Elisabeth Moss redesigned a key element of her Handmaid’s Tale costume

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Amy Swales
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Spoiler alert: the below article contains references to scenes in episode eight of The Handmaid’s Tale

If you’ve landed here you’re probably extremely interested in TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, whether you’re still enjoying the quaint novelty of watching a beloved programme doled out once a week on Channel 4 or you’ve already seen the whole series on Hulu.

In which case, it’s likely you’ll be as pleased as we were to discover that the cast and crew have been sharing behind-the-scenes pictures of the set, along with a scattering of insider info.

Moss, who plays central character Offred, has recently been posting on the programme’s official Instagram account, and as well as revealing she loves ‘marking the shot’ (in layman’s terms, snapping the clapperboard thingy), she dropped in the fact she had design input in one of the show’s key outfits.

As fans of Margaret Atwood’s book will know, Offred is taken by her commander (played by Joseph Fiennes in the TV series) to an illicit club, Jezebel’s, where she wears an outfit the polar opposite of her Handmaid’s garb.

In the show, the outfit is a beaded, flapper-style minidress with a plunging back. Moss explains in the caption to the picture that she asked for the dress to be altered.

“Costume fitting for my Jezebels dress after we altered it,” she writes. “It originally had a high back and I requested that it be very very low. I wanted it to be an Art Deco dress because I thought that's what the commander would want, from that era, and I thought the low back would make it feel even more vulnerable.”

The show’s costume designer, Ane Crabtree, has previously explained that there are several design elements of significance throughout, including an inverted ‘vagina’ pin on the Aunts’ clothing as something of an up yours to the elite classes.

She also revealed that Offred and her fellow handmaids wear bloomers and petticoats with “triplicate folding”, and that their nightgowns purposefully have three ‘windows’ on the chests.

“There’s something that happens to me in times of great concentrated creativity, where I wake up at 3:33 a.m,” she said. “I started reading into, What does 3:33 mean?

“Being from the South, being raised Christian, I called up people in Kentucky and they were like, ‘Oh, that’s the father, son, and holy ghost, that’s the trinity.’”

In the near-future dystopia of Gilead, Offred is a Handmaid assigned to an officer and his wife who have been unable to have children. In a world where women’s rights have basically been abolished, she is designated a Handmaid because she’s fertile and her marriage is not recognised by the oppressive, ultra-conservative state because by virtue of it being a second marriage, she’s deemed an adulterer.

The official Instagram account has been posting pictures and notes from cast members for a few weeks.

Crabtree has also posted sneaky peeks on her own account

Images: Channel 4 / Rex Features


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.