Carey Mulligan on the Set of “Suffragette”

Posted on March 13, 2014

Love these shots. Carey Mulligan was born to wear early 20th Century working class clothing, apparently.

Carey Mulligan films scenes for “Suffragette” in London, England. Carey Mulligan plays a character named Maud in the film described by the production as a “foot soldier of the early feminist movement.”

She’s like an English Holly Hobbie doll. She really does look adorable in these clothes, which, let’s face it, are not exactly adorable on their own to the modern eye.

This is not very feminist commentary for a movie called “Suffragette,” is it? Sure, we suppose we could work reproductive health and property ownership laws in here somewhere, but we’d sound kind of dumb doing so. How about this, then: note just how formless the female body had become in clothing of this period, after the heavily restrictive era of the bustle and corset had ended but before the Jazz Age could come along and resexualize women as gamines and flappers. You see the same thing in a lot of the clothing on Downton Abbey in scenes prior to 1920. She’s a triangle from head to ankles; no hips, no breasts, no legs. Ironically, the women of the highly repressive Victorian era had more sexualized forms than this. The Dowager Countess has a more defined waist and set of hips than Lady Mary.

Granted, we have no info on the exact year here. We’re assuming this is early 20th because in late 19th Century she’d be wearing a longer, fuller skirt than that. Plus the coat and hat read early 20th to us. Meryl’s co-starring as Emmeline Pankhurst, (which is awesome casting), which also leads us to believe these scenes are first or second decade of the 20th.


[Photo Credit: FameFlynetUK/FAMEFLYNET PICTURES,]

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!

  • shirab

    Funny to see her checking a phone in that getup.

    • majorbedhead

      I was going to say the same thing.

      There was a photo of the Downton girls floating around a while back. They were all in costume, but not filming, and they all had their phones out.

  • leahpapa

    “…these clothes, which, let’s face it, are not exactly adorable on their own to the modern eye.”

    Tell that to the population of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

    • Darren Nesbitt

      I can’t wait until the temperature rises to around 60. I’m going to go people watching in Brooklyn.

    • Exactly. “Granted, we have no info on the exact year here. We’re assuming this is early 20th…” Or early 21st century in any Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.

  • Tricia

    That. Is. Super. Exciting.
    Meryl and Carey in a movie about, presumably, the suffragist movement? Yes, please.

  • Ginger

    You know what strikes me the most about these pics? It’s not the clothing or the juxtaposition of the modern and period clothing. It’s the fact that she’s clearly very kind to the little boy in these pictures and he obviously adores her.

  • Julia

    Well Marcus Mumford dresses like he’s straight out of the Dust Bowl so I guess it’s a couple’s thing.

  • Amelia Ross

    She looks exactly like the suffragette character in Parade’s End. That is to say, adorable.

    • Judy_S

      I was thinking that, and kind of wishing that CM could have played Valentine….
      But also that the grubbiness of the streets is vivid here in a way you don’t really see in Parade’s End. Valentine never really looked dusty, even after an all-night drive or a day of protesting on a London street.

  • Julia

    Also just looked at the iMDB page for Suffargette and it’s also starring HELENA BONHAM-CARTER AND ROMOLA GARAI AND BEN WHISHAW HOW GREAT IS THIS MOVIE GOING TO BE

    • Supernumerary

      Romola and Ben in the same movie just makes me pine for The Hour, and their beautiful costuming there.

      • WendyD

        *SIGH* The Hour. That we don’t get a satisfactory conclusion to that show is a crime.

        • Agador Spartacus

          Does that mean it’s one of those canceled-before-they-concluded-the-story shows? Because I’ve been wanting to watch it and they recently added it to Amazon Prime. But the idea of an unsatisfactory conclusion makes me pause.

    • gayle

      also Meryl Streep! this movie it is going to be fantastic.

    • butterflysunita

      I was already sold when I saw they were making a movie about the early feminist movement–how cool is that? And with that cast, and so many strong female characters.

    • formerlyAnon

      Ben Wishaw can go either way. This is the right period for him to be a bit underfed, possibly consumptive. Ahhh, the romance of TB, right down my alley for period film males.

