Sunday, October 2, 2011

Miss Havisham Halloween Costume: The Idea

October is one of the most important months in a year mainly because that is when we celebrate Halloween. I must say, I adore Halloween - it is one of the few days when you can dress up in the most ridiculous, over-the-top get-up and no one can judge you.

This year, after careful consideration, I've decided to go as Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. 

While I care very little for Great Expectations as a work of fiction or Dickens, for that matter, I find Miss Havisham to be a fascinating character.

With a zeal that becomes such an ardent lover of Halloween, I took to the Internet in search of inspiration.

Martita Hunt as Miss Havisham in Great Expectations (1946)
This is a very witch-like Miss Havisham. Her hair and face remind me very much of the evil stepmother from Disney's Cinderella. The little flowers in her hair are absolutely inspired. They make me think of Ophelia. In fact, I am convinced that had poor Ophelia lived to old age she would have turned into Miss Havisham.

Miss Havisham with adult Pip in Great Expectations (1946)
The veil that covers most of her body has a wonderful spiderweb-like quality to it and looks old and withered. I find the dress itself a bit puzzling. I can't tell what period it supposed to be. One would think that if Pip and Estella inhabit Victorian England, Miss Havisham's dress should be from the Regency Era. But the shape of the dress and the long puffy sleeves seem all wrong for that time period. Of course, they may have been inspired  by late 1800s, but the neckline is a bit odd and it still doesn't explain the fanciful sleeves. But in a way, it kind of works. This Miss Havisham is out of place and out of time with her strange attire, musty house and rich jewelry.  

Joan Hickson in Great Expectations (1981) 
Lovely dress, love the color. The bright jewels create a gorgeous contrast with the faded fabric. The curls are really nice too. You can almost see the young pretty girl who had her dreams dashed. But this Miss Havisham doesn't look bitter. Just melancholy.

Charlotte Rampling in Great Expectations (1999)
I love Rampling's handsome face, cold expression and exquisite Regency style dress. The sheer fabric over the dress and on the sleeves make for a great cobweb effect. But I feel like this Miss Havisham is too put together. And she doesn't really appear insane, only a bit miffed.  

More Miss Havishams

Miss Havisham by Harry Furniss
Miss Havisham by Charles Green
Jean Simmons in Great Expectations (1989)
Miss Havisham
Catrin Osborne as Miss Havisham on Stilts
Catrin Osborne makeup for Miss Havisham

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