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Little Women (2019)
Sony Pictures/Webb Weber
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LITTLE WOMEN BIG HATS

The “Little Women” trailer is an ode to amazing headwear

By Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz

Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation of the 1868 novel Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, got its first trailer today (August 13). It promises to be a star-studded affair, with Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet (reunited for the first time since Gerwig’s 2017 film Lady Bird) in leading roles, and the likes of Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, and Laura Dern as supporting characters.

Ronan plays Jo, a writer who is bent on penning a story about her four sisters growing up in a Civil War-era US. An iconic literary tomboy, Jo is determined to show that women can be more than just wives, as was the societal norm: “Women, they have minds and they have souls as well as just hearts,” Jo proclaims in the trailer. “And they’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent as well as just beauty. And I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a women is fit for.”

The film also promises to deliver some seriously gorgeous headwear. The trailer opens with a pan to all four sisters wearing enviable straw hats, structured and beribboned (though Jo, the rough-and-tumble sister, sports one that’s noticeably floppy and ribbon-free). In the winter they switch to felt: Jo wears a character-appropriate newsboy cap, that later turns into a marginally more sophisticated beret. There are decorative fascinators and many a flower crown. Streep’s headwear is likewise a sartorial reflection of her character: A wealthy, crotchety widow, she, per the trailer, seems to favor a Havishamian black lace veil.

Costume design was led by Jacqueline Durran, whose résumé includes such quintessential period dramas as Pride and Prejudice (2005), Atonement (2007), and Anna Karenina (2012), for the last of which she won an Oscar in costume design. Hats, particularly straw hats and bonnets, feature prominently in Alcott’s original text. That said, flower crowns and fascinators (the latter a decidedly British accessory) seem to be an aesthetic flourish on Durran’s part.

But judging by the trailer and the aforementioned esteem for excellent headwear, Gerwig’s take on the classic—which is slated for a Christmas release—promises to be a welcome addition to the long list of Little Women on-screen adaptations, the last of which was a 2017 TV series on the BBC.