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Christy - Choices of the Heart
Creating the Look of an Authentic 1912 Wedding
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By Catherine Marshall

Who will Christy Marry?
Permission by PAX

�Christy, Choices of the Heart� premieres Sunday, May 13 (9:00 � 11:00 p.m. ET/PT) and concludes Monday, May 14 (8:00 � 10:00 p.m., ET/PT) with the event that�s been eagerly anticipated by Christy fans for over 34 years � the heroine�s wedding.  It�s an occasion during which wealthy gentry will rub elbows over the punchbowl with barefoot hillbillies, while antique cars pull into Cutter Gap, depositing wealthy guests from Asheville.  Set against the backdrop of a magnificent mountain range, with spectacular views in all directions, Christy�s wedding will turn out to be everything she ever hoped it would be -- especially her gown, which is a one-of-a-kind fashion statement, both in the script and reality.

The film�s self-taught costume designer, Kate Healey, mixed her sophisticated sense of style, rugged individualism and a little creative license to pull off a truly romantic look for an authentic 1912 wedding.  She designed a unique, vintage gown for Christy, now portrayed by newcomer Lauren Lee Smith.

Christy and Her Father
Permission by PAX

Influenced by early twentieth century Parisian designers, the wedding gown is a distinctive creation with lavish attention to detail and exotic ornamentation.  Healey researched historical fashion illustrations and found that gowns designed by turn-of-the-century couturiers called for a train, embroidered tulle and sculpted, often flowing, draped beading.  However, Healey eschewed the era�s streamlined hobble skirt as it would have proved impractical for a woman getting married in the mountains of Tennessee!

In the miniseries, Christy appears in a wedding gown made of white peau de soie, silk chiffon and chantilly lace, all authentic to the period.  Her antique lace veil is modeled from its description in the script:  a family heirloom passed along for generations, to which each bride added something of her own.  Christy�s mother added satin ribbons, and during the rainstorm when Christy�s life is in danger, her students at the mission sew seed pearls onto the veil as an act of faith.

Healey also dressed the grooms�both Reverend David Grantland and Dr. Neil MacNeill, since two separate ceremonies were filmed to keep viewers in suspense until the miniseries� conclusion.  James Waterston, who portrays Reverend David Grantland , appears in a black wool tuxedo complete with an off-white silk vest, wing-tipped shirt and the final accent�a gentleman�s felt top hat.

Christy and the Kilt!

Stewart Finlay-McLennan, who portrays Dr. Neil MacNeill, appears in a traditional Scottish kilt that honors the character�s roots.  Healey ordered the classic MacNeill tartan from Scotland and had an authentic kilt made locally. The kilt�s sporan, lace tied shoes, shirt and keitan that drapes across the chest, were also designed according to tradition and especially for Finlay-McLennan.

How did the cast feel about these early twentieth century ensembles and transformations?  Waterston liked the fit and style of the trousers so much, he got to keep them.  (He was also outfitted for �Christy�s� storm and flood sequences with appropriate gear, and as he recalls with a tongue firmly planted in cheek��I was particularly fond of the 1912 wetsuit!�)

Finlay-McLennan was thrilled with his costume.  �It felt great to wear a kilt, and I think every guy should wear one.  The women love them!� says Finlay-McLennan, who notes with amusement that when he came onto set, everyone seemed compelled to try and lift it up!  A true Scottsman, he adds, �I cannot reveal what I wore under my kilt!�  Lauren Lee Smith who portrays Christy loved wearing the elaborate wedding dress but says, �The corset was annoying.  I�m glad they�re not in style today!�  Still, she adds, �Kate did an amazing job and put so much time and effort into it.  I felt like a real bride.�

- PAX -

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