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The best costumes in film of all time part three

Continuing on from part one and part two:

Eleven: Marie Antoinette

I’ve spoken about Marie Antoinette before, it is an absolutely stunning film by one of my favourite directors Sofia Coppola and whenever I think about the best costumes in film this immediately pops into my head. The queen of France, Marie Antoinette is young, fresh and a lover of fashion (especially shoes) and enjoys indulging in cake and champagne. Costume designer Milena Canonero won Best Costume Design for the film at the Oscars in 2006 due to the pastel coloured dresses including duck egg, mint green, baby pink and peach which are all currently fashion trends this spring 2012. The lace collars, the wide exaggerated under skirts and corsets are a depiction of what the queen did wear during the late 1700s but with a romantic, edgier feel which has a traditional notion with a little modern-day cult thrown in.

Twelve: Inception

The wonderfully creative, mind-boggling Inception messed with our heads in the summer of 2010 and although the costumes are impressive for all of the characters (I can’t pin point just ONE great costume moment!), the costumes play a particularly important role in the way that the film is being told. Costume designer Jeffrey Kurland had to work extra close with director Christopher Nolan to make sure the clothes are accurate throughout the dreams and also the reality but while speaking to Clothes on Film he might have given away the ending. All of the clothes were custom-made and each character had their own individual style and colour palette as shown in the above image therefore everything was made specifically for each of them. Due to the architecture professions in the film Jeffrey chose sharp lines such as peaked lapels, windowpane patterns, and plaids.

Thirteen: Sex and the City

For the first Sex and the City film Carrie had more than 80 outfits to wear but this is by far the most memorable. The moment when Carrie receives a large dress box and a note from the woman herself, Vivienne Westwood stating that the dress belonged to Carrie, after seeing her wearing it during a Vogue photo shoot. It would only happen to her wouldn’t it? The dress is a little OTT, I remember seeing it and thinking it was lovely but Carrie is the only one that could pull it off even though I wasn’t a fan of her ‘something blue’ feather a.k.a. bird head-piece, yet it did give the outfit edge which you would expect from her. The beautiful fabric is luminous – the champagne silk is the perfect colour for Carrie whilst the fabric itself is very classic. The dress has a silk bustier with a built-in corset, a puff under-skirt which is also silk but a slightly off-white colour with an asymmetric hem. Sarah Jessica Parker and the Sex and the City films are sure great for marketing, particularly as shopping platform Net A Porter sold out of the Vivienne Westwood Carrie dress’ on their website for $10,000 a pop despite it only being a knee-length version (the floor length version is $15,7000 which you have to order from the lady herself, Vivienne and wait six months for it to be produced.) Were you inspired by this dress for your wedding?

Fourteen: Alice in Wonderland

I love anything Tim Burton and there’s no deny in the fact that his films excel in everything – production design, script, visual effects and of course, costume design. With his eccentric mind alongside his long-standing costume designer Colleen Atwood who has worked on many of Burton’s films (Edward Scissorhands, Planet of the Apes, Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow and upcoming film Dark Shadows) the costumes ooze originality. Alice in Wonderland is no exception. There are wonderful costumes throughout, but of course Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter stands out to most. Colleen explored the world of hat makers in London from the Edwardian era which inspired her more than the previous illustrations of the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s book. Depp being a chameleon by adapting to all of his costumes so well that they don’t even appear as costume was dressed in very playful and eccentric clothes to portray his mad personality, yet not distracting away from his character and personal story within the film. The jacket is made from silk which is burnt by the break-down department to give it age, he also has a bow tie which reacts with his mood which rises up when he is happy and droops down when he is sad. He has a pair of scissors attached to the a jacket with scrap pieces of ribbon which he can use to create a hat at the last-minute, there is embroidery on his trousers which is an embroidered ‘doodle’ which he does while waiting for Alice to come to tea and he also has mismatch socks as he lost the pairs.

Fifteen: The Help


Being a huge fan of 1960s clothing, or ‘Mad Men era’ shall I say, I absolutely adored The Help. Costume designer Sharen Davis transformed the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett into costume heaven with sort-after dresses upon dresses of the ice-cream shade kind. The bold floral prints and pastel shades are so visually appealing and beautifully hand-made that it’s very clear how much effort she put into transforming sheets of fabric into wonderful shift dresses, pencil skirts and ultra-feminine blouses. Kathryn created 50 costumes from scratch using vintage fabrics with the rest being sourced from vintage and costume shops, the latter being difficult due to the rural location which meant cast members having to fly to LA for their fittings. Taking inspiration from old Vogue magazines, 1960s high-street fashion catalogues and Marilyn Monroe, the overall look is any fashion-lover’s dream and an expensive one at that – she spent $15,000 on just the period accessories which included leather structured handbags, pearl choker necklaces and cat-eye sunglasses.