  • peachy

    this gal was born in the wrong era. or if you are of the reincarnation ilk …. this gal obviously lived in this era, look at how naturally she wears the clothes! look how great she looks in that hat, those shoes, that coat! look how naturally she wears the setting! look how lovingly she plays with the little boy! why am i using so many exclamation points!?! she looks as if she belongs there, as though she is somehow stuck in time. every once in a great while, an actor will get a role that is perfectly perfectly perfectly suited for them – and it has to do not with only the script, but also the set, the clothes, the music, the makeup, the hairstyles, the architecture, the weather, the location, and just a feeling… you know?

    • Ginger

      She looked amazing in The Great Gatsby, didn’t she? Like she was plucked right out of the 20’s via time machine.

      • peachy

        yes yes yes! perfect –

  • Still waiting for the remake of “My Fair Lady” to go into production. There’s been rumors of Carey as Eliza and Colin Firth as Higgins for a while.

    • Ginger

      That’s one remake I just might have to see…just for Colin Firth as Henry Higgins! However, with that being said, I think Carey is precious, but maybe too precious to play Eliza. She doesn’t have quite the regal presence that Audrey Hepburn did. That’s just my opinion though.

      • AnaRoW

        I just find that funny that you say that given how outraged people were with Audrey’s casting at the time (and some still are). I’m not sure how I feel about Firth as Higgins. Love him but Rex Harrison is burned into my brain.

        • You should see “Pygmalion” with Leslie Howard as Higgins. I used to think Harrison was the be all to end all, but Howard’s Higgins bests it. Firth is going to have issues fighting his innate “everybody wants to do me”. I am always up to watch that battle, though.

          • KinoEye

            Leslie was perfect in that role. He has that authoritarian primness about him that’s ideal for Henry Higgins.

          • Ginger

            Ooooh. I’ve never seen that! I’ll have to put it on my list to watch. Leslie Howard was an amazing actor…period.

          • AnaRoW

            I will. It’s been on my to watch list for years but I haven’t gotten around to it.

          • Constant Reader

            I just added it to my Netflix queue. Wendy Hiller pays Eliza! Love her.

        • Ginger

          I’ve heard the stories about the outrage of Hepburn’s casting! Who else was in the running? I know that Julie Andrews was the voice of Eliza, but was she ever truly considered for the part? MFL is one of those movies that’s ingrained in my soul and with that I’ll always and forever compare anybody else who tries to take on those roles to Hepburn and Harrison.

          • Audrey had bowed out because she thought Julie should have it, but then the studio casted another actress and she was all, “Like fun they will!” and snatched it back.

            I found the script to MFL in my grandmother’s book storage when I was eleven and read it in preparation for a play I was auditioning for. That movie is magic.

          • Ginger

            You really do learn something new every day, don’t you? The BKs are always full of knowledge.

          • marlie

            “I’m not wasting my time on a fashion blog; I’m *learning* things!”

          • decormaven

            Yes, it is a fount of information.

          • alyce1213

            It’s sweet that you used “like fun” because . . . Audrey. (She may have cursed like a sailor IRL, but we don’t perceive her that way.)

          • alyce1213

            Julie Andrews wasn’t the voice of Eliza in the film (she did originate the role on Broadway). The part of Eliza was sung by the amazing Marni Nixon, whose voice covered many non-singing actresses in movie musicals.

          • Ginger

            Dang it…I was wrong again. HA! I always heard (but clearly never researched this) that it was Julie Andrews who did the singing for AH. Thanks for the correction!

          • alyce1213

            She also did West Side Story and The King and I, and others. Unsung hero.

          • judybrowni

            Julie had originated the role on the London stage, if memory serves (and/or on Broadway?)

            Tons of outrage that non-singer Hepburn got the movie role (and the ubiquitous Hollywood lip syncer (sp?) Marni Nixon dubbed the film (Nixon also dubbed Maria for the film of West Side Story).

            All the reasons Julie won the Oscar for Mary Poppins, even the Academy felt she was robbed.

          • AnaRoW

            Julie Andrews was the first choice as she debuted the role on Broadway but TPTB didn’t want to give the role to a stage actress and also thought she wasn’t photogenic enough to appear in movies. They decided to go with established movie star Hepburn even though she couldn’t sing. Her voice is actually dubbed by Marni Nixon.

          • fursa_saida

            People actually thought Julie Andrews wouldn’t look good onscreen. Well, blow me down.

