So Arte had Manon Lescaut from the Easter festival in Baden Baden on the other day, live. You can still watch it - still a few days left, if you want to know what I'm talking about: http://www.arte.tv/guide/fr/051752-001/manon-lescaut
Anyway, it was beautifully sung and all, but the costuming was horrible in a way - really got me up the walls. So this was set in 1940s Nazi-occupied France. Don't ask me where the sense is in that, to me it didn't make much sense in relation to the story, but there you go. I do understand that costumes also have to look good on stage and I'd never expect them to be say as perfect as in a period movie. Still, I think whoever was responsible for the costumes here totally let the main character of Manon down. Honestly. Ok, her shoes never looked like anything like 40s, but maybe higher heels weren't on the menu. So, that's one thing. Much worse though was that horrible white dress and hat in act one. It looked like some 80s monstrosity with super-huge shoulders, and a cheap-looking hat! Yes, 40s fashion was about shoulder pads, but compare a 40s dress to an 80s dress and you'll notice that they were quite different kinds of shoulder pads, and they were definitely bigger and more exaggerated in the 80s. Considering her figure, I think they could have been more kinder on her with the shoulder pads. And even if the dress had to be white, there would have been more authentic-looking 40s dress styles, that would have looked much better on her. This particular dress really didn't flatter her - sorry! And there would surely have been a better hat style too! Also the glittery dress in act two - ok, it was probably quick to get into, as it looked like a wrap style, but again, it did nothing for her and didn't look like anything 40s. There were choir extras in all acts, wearing dresses or suits and hats that looked much much more like 40s styles - and in general much better! In fact there were a few in the background that I would have loved to see more of.
So, in short - I just don't get it. I'm not quick to be critical of any costuming being absolutely historically correct, but this just looked so out of place and not really good on her.Isn't it just horrible when they make the leading lady look not really her best?