Monday, January 3, 2011

A Doppelganger Dress of Sorts for Scarlett's Red Christmas Dress

If you remember (come on, it was only last year!), in our Christmas edition of the Doppelganger series, we talked about Scarlett's red and white Christmas dress, the one she wears to send Ashley back to the wars, and showed you a couple of period fashion plates that closely resembled the style of Plunkett's creation. Both of the fashion plates models had long sleeves and we  agreed that the designer's decision to use short sleeves for Scarlett's dress was an inspired one. But as it turns out, he did explore the long-sleeved version both as an alternative for the Gone with the Wind costume and in another movie. 

Here are some screencaps from the 1944 musical Can't Help Singing in which Deanna Durbin plays the part of a headstrong spoiled daughter of a senator who runs away to follow her  boyfriend, an army officer sent to California during the Gold Rush. Plunkett designed the costumes for this movie, and sure enough, you'll notice the striking similarity between the dress Deanna Durbin wears to sing Any Moment Now and Scarlett's Christmas dress. There are, of course, a couple of differences, in color, sleeve length and the overall size of the skirt and crinoline, that are nicely explained by the fact this movie is set a good 10 years before Gone with the Wind

Another interesting aspect is the way Plunkett solved the problem of the puffy sleeves that made the dresses from the fashion plates look somewhat matronly and unflattering. The costume from Can't Help Singing has long sleeves, but they only gain volume below the elbow, which creates a more girlish and innocent look than Scarlett's Christmas dress did, and justifiably so.

You can watch this scene from the movie and see the dress in motion here or here

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