Melanie Wilkes has very few costume designs that burst out from the screen as "fabulous". One can see Selznick's guiding hand in directing Plunkett to get Melanie (on film) to be the very character of plain-ness and simplicity with costume design. It is a good attempt -- contrast between her and Scarlett are very sharp.
This dress was a surprise gift from a seamstress. I have not been able to photograph much of its details because of lamp that blew up. Nevertheless one can see the skill and artistry behind this dress from the photographs -- which I hope capture it very well.
Worn in that scene where she makes her visit to Scarlett -- in the film it is a lighter plum color -- it meets what I think are very important elements in a doll costume dress.
The fit for instance is wonderful. The skirt captures what the seamstress defines as the "hoop rise" i.e., skirts to be full have to have allowances when the hoops go under. Thus, the doll when standing on its given hoop, never shows the shoes nor the hoop. It also has the fullness that a demure Victorian lady of that times desires.
She even provided what I call a "bustle pillow" to lift the back of the skirt. And on it, Melly's name adorably sewn on it.
The skirt is embellished with plum velvet. Underneath is a satin lining of the same color. Such detail to craftsmanship is a sign of
a seasoned sewer. Thank you to you and this wonderful gift. It truly is "the happiest day."