A Stitch in Time
“Fashion is the mirror of history,” said Louis XIV. Fusing biography, art, and history, this BBC documentary series explores the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore. Fashion historian Amber Butchart looks for clues within the portraits, while costumer Ninya Mikhaila reconstructs a range of garments using only period techniques.
- S1 E1 - Charles IIJanuary 2, 201829minFashion historian Amber Butchart goes in search of Charles II through the clothes he wore and discovers a sartorial innovation he introduced which survives to this day. He is credited with creating the vest and our modern day three-piece-suit. Her quest takes her from an English stately home to the Palace of Versailles where the English king's cousin, Louis XIV, openly mocked his attire.Watch with a free Prime trial
- S1 E2 - The Arnolfini PortraitJanuary 2, 201829minVan Eyck’s enigmatic Arnolfini portrait offers rich material for debating its meaning. Does the female subject’s voluminous gown indicate that she was pregnant? Amber travels around the country to see the garment’s fabric evolve from raw wool to the finest cloth, and discovers how wool was dyed in the 1400s, using natural ingredients from botanical and bodily sources.Watch with a free Prime trial
- S1 E3 - The Hedge CutterJanuary 16, 201829minPortraits tend to depict the very rich so a full-length 18th century portrait of an estate hedge cutter wearing a leather jacket is a fascinating find for fashion historian Amber Butchart. It provides many clues as to how ordinary people clothed themselves with second-hand garments and Ninya and her team set about recreating the coat as it would have originally looked before the thorns got to it.Watch with a free Prime trial
- S1 E4 - Dido BelleJanuary 2, 201829minIn Scotland’s Scone Palace hangs a portrait of Lady Elizabeth Murray and a black woman mistakenly thought to be her servant, but who was in fact her cousin, Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a naval captain and a slave. The archives at Kenwood House provide clues to Dido’s life, while an 18th-century cotton mill reveals much about the impact of slavery on the fashion of the day.Watch with a free Prime trial
- S1 E5 - The Black PrinceJanuary 2, 201829minSix centuries ago, the eldest son of King Edward III-the so-called Black Prince-decreed that on his death, his heraldic surcoat (or jupon) was to be displayed above his effigy in Canterbury Cathedral. Amber Butchart is allowed a once-in-a-lifetime close encounter with this extremely fragile and historically significant garment.Watch with a free Prime trial
- S1 E6 - Marie-AntoinetteFebruary 6, 201829minAmber Butchart goes in search of the doomed queen through a scandalous portrait, La Reine en Gaulle which reveals not only Marie-Antoinette's lack of political judgment but also her desire to be released from the formality of court life. Ninya Mikhaila and her team labour to recreate the scandalous gown.Watch with a free Prime trial