Friday, November 30, 2012


This beautiful Green wool period gown was worn by Ann Rutherford in what is possibly the most loved adaption of “Pride and Prejudice” and made at MGM in 1940.

Ann Rutherford played "Lydia Bennet" in the film.

The costume is designed in a green wool crepe period style with velvet leaf decorations. The costume was designed by famed MGM designer Adrian. Adrian was responsible for costuming many great stars as part of his career at MGM including Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and Judy Garland. He is best remembered for his costume designs in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) as well as many other Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films of the 1930s and 1940s. My personal favourite is the gowns he designed for “The Women” also in 1939. He designed costumes for over 250 films.

Ann Rutherford as "Lydia Bennet" wears the costume when she arrives home a married woman. The costume carries a handwritten label "7498" and stamped MGM.  The skirt has handwritten label "Ann Rutherford 7498."  The costume is accentuated by a large velvet collar and lace.

Here is a detailed photo of the velvet leaf design.

This version of the film was very well received by the public and has remained as a much loved adaption of this popular novel and largely due to the two leads, Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.

Here is the original trailer to the film:

Greer Garson as Elizabeth has been referred to as literally stepping right out of the book and that she was made to play the role.

I recently found that the hat, which accompanies this gown, still exists and is housed in the FIDM Museum and Gallery permanent collection in Los Angeles. You can see the same design velvetleaf used by Adrian to accentuate the hat. Good to know that the hat still exists.

Photo copyright FIDM Museum Library Inc.

Ann Rutherford was a much loved MGM star who is best remembered for playing Polly Benedict during the 1930s and 1940s in the Andy Hardy series. She was also Scarlett O'Hara's sister in “Gone With the Wind”(1939).

The gown was popular and striking enough as well to be used in a paper doll book on film costume.

Rutherford passed away only recently on June 11, 2012.


  1. Not long ago I watched a featurette on Turner Classic Movies in which Ann Rutherford talked about making "Pride & Prejudice." What I remember most is her regret that the film had not been made in color. As I recall, she said that most available color film stock had been gobbled up by Selznick when he made GWTW and that it was in short supply when P&P was made. Looking at the vibrant green of this gown, I can understand why she so strongly felt that the film should have been filmed in color.

  2. I remember seeing that interview as well and that comment stood in my mind as well. Imagine the colour that was on the set with costumes like this on everyone! And add to that the set and backdrops. It must have been a remarkable thing to experience. Thanks for the nice comment :)