To me at least, one of the very best visual moments in Gone with the Wind comes when Scarlett first encounters Melanie Hamilton at the Twelve Oaks barbecue. For the two women serve as such a study in contrasts. Scarlett is daringly dressed in her inappropriate green sprigged dress, while Melanie tranquilly glides onto the scene in a modest, ruffled gray frock. The two leading ladies' costumes serve as a perfect symbol to demonstrate their divergent personalities, a clever bit of characterization by Margaret Mitchell and one that Walter Plunkett effortlessly translates onto the silver screen.
And today we're pleased to bring you Melanie's Twelve Oaks barbecue dress in our latest installment of Doppelganger Dresses. Both Mitchell and Plunkett deserve kudos for the historical accuracy of Melanie's dress. Fashion plates of the era are filled with gray or steel blue dresses with ruffled trims. After the jump, you'll find two period fashion plates that we thought were especially representative of Melanie's costume. Check them out and let us know what you think!
|Blue-gray ruffled dress, 1861. Le petit courrier des dames.|
|Alas, only a back view: Blue-gray ruffled dress, 1861. Le petit courrier des dames.|
Screenshots of Melanie's Twelve Oaks dress in Gone with the Wind.
Publicity still of Melanie's Twelve Oaks dress in Gone with the Wind.