The Little Foxes Costuming - Process

For my Costume Design class, I had to make a production book for Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes featuring costumes for six of the characters. We casted modern actors for the play, and here I will be sharing my research and my designs!


 

Synopsis

Set in the deep south in 1900, The Little Foxes explores the relationships between the members of the Hubbard and Giddens families as they are presented with a new business opportunity. The eldest Hubbard, Ben, wants to build a cotton mill closer to their plantation and solicits money from his brother Oscar, and from his sister Regina who plans on getting her investment from her estranged and ill husband Horace. Desperate to get Regina's investment that they believe she won't deliver on since she's demanding a larger stake in the company, Oscar and his son Leo steal $80,000 of bonds from Horace to complete the purchase of the cotton mill. Horace gets into an argument with Regina about the state of their marriage and Horace has a fatal heart-attack. Regina ends up getting her way in the end by blackmailing her brother and nephew by threatening to have them arrested for their theft unless she gets a 75% share of the business.​


 

Characters

  • Addie – about 55, servant of Giddens Family​

  • Cal – middle-aged, servant of Giddens Family​

  • Birdie Hubbard – about 40, wife of Oscar, mother of Leo​

  • Oscar Hubbard – late 40s, brother of Regina and Benjamin​

  • Leo Hubbard – 20, son of Birdie and Oscar​

  • Regina Giddens – 40, sister of Oscar and Benjamin​

  • Horace Giddens – about 45, husband of Regina, father of Alexandra​

  • Alexandra Giddens – 17, daughter of Regina and Horace​

  • Benjamin Hubbard – 55, brother of Regina and Oscar​

  • William Marshall – 45, business partner of Hubbard brothers​


 

Research

For setting and culture, I'm taking inspiration from New Orleans since Hellman is from Louisiana. In 1900, The south was starting to catch up on Industrialization. That forward-thinking industrialized look will show itself more in Regina and Ben's costumes as they are more business-oriented, whereas Birdie might have a costume reflecting Louisiana's largely agrarian past. ​

Costumes on the whole will be largely Edwardian and reflect the fashions of the last decade of the 19th Century as well as emerging fashions from the first decade of the 20th Century.​



 

Costume Designs

Birdie - Reece Witherspoon

Nervous and dainty; suffering abuse at the hands of her husband Oscar has left her a timid woman, but when she drinks to calm her nerves, she is revealed to be nostalgic for the past and to have hopes and dreams of her family being happy together.​

Dress – yellow satin with gold silk satin organza overlay, ivory lace trim, inspired by fashions from the last decade of the 1800s: leg of mutton sleeves, small bustle​

Shoes – Ivory heels​

Necklace – 2 strands of pearls, collarbone length​

Gloves – Ivory lace​

Hair – pinned up​

 

Oscar - David Morrissey

A bubbling cauldron waiting to spill onto the floor; Oscar is an angry man who tends to take his frustrations with others out on his wife Birdie. He's a man's man; hunting for sport and trying to make his son Leo grow up into a strong, worldly man.​

Shirt – non-stretch white cotton shirtling, white buttons​

Vest – Grey silk satin vest​

Jacket – Avocado Matte silk jacket, Olive lapels to match trousers​

Trousers – Olive linen trousers, crisp iron lines in front of pant legs​

Shoes – grey leather men's evening shoes​

Bowtie – Grey silk satin bowtie to match vest​

Hair – strong side part, gelled back nicely but not to much to appear artificial, mustache

 

Regina – ​Sarah Michelle Gellar​

Clever and scheming; in a loveless marriage, Regina has big dreams to leave her family and move to Chicago, making and spending millions of dollars in the process. Her concerns lie not with her husband or daughter, but on the money and freedom she will get from her husband's death.​

Dress – Olive silk satin gown, pale green linen neck, green floral-patterned accent in bodice. 1900s fashion, Regina fancies herself a trendsetter. Strong silhouette with sharp lines: high energy and abrasive character​

Shoes – olive green heels​

Hair – Very iconic 1900s Gibson Girl​

 

Horace - TJ Thyne

Sad and lonely, as well as physically and mentally weak; Horace's only love is for his daughter, Alexandra as he clings to life with a heart condition. His love with Regina has ended long ago and he sees prostitutes to cope with the fact that his wife no longer loves him. Still, he listens to what she says.

Shirt – White with gray pinstripe long-sleeve dress shirt, slightly large for figure​

Overcoat – Avocado twill overcoat, large honey-colored buttons​

Trousers – Olive green linen slacks, slightly large fitting​

Shoes – Honey-colored slippers​

Belt – Honey-colored leather with a brass buckle​

Bowtie – Olive green linen to match slacks, more casual daywear​

Hair – side part, slicked back but not so much to minimize curls, mustache​

 

Alexandra - Elle Fanning

Growing from a dainty flower into a flowering tree, Alexandra begins the production as a meek young lady who wants nothing more than her father to be healthy and her aunt to be happy. She fears talking back to her mother, but over the course of the play she becomes more defiant, protesting her mother's treatment of her father.​

Dress – Pink silk gown with pale gold silk satin organza overlay, floral embroidery, mint matte satin accent in bodice, ivory lace trim and neck. Something transitionary between late 1800s and early 1900s fashion, transitionary​

Shoes – pale yellow heels​

Gloves – Ivory lace gloves rise to meet sleeves​

Hair – Pinned up in something more modern than the styles of the 1890s but not quite full Gibson Girl.​

 

Benjamin - Robbie Coltraine

A simple man disguised in debonair clothing. Benjamin is a straightforward person and businessman who knows what he wants, but hides behind eloquent and profound language and presents a more refined persona than he actually possesses.​

Shirt – non-stretch white cotton shirtling, white buttons​

Vest – Emerald silk satin vest​

Jacket – Deep green velvet jacket​

Trousers – brown mustard colored wool twill pants​

Shoes – mens' evening dress shoes: grey​

Accessories – Wooden cane to support excess weight put on knees, yellow feather lapel pin, emerald silk satin bowtie​

Hair – Strong side part, slicked back; mustache waxed to be nice and curled at the ends​