          • makeityourself

            Yes, those concerns were expressed again when casting The Sound of Music.

          • Constant Reader

            Marnie Nixon did the singing for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Julie Andrews played Eliza on Broadway (and also, if memory serves, in London). The story I’ve heard (which may not be true) is that although Julie Andrews played Eliza on Broadway, when it came time to cast the movie, studio execs decided she wasn’t pretty enough for films and chose Audrey instead. Shortly thereafter, Julie made a little film called Mary Poppins and proved them wrong.

        • another_laura

          “Rex Harrison is burned into my brain.”

          This is as it should be. Which doesn’t mean somebody else can’t try but that’s a HUGE hurdle to overcome. Somebody will have to do it – after all, guys play Stanley Kowalski notwithstanding Marlon Brando – Mr. Firth would be brave indeed to take this on.

      • Kiera Knightly was originally cast but then dropped out, I believe (which would have favored an Audrey Hepburn type). But I’m really happy with the idea of Carey as Eliza. She can carry the range of poor young woman (“Drive”) to elegant lady (“The Great Gatsby”). I would love to see her work that transformation in one movie.

        …”Pygmalion”/”My Fair Lady” may be my favorite sports team…

    • I’d see about Emmy Rossum as Eliza, myself. We already know she can sing, and Eliza is almost operatic in range and complexity. The melodies are really hummable but they require a LOT of dexterity to make them shine.

      • That is an element I hadn’t thought of. I had a copy of a concert of “My Fair Lady” with Jeremy Irons as Higgins (you’d think that’d be a slam dunk – it was not). Eliza was sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who has a very lovely, operatic voice, but just not one for Eliza. Though, Emmy did play a young Audrey in the Jennifer Love Hewitt biopic (and was much, much better than J.Lo Hew)…

        • L’Anne

          There’s been a biopic of Jennifer Love Hewitt???? WHY?

          • No, but the real answer is worse – Jennifer Love Hewett produced and starred in a tv biopic of the life of Audrey Hepburn.

          • L’Anne

            Sacre bleu.

  • The suffragette movement in Britain was at its height in the years leading up to the First World War (Emily Davison threw herself under the King’s horse in 1913, the same year the Cat and Mouse Act was introduced), so I reckon this will be set sometime between 1910 and 1914.

  • kmk05

    It has to be early 20th century because that’s when most countries caved into letting us vote.

    • Adelaidey

      Let’s all take a moment to remember that Switzerland didn’t grant women the right to vote until the 1970s. The 1970s!

      • formerlyAnon

        How did I not know this? I was a sentient adult during [most of] the 1970s. How could I have missed such a thing??!

  • Beardslee

    Yes, this is definitely before 1914. Hemlines climbed some during the war. Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst suspended their activism for the vote to support the war effort. It was a controversial decision and alienated Emmeline’s other daughter Sylvia, but you can argue that it paid off with the vote for women after the war ended. The Pankhursts, especially Christabel, were fascinating and ate nails for breakfast, and so now I can’t wait to see this movie! Emmeline and Christabel were always beautifully dressed, so we can expect some wonderful costumes for them.

  • Josefina Madariaga Suárez

    I’m going to say something that’s bordering on blasphemy, but I’m a little worn-out of Meryl. The lady is fierce and she’s without a doubt the best actress of her generation; but she seems to be everywhere and she could use a couple years of rest (runs away to avoid being lapidated).

    Having said that, it is an awesome casting and I can’t get enough of Helena Bonham-Carter’s loopiness. Plus, Carey is the cutest little pixie ever and I just realized how much I’ve missed her.

    • marlie

      I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with you, but I’ve certainly heard people comment during the awards season that it would actually be nice if she sat out a year or two to allow other actresses to get some of the accolades (assuming that she’s always nominated, and often wins).

      • Josefina Madariaga Suárez

        Maybe they have a point, but I’m also getting the same from Jennifer Lawrence and sometimes from Leonardo DiCaprio: while they’re all terrific actors, it’s hard to judge the merits of their latest roles because I can’t tell if they did a great work or if I’m biased for their previous (and very recent) performances. For instance, while I liked Jennifer in American Hustle, I still can’t decide if her performance was worth all the nominations or if she got overpraised because she got two consecutive good performances in a extremely short amount of time.

