Movie Costumes: Analysis Of 'The Man In The Iron Mask' Movie

Analysis of movie costumes, typical for Baroque period of The Man in the Iron Mask, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by William Richert.

Fashion was extremely important during the Baroque time period, and it was influenced by the military style of the army, the travel and imported English wool, and was used as a means of displaying social rank and position. Curves were emphasized in the loose, flowing costumes which predominated, and the color black was understood to signify mourning. With the great emphasis placed on formal style and elegance, many elaborate costumes resulted, some of which are displayed in The Man in the Iron Mask.

King Louis XIV is played by Leonardo DiCaprio. His costume is appropriately elaborate for his status as king, including gold embroidery and a deep red cape. The fabrics are most likely fine, imported materials, possibly silk, velvet, other elegant materials. He wears red butterfly bows on his shoes and his red heels are also visible in this picture- very appropriate attire for court. His boots are laced, and above them his closed breeches are visible, but only a small portion shows below his skirt fringed with gold tassels. His shirt is pulled out above his gloves, which was popular at the time, and the ruffles at his throat (derived from the Renaissance's ruff) are made of lace, which was also expensive at the time. He wears a sword at his left side so that it could be easily grasped by his right hand, but this is for decoration. The king's advisors are seen wearing long, curly wigs of the period, in different natural colors. In stead, DiCaprio's hair has extensions and is pulled back for the film. The costumes of the King Louis XIV in The Man in the Iron Mask was, for the most part, historically accurate and realistic.

The costumes of the Musketeers were also very historically accurate, and they can be seen in battle wearing military sashes with the heraldry of the French court visible on their chests. This heraldry, which was first used in the Middle Ages, consisted of a decorated gold cross on a blue or black background, resembling an elongated cyclas. The goatee and handlebar moustache are worn by all of the Musketeers, with long hair which is not tied or styled. Slashing can be seen on the shoulder of the Musketeer in the center, and his shirt can be seen beneath it. Such war-inspired fashion statements were commonly adopted by citizens as well. Often, the shirt underneath the jacket was also fashionably pulled out at the sleeve to form a ruffle-like decoration at the wrist of the gentleman. The numerous buttons on their coats are a popular fashion statement for the period, and the shirt underneath is clearly visible. One man also wears bucket-topped boots and a baldric, which is the sash holding his sword. The Musketeers were frequently seen wearing Cavalier hats with red and white feathers, and spurs were shown on their heels during horseback riding. The use of many buttons was common, and the high, triangular, flat collar could be a falling band. The four musketeers which were main characters wore similar costumes and all were very historically accurate, in all the details and accessories mentioned.

The king's mistresses were considered ornaments of the court, and their appearance set many trends for the women who could afford to copy the styles of the court. Christine, one of the king's mistresses, wore a yellow dress with a very low, scooped neckline which fell off the shoulders. Underneath it was worn a chemise, which is seen in a later scene in which she is lying in bed, wearing her chemise as a nightgown as well. She dines with the king in this formal dress, her corset was very tight and laced in the back, but no stomacher was worn. Her Virago sleeves were large and rounded, cinched at the elbow and fell in gathered pleats to her mid-forearm. The gown was a single piece, as opposed to a basqued bodice, and a very sharp V-shaped bodice was worn with a pannier, which is derived from the hoops which were previously worn. Also, since the hurly burly hairdo or fontange, which were popular at the time, would not be considered attractive nowadays, the king's mistress is seen in a ponytail with long, hanging curls, or else with her hair falling down while in bed. She does wear makeup, since cosmetics for women were becoming fashionable, and she is seen in beautiful pearl necklaces and earrings of pearl and gold. The yellow dress is also accented by sparkling jewels and other ornaments which are inlaid in her dress, and her elegance is truly fit for the king. The character of Christine conveys the beauty of the time period in a way which is rooted in Baroque styles but also has relevance for today's viewers.

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