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The best costumes in film of all time part two

Continuing on from part one of the best costumes in film of all time.

Six: Dumb and Dumber

The greatest suits of all time? I think so. Who can forget this priceless moment in Dumb and DumberHarry and Lloyd have come into some money, or should I say ‘loaned’ some money yet choose to turn up at a fancy pubic event in the brightest, most ridiculous suits you have ever seen. Of course they are brilliant which causes quite a reaction amongst guests unsurprisingly due to the luminous orange/sky blue tuxedos with matching bow ties, top hats and canes. Costume designer Mary Zophres has definitely gone down in comedy film history with these costumes, especially with the interest in hiring replicas for special occasions, like school prom, stag nights, amongst many others … you have to love them. Oh and with the news of a Dumb and Dumber sequel who knows what eccentric costumes Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels will be in!

Seven: Titanic

In 1998, Titanic won an Oscar for Best Costume Design as a result of costume designer Deborah L. Scott creating some spectacular costumes for the film. This dress was worn at a formal dinner with Rose (Kate Winslet), her family and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) but in the scene pictured above, Rose is letting her hair down and showing Jack that she isn’t just a rich girl, but somebody that likes to have fun despite her mum’s disapproval. The beaded evening gown is very luxurious with a lot of hard work and detail going into the process  – the dress distinguished which class Rose was in, especially compared to the threads third-class Jack is wearing. The heavy orange under-skirt and delicate beading on the dress meant Rose required help from maids dressing/undressing which was common amongst women in the early 1900s, especially as many changed four or fives times a day, well those who acquired wealth.

Eight: The Devil Wears Prada

Oh my god, I just LOVE this scene when Andrea (Anne Hathaway) walks in to the office draped in designer clothing much to her co-worker Emily’s (Emily Blunt) dismay – “Are those the … the Chanel boots?” Why yes they are THE Chanel boots, what a moment. Based in a fashion magazine in the centre of New York, who better to be the costume designer than the lady behind the Sex and the City costumes, Patricia Field. Many designers were used in the film to dress the cast including Dolce & GabbanaDonna KaranCalvin KleinValentinoJimmy ChooHermes, Prada and of course Chanel, who were determined to dress Anna Hathaway for the role. Andrea is a writer, she’s not too interested in fashion despite applying for a job at a fashion magazine but has an obvious transformation from not knowing how to spell [Dolce and] Gabanna, to only wearing designer labeled clothes.

Nine: Clueless

Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher Horowitz in Clueless is the perfect example of a 90s high school teenager who appreciates fashion. Costume designer Mona May caught her big break with this film and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much plaid in a film before – there are countless outfit combinations of mini skirts, knee-high socks and mary-jane’s which is commonly known as ‘preppy.’ When Cher’s very own fashion doll Tai (Brittany Murphy) lands on the screen, she is embracing another popular 90s trend – grunge, wearing a baggy band t-shirt and oversized plaid shirt which is very dark and not feminine in the slightest. She is transformed into a double of Cher but if you watch closely, she subtly shows her inner-grunge with cut off denim shorts, Dr. Marten boots and converse trainers but teamed with crop tops and girly blouses therefore still remaining in the fashion conscious Cher clan.

Ten: Batman: The Dark Knight

Another iconic costume in film which is very distinct and easily recognisable is the Joker (Heath Ledger) in The Dark KnightCostume designer Lindy Hemming took inspiration from images of the Joker in past comic books/graphic novels/films which isn’t surprising yet also looked into punk rock clothing. Wanting to make the costume more contemporary to previous works of the Joker, she looked into fashion, mostly eccentric clothing worn by the Sex Pistols, mainly vocalist Johnny Rotten to make the character more realistic, not an amateur costume that would be put on and taken off throughout the film but the practicality that somebody actually dresses like it. Lindy created 25 of these coats for various stages in the film which were altered in the costume-break down department to reflect these stages and the fact that these are the only clothes he owns, therefore needing to look ‘lived in.’

Part three coming soon.

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