Costume Cinema and Materiality: Telling the Story of Marie Antoinette through Dress


  • Therése Andersson Department of History, Stockholm University, Sweden



Film, Costume design, Dressing, Materiality, Narration, Emotions.


In ’Costume Cinema and Materiality: Telling the Story of Marie Antoinette through Dress’ a materiality-based approach for analysing film narratives through costumes is examined. Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette (2006) serves as the empirical starting point and the theme of dressing and redressing is pursued throughout the film, crystallizing costume as a significant feature for reading the movie. The article argues that costumes, on a symbolic level, work as agents. It thus focuses on the interdependence between costume and interpretations of the screenplay’s main character. A theoretical notion of costumes and materiality is explored, and the idea is further developed in relation to stylistics constituted as emotions materialised in costume. As costumes are the main object for analysis, the discussion immediately centres on costumes produced by professional costume designers for the two-dimensional format of the film frame. In other words, costumes made for the moment: for a specific narrative and aesthetic expression.


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Theme: Fashion, Market and Materiality