The Woman in Black
adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the book by Susan Hill
Karen C. Oswalt Submission for Assignment Week Nine
My Inspiration Photographs
Jennet Humfrye (The Woman in Black)
I chose to design costumes for three characters: Jennet Humfrye (The Woman in Black), Arthur Kipps, and Sam Daily. I believe this story takes place around 1900, so I chose Edwardian style for my characters. I love the Edwardian period because the clothing was made from fabrics such as tweed, wool, velvet, brocade, silk and lace. I used all of these fabrics in my designs.
The costume for Jennet Humfrye or the Woman in Black, of course, would be black. I have included a hat and veil, but I think it would be more effective if we saw her face as described by Sam Daily. Sam explained how she look as, “The flesh shrank from her bones, the colour was drained from her, she looked like a walking skeleton – a living spectre.” I believe her appearance would be enhanced by pale almost white makeup with dark eyes and the darkest, ruby lipstick and she would have gray hair. The dress would be made a little large for the actress in certain places to portray her gauntness. The dress has four parts: blouse, underskirt, jacket, skirt. The blouse and underskirt would be made from a dark gray material with a black lace overlay. The jacket would be a black patterned brocade. The cuffs of the jacket would be velvet and lace. It is closed with tiny black buttons down the front of the jacket. The skirt is black velvet. It is slightly parted in the middle to reveal the lace underskirt. The fabric of the jacket and skirt would have a slight sheen in the fabric so it will emphasize the actress’ movements. She would wear black lace gloves over sheer white gloves to emphasize her pale appearance.
Sam Daily would be a wealthy gentleman of leisure. He is described by the Landlord as, “He’s a large landowner is Mr. Daily. Buying up half the county.” I see him overseeing his properties in casual dress for a gentleman. His jacket and vest would be made of brown with tints of green tweed. His jacket would be a small herringbone pattern. He would have dark brown buttons on his vest and a gold pocket watch with a gold chain. The gold chain would be visible on the vest and through the opening of the jacket. His trousers would be the same brown with tints of green in tweed, however, it would be in a large, understated checkered pattern. He would wear brown leather boots with his trousers tucked down in the boots. His shirt would be white. His tie would be dark green silk. I believe he would wear a dark green tweed newsboy cap. He should also have a walking stick or a cane.
Arthur Kipps is a solicitor from London. I believe he would be dressed as such. He would wear a white shirt and a black silk tie with a silver tie pin. His vest would be a patterned brocade of black and light and medium shades of gray. His coat would be black wool. His trousers would be black with a gray stripe, wool fabric. He would wear a silver pocket watch with a silver chain. His hat would be black with an even darker silk hat band. He would wear black ankle length, lace-up boots. He would carry a leather satchel with his business papers. Sam Daily says of the town, “But you’ll find everything hospitable enough at Crythin, for all it’s a plain little place. We tuck ourselves in with our backs to the wind, and carry on with our business.” Arthur Kipps would be dressed finer than the citizens of the town to emphasize he is different, a stranger and outsider.