The nightdress on film
How did this costume actually feature in Gone with the Wind?
Acquisition notes at Topsham Museum explain that the dress seems to have been used in ‘birth of Bonnie and Rhett divorce scenes’.
In the first of these scenes, the nightdress is barely visible. Vivien Leigh wears a turquoise garment over the top of the nightdress as she lies in bed. Her hair falls loosely across her shoulders so that only small portions of the garment can be seen.
The nightdress then appears again around eighteen minutes further into the film. Vivien Leigh once again wears the nightdress in bed when Clark Gable, playing the character of Rhett Butler, tells Scarlett O'Hara that he wants to divorce her. Vivien Leigh repeatedly interacts with the nightdress in the scene, plucking at its frilly sleeves.
While the nightdress is therefore used at important moments in the film adaptation, it is not as iconic as other key ‘looks’ from the film which many people now associate with Vivien Leigh, such as the green dress made of curtains.