Ready For A Close-Up?: A Film Costume Appreciation Post
The 90th Academy Awards a.k.a The Oscars a.k.a one of my favorite times of the year, are this Sunday, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm fascinated by all the history, the pomp and circumstance, and of course, fashion. As a designer, I love watching all the celebrities arrive on the red carpet and finding out what they chose as their winning look (hey, they're all winners in those amazing outfits.) I know everyone wants to know who won best picture, best director, etc. but I always look forward to one very special category near and dear to my heart: Best Costume Design.
I mean, who else would create such iconic looks like Marilyn's Seven Year Itch white halter dress, or Elizabeth's sumptuous Egyptian gowns in Cleopatra? Costume designers work with directors and read scripts word for word to come up with the perfect look to show who the character is, what they're feeling, etc. A costume designer can use color, texture, or the way a garment is constructed to convey an emotion the character is feeling or even, foreshadow something that will happen to that character or someone else in the film. Their costumes are so lengendary, so much so that we even dress up like our favorite characters for Halloween and more. As much as I love fashion design, I would love to dabble in a bit of costume design one day. In the meantime, I'd love to show you some of the costumes that have inspired and captivated me through the years. Happy Oscars Sunday!
1. Gone With The Wind (1939)
Costume Designer: Walter Plunkett
Favorite Look: Scarlett's Barbecue Dress
I love this look because you can clearly see the late 1930's- early 1940's feel in her hair and her dress but it still keeps its Southern charm. You could even take off the crinoline and you easily have a 1940's evening gown. The gown itself has a soft floral print with some delicious ruffles and emerald green velvet accents. This look is Scarlett through and through; it's sassy, yet delicate and has an air of innocence to it. Oh, and that hat is to die for too.
2. The Crystal Ball (1943)
Costume Designers: Edith Head & Adrian
Favorite Look: Tony's Evening Dress Costume Designers: Edith Head & Adrian
The costumes for this movie was a result of two great designers collaborating together: lengends Edith Head and Adrian. All of Paulette Goddard's outfits are gorgeous, but none more so than her second to last dress in the movie. This evening gown literally illuminates the room with the sequins and beads that accent the dress; it's romantic and airy yet the structure allows it to show off Goddard's figure without being too revealing. It's just one of my favorite looks of all time. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it dress since the scene isn't that long, so please see this movie for yourself and check out the amazing costumes this movie has to offer. Since there aren't any full length pictures of this dress, Adrian's dress for Goddard in The Women is a pretty close look-alike.)
3. Gilda (1946)
Costume Designer: Jean Louis
Favorite Look: Gilda's "Amado Mio" Look and "Put The Blame on Mame" Look
These looks are so vampy and femme fatale, how could I not fall in love? To me, the "Amado Mio" look has a bit of an ancient Egyptian vibe, with motifs and colors that remind me of something a modern Cleopatra would wear. It shimmies and shakes when Rita Hayworth does, and can easily catch someone's attention. The same can be said for her "Put The Blame on Mame" dress. With it's inky black color and form fitting structure, it's nothing short of sexy and breathtaking, You can even start seeing how the 40's silhouette is more relaxed and slowly transitioning into more of a 50's silhouette. Rita rocked this look way before Jessica Rabbit did, not that there's a problem with that. These looks are unforgettable and continue to captivate new generations who watch this fantastic film.
4. Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961)
Costume Designer: Hubert de Givenchy
Favorite Look: Holly's opening scene dress
Besides Marilyn's white halter dress, Audrey's black Tiffany dress is one for the books. It screams class, yet can be easily worn by anyone. It can be dressed up or down, with a danish and a cup of coffee as a accessory must. It's so very 60's, but the silhouette has withstood the test of time. Again, this describes Holly's character in a nutshell; the look is chic and Holly dresses it up with opera-length gloves, but she stills keeps an air of fun around it. It's simplicity is something that I love, and its accessorizing potential is endless, which I love even more.
5. What A Way To Go! (1964)
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Favorite Look: Louisa's Pink Look
I saw a movie still from this film, with Shirley's character decked in pink, and I knew I had to see it. It's the epitome of the 60's, with big hair and bold color, yet it keeps its elegance. The dress itself is very simple, but here we see again that accessories make it shine like a bright pink diamond. Funny enough, throughout the movie Shirley's character Louisa says, "simplify, simplify", and I couldn't agree more.
