I plan on approaching this project in a sort of odd way, at least compared to how I predict everyone else is interpreting this challenge. Hamlet is set in an intentionally vague medieval time period and plays are so often set in whatever period the director feels best suits their production so I am not going to waste my time trying to pin down a specific time period for the clothing Ophelia would be wearing. Instead I am going to approach Ophelia's costume as if I were a costume designer for the theater in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. I've specifically chosen my time period because that is when the Pre-Raphaelites had a large influence on the artistic community and Ophelia was a favorite subject of many Pre-Raphaelite painters.
|Ophelia by Henrietta Rae, 1890|
I've chose two images to base my own costume off of. Both have influence of medieval dress and I plan to use my old kirtle pattern for the base of the costume. The first image is a painting from my time period (though not by a pre-raphaelite unfortunately, their paintings included clothing too richly decorated for my time restraints). The second is an image of an actress as Ophelia in 1910.
|Mignon Nevada as Ophelia circa 1910|
I plan to make a mostly plain white dress as white clothing, disheveled hair worn loose, and wildflowers were early theatrical shorthand for female madness. I have just one short day to make this costume as I want to photograph it in a setting this time instead of just on my mannequin in the dining room. Hopefully everything will go according to plans!