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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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A (short and sweet) interview with Pulp Fiction and Almost Famous costume designer Betsy Heimann.

Who HASN’T seen Pulp Fiction?! Not many people I imagine. Everyone should have seen Almost Famous as well – a must watch, especially those of you who are interested in fashion, it’s 1970s heaven. I had the privilege of talking to the woman behind the classic white shirt, black high waisted trousers we see on Mia (Uma Thurman) in Pulp Fiction (I need the wig she wears!) and the hippy, denim and aviator sunglasses overload  in Almost Famous Betsy Heimann.

On Screen Fashion: How long have you been a costume designer? What inspired you to pursue it as a career?

Betsy Heimann: Lots of years… the career was suggested to me. That was an inspiring suggestion.

OSF: What is your favourite fashion on screen moment of all time?

BH: Eric Stoltz in his bathrobe and T-shirt and Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia. The scene where he starts as a small speck on the horizon and finally comes face to face with Lawrence for the first time. All in black on a black horse; mysterious and sexy WOW.

OSF: You’ve worked on Pulp Fiction – how does it feel to be to have been involved in one of the best films of all time?

BH: FANTASTIC!

OSF: Can you explain Mia’s look?

BH: Mia is the female counterpart of a Reservoir Dog.

OSF: The suits Jules and Vincent wear are a memorable costume moment in the film – what image were you trying to get across with those?

BH: Quentin and I, were trying to continue the same look from Reservoir Dogs for these characters. We put Vincent in a Linen suit so he would look disheveled and a bolo tie, instead of a black tie, because he was a bit of a cowboy. Jules was the Preacher so I put him in a shinier suit and a button down collar shirt to echo that look.

OSF: What’s your favorite costume moment in the film?

BH: Eric Stoltz in his bathrobe and T-shirt. That was a labor of love.

OSF: You’ve also worked on Almost Famous which is well loved by anybody remotely interested in fashion – which character was the most fun to wear?

BH: Every character in Almost Famous was so well developed by Cameron Crowe. I loved bringing them all to life. It was a feast.

OSF: Were items custom-made or did you source items from vintage places?

BH: Except for the blue jeans, I designed all the principal costumes including the t-shirts and shoes.

OSF: How much research did you have to go through to make sure that you were accurately presenting the 1970s era?

BH: I had access to amazing research; buckets of it.

OSF: Do you have any interesting stories from either Pulp Fiction or Almost Famous in terms of costumes?

BH: I never kiss and tell.

Many Thanks to Betsy Heimann.

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