        • marlie

          I’ve heard the same argument made about JLaw and Leo as well, in terms of consecutive nominations, as well as the worthiness of some of the roles.

        • FrigidDiva

          I’m totally on board with you about JLaw, I was just thinking that the other day while I was watching Catching Fire. I think she’s a good actress, don’t get me wrong, but I’m getting a little JLawed out.

          • Violina23

            Well, at least she didn’t get nominated for Catching Fire, right? 😉

  • KinoEye

    Votes for women, step in time!

    • seelebrennt

      kick your knees up, step in time!

      • Beardslee

        Except that, until they see this movie, their daughters’ daughters didn’t adore them. They didn’t know about them. How many Americans know who Alice Paul is? And yet she was instrumental in securing the vote for American women.

        • teensmom99

          Well done, sister suffragettes!

    • Violina23

      Hahaha, my 4YO just saw that movie for the first time and is OBSESSED, but clearly has no idea what the heck it’s about. But penguins! Dancing! HUZZAH! (I hadn’t seen that movie in the longest time either, it’s so very trippy!)

    • Kit Jackson 1967

      I once had a professor in a woman’s history class reference “Sister Suffragettes” while explaining woman’s suffrage, and everyone in class knew exactly what he was talking about.

  • judybrowni

    Which goes to prove that there are plenty of acting jobs for Meryl Streeps over 60.

    • alyce1213

      I see what you did there.

  • ballerinawithagun

    Costume history rarely covers the working class people so this clothing seems very appropriate.

  • madge

    it’s very interesting to me that in the 2 eras where feminism made huge progress (1910-20s, 1960-70s), waistlines went away in clothing. free women = free waists! (as a non-waistline having person, i’m a huge fan of non-waistline having clothes.)

    • histrogeek

      Probably has something to do with being able to move and breathe.

  • marlie

    “Early 20th century” is striking me as a little “hipsterish.” 😛

    Carey looks cute, and this sounds like it could be an interesting movie!

  • Paula Pertile

    Well I love her coat, I would wear it today. (Also pretty sure I’m a reincarnated Edwardian.)
    Excited for this one, on lots of levels (subject, actors, costumes …)

  • histrogeek

    And then she puts a bomb in a mailbox. The Pankhursts didn’t take shit from no one.

  • rkdgal

    About damn time someone made a movie about the British Suffs; they were made of tough stuff and deserve to be celebrated.

  • ashtangajunkie

    I am loving these shots – i had no idea that this film was being made and I am loving the casting choices. And that little guy’s chapeau – very cute.

  • formerlyAnon

    The “laughing candid with a kid” shot should be immortalized for later photo montages. Bonus: kid’s face not shown, so possibly simpler to acquire his permissions?

  • frannyprof

    But she’s checking her iphone and carrying a commuter mug, so now I’m all confused. Is she a time-traveling suffragette? Because that would be awesome.

  • Kent Roby

    You just KNOW that Joan Rivers will show one of these pics and criticize her for looking frumpy without mentioning that it’s a costume for a period film!

  • kt

    I am really enjoying the stripes/ puffer/ plaid combo on the assistant(?) in the side short. She looks fun and suitably irritated, come sit by me and snark.

  • Gatto Nero

    Enjoyed the historical context very much, TLo.
    And yes, she looks perfect in these shots.

  • teensmom99

    Love your analysis and your feminism–but I actually think she was born to wear the clothes from “An Education.”

  • TwiddlyStun

    Will I ever be able to see her without wanting to tell her not to blink? Put her in period costume and all I can think is that she must have done so.

  • Corsetmaker

    Corsets were still very much there at that time, they were just changing shape. They didn’t really morph into girdles until the 20s when elastics became more reliable, and even then they were pretty heavy duty. Teens corsets were quite straight but long, went way down over the hips. As opposed to earlier eras when the waist was the focus. Apart from movements like dress reform which was pretty niche, most women continued to wear corsets, even working class women. So the straighter, looser shape was mostly superficial. Shorter skirts would be far more practical though. Sorry, pet subject, can’t resist 😀

  • Jason Hogan

    Small hat, visible shoes, low-ish neckline, menswear details in the coat lapels, definitely after 1900, I’d even guess after 1910.