Released just before COVID-19 locked us all indoors, Autumn DeWilde’s Emma is a frothy confection of Jane Austen realness. A charming mix of ethereal pastel dresses, sweeping landscapes, and young British actors we’ve all fallen even more in love with over the past year or so, the film makes Austen’s Clueless-inspiring tale its own. It’s equal parts optimistic nosiness and pig-headed selfishness, and DeWilde makes it feel almost as pertinent now as it did when it was released a little over 200 years ago.
Of course, DeWilde was helped in great part by Emma’s below the line teams, which scouted the film’s locations, created the sets and interiors, and put together its period costumes with a twist. The latter role fell to Oscar-winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne, who’s previously worked on films as varied as Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Guardians Of The Galaxy. She returned to her period piece roots for Emma, and found so much success that she’s once again up for an Oscar for her work.
In the video above, Byrne walks us through every major character’s look in Emma, from the garish Mrs. Elton to the oatmeal-tinged Mr. Woodhouse. She waxes rhapsodic about fittings, flourishes, and period fashion plates, and gives us some insight into how the costumes were adapted to the scenes on the screen.