Greta Gerwig’s remake of Little Women is shaping up to be one of the most memorable fashion moments of the year. And the woman responsible for bringing the aesthetic to life is veteran costume designer Jacqueline Durran – the brains behind that green Atonement dress, among other iconic film moments.
The film premieres in just over a week and is full of gorgeous clothing which isn't all that different from what we've seen on recent catwalks. The cast wore eyelet collars, long hemlines, lace-up boots and basket bags in America; petticoats, corsets, lace gloves and satin heels in France. Almost every sought-after trend from 2019 shows up in Little Women. Hell, even Timothée Chalamet’s tailored suiting (which Durran says was also worn by Saoirse Ronan’s character, Jo) would slot perfectly into the current aesthetic.
Whereas nearly every brand on the market is embracing prairie dressing in one form or another, two stand out as the leaders of the movement. Batsheva Hay, founder and creative director of Batsheva, has been whipping up doily collars and long hems since she started her brand in 2015. The Vampire's Wife, led by designer Susie Cave, takes a similar – if not slightly more luxury – approach to the trend and in so doing, proves that it reaches even the highest end of the fashion spectrum.
Even as the characters in Little Women grow up and move away from the archetypal 'prairie' aesthetic, their sense of style still mimics trends that are relevant today. Jo moves towards androgyny – at least as much as a woman could in the 1860s – with Durran sprinkling hints of suiting throughout her New York wardrobe and removing the ultra feminine aspects of her younger costumes. "When Jo moves away from home, she’s trying to look a bit more professional and more grown-up. She starts dressing for the city." Who among us hasn’t done just that?
The same goes for Amy, who moves to Europe and adopts another of 2019’s most talked-about trends: renaissance. In contrast to the prairie trend, which is rooted in America, renaissance dressing is inherently European. Think Marie Antoinette but in Amy’s case, far less extravagant. Thom Browne, Charlotte Knowles London, Brock Collection – the romantic collections of SS20's fashion month blend seamlessly with Durran’s designs for the world-travelling March sister.
"In the end," Durran said, "I think I'm lucky if what I do works; if it chimes with the mood of the time." Once you see Little Women on 26th December, though, we think you'll agree that luck had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Click through to meet the contemporary prairie dresses the March sisters would be proud of.