The Lady Vanishes: OMG clothes!

The Lady Vanishes BBC1 costumes

As a self-confessed film dimwit, I don’t feel capable of commenting too much on the BBC’s recent adaptation of The Lady Vanishes. I know a lot of people think remaking Hitchcock is a no-no and that questions were also raised about the shunting of this drama from high-profile Christmas big-hitter to middle-of-March nothingness… but what do I know? My favourite film is Detroit Rock City which centres around KISS and slices of pizza, so I have no  right to judge.

The Lady Vanishes is, as I’m sure all real adults who know about films are aware, an adaptation of the 1936 novel, The Wheel Spins, by Ethel Lina White which Hitchcock took to the big screen in 1938. It centres around a beautiful, spoilt bright young thing called Iris Henderson (played in this version by the amazingly-named Tuppence Middleton) who basically lols around in Europe in the sun having a smashing old time annoying all the stuffy old hotel guests and looking lovely. When she gets the train home back to London, things take a turn to the dark side when Iris’s train companion vanishes. The clue’s in the name with that one, huh?

It was the perfect Sunday night viewing for me after a weekend of moving all of our belongings from South London to Sheffield before we go on hiatus, so I didn’t focus quite so much on the plot as the costumes. Who am I kidding? I would have always focussed on the costumes. Dimwit.

Top pic – Iris and pals in full make-up and hair sets, drinking champagne in a lake. Isn’t this the most blissful sight you’ve ever seen?

BBC1 The Lady Vanishes costumes

Iris mulls by a lake in an absolutely dreamy silk bias cut maxi dress. Pretty sure that if you’re making a film/TV show set in the early 30s the heroine has to wear a fabulous backless bias-cut gown.

BBC1 The Lady Vanishes costumes

Iris answers the door in some of the silkiest pyjamas you ever did see. I urge you to watch the show on iPlayer for the sole purpose of seeing how those move – poetry in motion, frankly. I’m currently on the hunt for pyjamas to take travelling and while my head is telling me that an old t-shirt will suffice, my heart is telling me I need an ivory camisole and wide-leg trousers. Take note too of the luggage packed up to the side of the dresser – is that an LV trunk?

BBC1 The Lady Vanishes costumes

BBC1 The Lady Vanishes costumes

Iris’s adventuring outfit. Atta gal. See, you can go walking in stupid outfits (ref: every post I’ve ever made about the great outdoors). I love this sailor collar and culottes combo and combined with chunky hiking socks and boots, gives me confidence that I can climb volcanoes in Hawaii without losing any of my usual impractical style. OK, so Iris did fall down a cliff in this scene but that’s resolutely not the outfit’s fault.

BBC1 The Lady Vanishes costumes

This is the last we see of Iris before she boards the train – and I don’t like her train outfit, so it’s a good place to stop. This black bias-cut gown (yep, another one) gets a smart little update with that white collar – pretty much obsessed with that rick-rack trim and the garçonne feel it adds to what could be just another column dress.

You can watch The Lady Vanishes and admire Andi Bencsik’s costumes on the BBC iPlayer until Sunday 24 March.

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