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?
It’s October 1st, a.k.a. the day we all seriously think about what the hell will we wear for Halloween. I (of course) haven’t made my mind for what to wear this year, and these are my options (quite broad, of course):
Some Jane Eyre stuff. I love Jane Eyre and her dark fashion, and I’ve never made 1840s stuff. I think I’d use my victorian corset for this and find a bonet. And make a cape. Because of course.
Halloween brides. Yes, I’m SO over the top with this option! I’ve got two inspirations: Helena Bonham Carter in Great Expectations or more Jane Eyre: I just LOVE the wedding dress from the 2011 version (actually ALL fashion from that film), which perfectly work for Halloween and our undying love for creepy brides with heavy veils. Also: bonnets.
Red redingote. Inspired by the one worn by Helena Bonham Carter in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (yes, I LOVE that lady, Bonham Carter is one of my favourite actresses in period films). I really want to make some red 18th century fashion, but I have to say that with only one month I’d have to use a sewing machine and I don’t want the spot of not-sewn-by-hand on my 18th century wardrobe u.u
1890s. I’m a sucker for this look: big hair, straw hat, long skirt, mutton sleeves… I made an 1894 shirtwaist I’ve never worn and I have my late victorian undergarments, skirt and even a straw hat u.u So my look would be kind of Crimson Peak or Mrs I. N. Phelps Stokes but with black skirt and white shirtwaist.
Autumn is my favorite season ! Currently enjoying my holidays and reading Stephan Zweig ~ Marie-Antoinette. I just live how he writes and wish I could do nothing but read all day long, but economics and mathematics are patiently waiting for me ugh. Whale whale whale hope you have a good day love x
Here are my looks for part 6 of my RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 “Simalong” with the gorgeous Ms. Catherine Wheel.
For the maxi challenge, it’s Snatch Game, so Catherine is breaking out her best Ellen DeGeneres impression. I’m really happy with how this look turned out, especially since all of the clothing/hair comes from the game itself.
On the runway, category is Night of 1000 Madonnas, so Catherine is recreating her Marie Antoinette-inspired look for her performance of Vogue at the 1990 MTV Awards. This look was far more reliant on custom content but I’m equally thrilled with how it turned out (plus it’s not a kimono!)
LES LIAISONS DE MARIE ANTOINETTE | Tanya Dziahileva wears a silk organza dress embroidered with silk flowers and fresh flowers at the finale of Alexander McQueen S/S 2007 ‘Sarabande’ …. the dress constructed almost entirely out of fresh flowers that fell to the floor as the model wearing it walked…| Reference, Metropolitan Museum of Art.