that this fashion plate works even better in terms of MM's description of Bonnie's riding habit in Gone with the Wind. In the book, Bonnie's hat is black with a red feather, not blue: 
"So Bonnie had her blue velvet habit with a skirt that trailed down the pony's side and a black hat with a red plume in it, because Aunt Melly's stories of Jeb Stuart's plume had appealed to her imagination."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter LIX


  1. It does seem to be a good match doesn't it? It even matches the novel's description of a black hat. What I'm wondering is whether or not the dress from the plate is supposed to be a riding habit? It is reasonably different from a lot of the girl's fashions we've seen- as in not frilly and lacy etc. The woman in black looks like she is wearing a riding habit too, though with a hoop under it. Was their any description to go with the plate?
    My great grandmother took my nanna to see GWTW when it first came out in Australia, I'm assuming in 1940, and one of the things that never left her was the sight of Bonnie in all of her beautiful blue dresses.
    I love the outfit she's wearing when her and Rhett get home from their trip. I love that this little girl, not four, (and at that time in the novel more like two) has a hat and coat of matching Persian lamb. And I'm not sure if I made this up myself, but did she have a matching muff too?
    One inconsistency with the book (one of thousands) is that when Bonnie has her fatal fall on film, the dress appears brand new. However in the novel, Scarlett, watches from her bedroom window and thinks they'll have to get her a new habit, as the blue velvet was filthy.
    I think it's funny that both mother and daughter had iconic dresses of velvet, one in blue, one in green.

  2. "I think it's funny that both mother and daughter had iconic dresses of velvet, one in blue, one in green." --What a lovely thought. I hadn't considered it in that way before but I love it.

    I'm sorry but I don't have more information about the fashion plate. But I myself thought that the girl's dress looked like a riding habit for the reasons you noted. It's also the hat that makes me suspicious on that front--I've seen several fashion plates with women in riding habits wearing similar hats to this one. But, sadly, we can't be certain...

  3. I'm glad you like the dress idea. I hadn't thought of it before I wrote it either.

    I know I could be just reading what I want into the plate, but I can see it as a scene pre-horse riding. Mother and daughter are dressed in their habits, ready to go for a ride, and aunty, seated, has her hand raised in warning: "Now make sure you don't jump too high!" Or maybe they are just modelling their new habits and aunty is saying "What was your mother thinking, letting you get your habit made in blue velvet?"


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