“He’s a great actor. Unfathomable, mysterious. His personality is a mixture of apparent madness and melancholy,” - said Thierry Frémaux, the director of the Cannes Film Festival. Jan Kounen, director of ‘Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky’ (2009), agrees: “His physique retains a dimension of mystery, whatever he does.”
Everything is for sale: love, art, planet Earth, you, me… especially me. A man is a product. Like all the others - with a limited life time. I do advertisement. I force you to dream about what you can never have. My sky is always blue, the girls are always beautiful… perfect happiness, retouched using photoshop. Do you think I make the world better? Well, nah… I make it worst… Everything is temporary. Love, art, planet Earth, you, me… especially me. - 99 francs (2007)
Yesterday I was asked which films I think have amazing costume design, and came to me a long LONG list of films that I believe have costumes so beautiful and perfect that you could mute the film and still watch it just for those clothes. This list is not made of ONLY period films, but guys, these are beautiful clothes (in no particular order):
“Kingsman, The Secret Service”, 2014, Matthew Vaughn, costume design by Arianne Phillips
Double breasted suits, perfect fitting blazers, glasses to die for… This film is like an ode to menswear with the levels of perfection that you can see in it. I love the way the characters change and so their clothes do to fit them, and the way each character has a characteristic look and proper clothing (yeah, even Samuel L. Jackson’s caps).
“Dangerous Liaisons”, 1988, Stephen Frears, costume design by James Acheson
Where would we all be without this film and its perfect opening scene? It’s very likely that our 18th century obsession would not have happened. Acheson’s costumes are historically accurate in a degree that it’s crazy but still perfect for the big screen.
“Jane Eyre”, 2011, Cary Joji Fukunaga, costumes design by Michael O'Connor
Fukunaga tells Jane Eyre’s story with the mysterious and dark look that later we all would love in “True Detective”: perfect dresses taken straight from the 1840s. And Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell in period clothing. We are thankful Mr Fukunaga.
“Io sono l'amore”, 2009, Luca Guadagnino, costume design by Antonella Cannarozzi
The elegance is taken to another level with Italian style and minimalism that takes this story out of time: the pieces from Raf Simons, Fendi and Daminani are timeless in a way that makes you feel that this film was made in 2009 or 2020 or 1960.
“Bram Stocker’s Dracula”, 1992, Francis Ford Coppola, costume design by Eiko Ishioka
Historical accuracy is not always that important. With the right silhouettes for the right dresses and the right characters, a great costume designer can create an atmosphere within a time period bending the aesthetic historically accurate to match with the original idea of the director. That’s what the legendary Eiko Ishioka used to do in each of the films she worked.
“The Great Gatsby”, 2013, Baz Luhrmann, costume design by Catherine Martin
This is probably the worst adaptation of the iconic novel by Fitzgerald, turning a perfect work of narrative into an absolutely boring sequence of frowns and ridiculous voices. BUT, what a view. What costumes. What a soundtrack. And of course, what parties. This is definitely a film to see and enjoy, even with no audio, just the sight of it is gorgeous; with womenswear by Miuccia Prada and menswear by Brooks Brothers. Gorgeous, I tell you.
“2046″, 2004, Wong Kar Wai, costume design by William Chang
Chang and Wong are a wonderful team that bring us beautiful films with beautiful clothes: from urban love stories to kung fu fights. Perhaps 2046 is Chang’s finest work (even though The Grandmaster’s costumes are awesome too), since the many timelines of this movie have a perfect balance between futuristic and vintage, between dark and neon light. And those qipao, suits and wild wigs are pure perfection.
“A Single Man”, 2009, Tom Ford, costume design by Arianne Phillips
The Colin Firth+Arianne Phillips combo appears twice in this list, sorry not sorry! A Single Man is the way a film is seen through a fashion designer’s eyes: beautiful people with beautiful clothes in beautiful places. Every frame is a fashion editorial photo. Every detail is carefully taken care of. And (if all this was not enough) the story is a beautiful sad and heartbreaking glimpse to a lover’s loss.
“A Series of Unfortunate Events”, 2004, Brad Silberling, costume design by Colleen Atwood
Colleen Atwood’s goth/dark/steampunk design vision is always handy for Tim Burton, but in this film is beyond gorgeous: kids clothes, victorian dresses, crazy suits… Everything goes perfect with the dark-humour-for-kids of Lemony Snicket’s books.
“Marie Antoinette”, .2006, Sofia Coppola, costume design by Milena Canonero
Of course Marie Antoinette had to be in this list. We all can watch it in an infinite loop of pastel colours, historically accurate silhouettes and one of the most carefully designed aesthetics of cinema ever.
“Coco et Igor”, 2009, Jan Kounen, costume design by Chattoune and Fab
This film didn’t have the budget of “Coco Avec Chanel”, but the overall film looks beautiful and (fuck yeah) is an historically accurate representation of the 1920s through the fashion of legendary stylish Gabrielle Chanel and the more discreet and classic Igor Stravinsky. Also the opening scene is almost a reenactment of the infamous debut of “The Rite of the Spring” by Stravinsky, danced by Les Ballets Russes with choreography by Nijisnky. And it looks PERFECT. (Also includes Mads Mikkelsen before being Hannibal famous).
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, 2014, Wes Anderson, costume design by Milena Canonero
Second appearance of Milena Canonero in this list! And she totally deserves it. All Wes Anderson films have a very particular visual style and all the characters as well have a particular fashion sense that remain in our minds long time after we see the films (hello red beret, fur coat, tennis headband, boy scout uniform, corduroy suit and a LONG etcetera). And this film is just the peak point: with three storylines in three different times, each have their own aesthetic and colour scheme as well as historically accurate garments that are transformed through colour and details into the clothes worn in this perfect fantastic and pink world.
Now, what are YOUR favourite costume designs in film?
Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (French: [ʒiʁo]; 8 May 1938 – 10 March 2012) was a French artist, cartoonist, and writer, who worked in the Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées tradition. Giraud earned worldwide fame, predominantly under the pseudonym Mœbius, and to a lesser extent Gir, which he used for the Blueberry series and his paintings. Esteemed by Federico Fellini, Stan Lee and Hayao Miyazaki among others, he received international acclaim. He has been described as the most influential bandes dessinées artist after Hergé.
Techno is a “dirty word” as Laurent Garnier claimed somewhere in the 90s (he composed the track “Crispy Bacon” in this clip from “99 Francs”). Does Garnier’s “dirty techno” music illustrate the modern ‘dirty’ industrial production that the 99-Francs ad guy needs to cover with his shiny ad creations?
This clip nicely illustrates the binary of machinic (non-vocal-computer-beat music) vs. the natural (melodic music with vocals)– and questions it. Even if it seems so at the first sight, the clip does not follow the machinic vs. natural pattern, in other words 'techno’ is not a soundtrack of the ugly slaughterhouse-world in this clip. Rather, electronic music is the truth behind the shiny ad-world facade, first illustrated by the woman on the swing and the harp sounds, but which is later on juxtaposed with meat-production as well.
In Matrix’ Morpheus words, this clip gives us the blue pill;
“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” -Morpheus
“99 Francs” is an interesting rendition of techno music as the blue pill.