6. Chicago (2002)
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood
Favorite Look: Velma's opening look and Roxie's pink nightgown
I saw this movie as a teenager, and in that instant, I was hooked. The songs, the sets, and the costumes were nothing short of amazing. The opening number with Catherine's Velma dancing her heart out has to be one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. Her costume displays what she feels: she's fearless, bold, and has no regrets. It's seductive and it's the perfect look for a literal femme fatale.
For our other femme fatale, I chose Renee's Roxie's pink nightgown, worn in the "Funny Honey" number. It's her first solo number, and the pink nightgown she wears serves a purpose; it's a light shade of pink, that gives an aura of innocence, which Roxie is trying to portray. Yet, there's that slit on the side of the gown that hints at something else, that even though it's an innocent looking nightgown, theres still a je-ne-sais-quoi about it, maybe a deadly secret? This look inspired me once to cut my hair incredibly short, which maybe wasn't the best idea when it came out crooked (lol).
If you're not the biggest fan of musicals, just watch Chicago for the costumes themselves. You won't regret it.
7. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Costume Designer: Alexandra Byrne
Favorite Look: Christine's "Think Of Me" Gown
Out of all the gorgeous costumes this movie has to offer, the "Think Of Me" gown sticks in my mind when I think of this movie. It's inspired by Franz Xaver Winterhalter's portrait of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It's ethereal, innocent, and angelic. It demands your attention, yet it's soft and utterly divine, with crystal stars on her dress and in her hair. It's beautiful, that's it, it's just plain beautiful.
8. Marie Antoinette (2006)
Costume Designer: Milena Canonero
Favorite Look: All of Marie's Looks
Really? Do I have to explain how much I love these costumes? Okay, okay I will. Just kidding, all the costumes in this movie are a mix of rococo and neoclassical goodness. The opulence is easily reflected in the fabric of the gowns, the rich colors and textures of what all the characters wear, especially Marie. I mean, who doesn't want a party like the ones the royals held, with yummy desserts and lavish dresses?
9. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood
Favorite Look: Sweeney Todd & Mrs. Lovett
I wasn't a fan of musicals until I saw this film. Everything in this movie is on point, including the costumes. I would watch this movie nonstop, and even dressed up as Sweeney Todd for Halloween (because Mrs. Lovett would require a lot of pieces). I love both their chemistry and their costumes. It's Victorian at its best, and the character's emotions are out for everyone to see. Todd's look has shades of black and grey, and the textures are a bit rough, which contrast with his billowy white blouse. Mrs. Lovett on the other hand, has hints of red that peeks through the black that she wears, a symbolism of the lightness she brings to such a dark movie.
10. Inglorious Basterds (2010)
Costume Designer: Anna Biedrzycka-Sheppard
Favorite Look: Shoshanna's red dress and Bridget's suit
Inglorious Basterds was another film I watched over and over again. I fell in love with Shosanna's bravery to stand up against such an evil force, and just so happened to look flawless while doing it. The scene when she's getting ready tops as one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. She puts rouge on like war paint, and slips a veil over her face, definitely a take-no-prisoners look to be sure.
And how can we forget about Bridget Von Hammersmark's smart suit that she wears at the very tense bar scene. It's 1940's fashion at its peak, with a superb tweed making up her suit, and a chic fedora hat with a feather that tops the look.
11. Crimson Peak (2015)
Costume Designer: Kate Hawley
Favorite Look: Lucille's Nightgown
It's hard to choose just one costume from this movie, but I had to pick the nightgown that Jessica Chastain's Lucille wears in the final scene of the movie. This is when all secrets are revealed, and she wears a billowy white nightgown that soon becomes red. The lace adds an touch of innocence, which Lucille is definitely not. She tends to wear darker colors to contrast Edith's costumes, and even her nightgown reflects this. I loved this look so much, I had to dress up as her for Halloween.
And those are my picks for some of my favorite movie costumes. These are just a few of what have stood out to me but there are so many more. I hope to one day join this amazing field and create costumes that are just as memorable as these. What are some of your favorite costumes?
And that's a wrap! Make sure to check the blog for more fun posts! Till next time! ♡ - Daniela & Premier Amour Follow Premier Amour through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and make sure to join our mailing list!