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Enter Anna Karenina’s adulterous world

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  Monday 4th February 2013
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Monday 4th February 2013
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With the upcoming release of the movie on DVD and Blu-ray, selections of the Oscar-nominated costumes from Anna Karenina are on show at Ham House in Richmond – a key location used during the filming. The exhibition features pieces worn by Keira Knightley in the film and created by award-winning designer Jacqueline Durran.

The costumes have been nominated for Best Costume Design at this year’s Oscars and BAFTA awards – acknowledgment that Durran expresses as“such an honour”.

Durran worked closely with director Joe Wright on the project, who’s strong vision for the film’s wardrobe gave her no leeway. With a tight schedule and each costume taking around 50 hours to complete, there was no room for error.

 “I’m delighted, particularly because the entire production was such a strong team collaboration. Everyone was completely in tune throughout the project, so I’m really pleased,” the designer claimed. “You have to go into it thinking that you’ve got a 20 per cent chance of winning – it’s just such an honour to even be nominated. You can’t worry too much about it. It’s too traumatic! It’s almost a relief when you find out that you haven’t won, because you don’t have to go up on stage.”

“Joe wanted me to concentrate on silhouette – the film was very stylised and in the early stages he was already thinking of it as a stage performance, so how the costumes would look on a figure on a stage. We took 50s couture as a starting point, but set it in the 1870s. The costumes aren’t historically accurate, but at the same time had to be believably period and have an aura of period opulence. We took a design, minimised the frills and lace, stripped everything back to leave just the silhouette and then worked out a way to make that really beautiful.”

The outfits have so much grace that it is hard not to imagine yourself as aristocratic Anna Karenina herself. Surround yourself with luxurious silks and furniture to enter a whole other world.

Pooja Sahny

The Anna Karenina costume exhibition will be open at Ham House from January 26th until April 4th, visit here for more details. Tickets cost £11 for adults and £5.50 for children.