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Cape used by Elisabeth Moss as Offred in The Handmaid's Tale

Cape used by Elisabeth Moss as Offred in The Handmaid's Tale

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Description (Brief)
This red wool cape is part of a handmaid’s uniform worn by Elisabeth Moss as Offred throughout season one of the Hulu streaming television series The Handmaid’s Tale. The costume was designed by Ane Crabtree for the 2017 series, an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 best-selling novel by the same name. Crabtree chose this vibrant shade of red to symbolize the fertility of the handmaids. The show is set in the near future following a Second American Civil War. The Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian nation, rises to power during the war’s aftermath and implements a strict code of laws based on Christian theology, relegating all women to subservient, second-class citizenship. Worldwide infertitlity led to Gilead’s conscription of fertile women like Offred to lives as child-bearing handmaids for the dominant elite. Atwood’s dystopian world in The Handmaid’s Tale was inspired by the political climate of 1980s America – an age of Reagan conservatism, the rise of Christian fundamentalism, and heated debates over women’s reproductive rights and the environment.

Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale series, created and executive produced by Bruce Miller, won critical acclaim, including eight Primetime Emmy Awards in 2018, and it became the first series on a streaming service to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama. Star Elisabeth Moss also won a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Since the series’ debut, handmaid costumes have been worn by activists in several high-profile demonstrations, including protests against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and demonstrations for women’s reproductive rights.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
cape
costume
date made
around 2016
wearer
Moss, Elisabeth
place made
Canada
Associated Place
Canada
Physical Description
fabric (overall material)
Measurements
overall (mounted): 71 in x 28 in x 20 in; 180.34 cm x 71.12 cm x 50.8 cm
ID Number
2018.0100.01.01
accession number
2018.0100
catalog number
2018.0100.01.01
subject
Television
Entertainment, general
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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