By Colleen


Have you watched the movie Bright Star? It’s Jane Campion’s hauntingly beautiful movie on the final years of the  young John Keats (played by an always winsome Ben Whishaw) and his doomed romance with the very fashionable Fanny Brawne (Abbey Cornish). Keats died on this day, February 23, 1821 at the age of 25.

The film is not so much a memorial of this love-affair, but rather a celebration of a larger love of aesthetics, fashion, and the ability to express oneself through beautiful creations–whether poetry or ruffled collars. This post, likewise,  is a little bit about my outfit and not really at all about Keats, but is an ode to the women of Bright Star and their love of fashion and aesthetics: Jane Campion, Fanny Brawne, and costume designer Janet Patterson.

Most interior scenes are of Franny’s whitewashed bedroom with sunlight streaming in and billowing curtains undulating during the opening credit sequence. We see extended close ups on her hands as she sews on her ruffled collars. In outside shots, England is damp and grey, and Franny is brighter than the flowers of the field.

Unlike Keats and his jealous and unscrupulous friend Charles Brown, who, as men,can express themselves in their writing, cruel pranks, and/or sexual dalliances, Brawne is repeatedly chided for her flirtatiousness and her love of fine clothes.

Brawne is not a vain and silly girl, but like her male poet friends, she is creative, clever, and a Romantic with a capital “R.” And like us here at Sartorial Scholars, she expresses herself through her embroidery work, her brightly colored frocks, her vivid prints, her ostentatious hats, and her love of dramatic ruffs. (We would totally have Fanny as a contributor!)

Outfit Specs: Top (J Crew); Sweater (Target); Skirt (LOFT); Tights (Calvin Klein); Shoes (Easy Spirit)

 Note: I like puffy shirts. I like autumnal colors and I love jewel tones. I love mixing them altogether. This is one of my favorite blouses, a sleeveless, high collared, frilly-necked top from J Crew in caramel with tan, golden, cream, and lavender print all over. Because it is sleeveless and to exaggerate the peacock breast of the frills I usually wear it under a neck sweater (brown, orange, magenta, dark green, plum). I will hold a funeral for it when it finally dies. (I’ve had it for at least seven years.) My editor avatar is a picture of another such J Crew ruffled top, but in black and white, my Pierrot-style blouse. You can shop similar styles here at J Crew Factory.

SOTD: Perfume Calligraphy Rose Aramis for Men and Women. This is a gorgeous scent, with strong Turkish rose, myrrh, olbinum, and ambergris.

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