After the 90th Oscars ceremony held on the 4th of March, we thought it would be interesting to recall the most fashionable films that have ever been nominated by the Academy for the Best Costume Design. We remember the top-5 movies over the past 90 years, from the “Roman Holidays” to “The Devil Wears Prada”.
“How to marry a millionaire”, 1953
Director: Jean Negulesco
Costume Designer: William Travilla, Charles LeMaire
The film faithfully reflects the style of its time, with Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable in the lead roles. According to the plot, three girlfriends-models start to sell their property to dress up in smart outfits and seduce millionaires. Of course, at the end the question arises before the young ladies: love or money? What to chose? Here is our answer – beautiful dresses.
“Roman holidays”, 1953
Director: William Wyler
Costume Designer: Edith Head
This is not the first Oscars of Edith – she has 35 nominations and 8 (!) Oscars. Roman Holidays itself collected 3 awards. Throughout its 118 minutes you can see a full range of gowns: from royally luxurious to laconic and modest ones. By the way, Edith made sketches even before she met Audrey Hepburn – the artist carefully studied the video from the actor’s samples. By the way, you can find this video on YouTube. In it, the costume designer also talks about how challenging it was to work on such different images of Princess Anne.
“The Devil Wears Prada”, 2007
Director: David Frankel
Costume Designer: Patricia Field
‘Predictable!’ – you will say. ‘Well deserved, though!’, – we will answer. Patricia is a woman who once invented leggings (thanks!) and dressed Carrie Bradshaw throughout all of the seasons of Sex and the City. Initially, $1 million was allocated for costumes, $100,000 of which was spent only on one necklace of Meryl Streep’s heroine Miranda Priestley. Many designers helped the costume designer due to their long lasting friendship. Chanel, for example, provided clothes for Anne Hathaway. Even though the whole of the fashion world saw Anna Wintour in Meryl Streep’s heroine, Patricia Field herself in every way denies the similarity. From the very beginning she decided not to include the legendary Vogue Editor in her mood board. She tried to dress Miranda not according to the latest fashion trends, but more as a wealthy lady. Although we all probably remember the majority of the looks from the film, Field never got a cherished statuette.
“Danish Girl”, 2015
Director: Tom Hooper
Costume Designer: Paco Delgado
The complexity of the film lays in its historical aspect. According to the plot, the main character Einar Wegener becomes a transgender. The main question that the costume designer needed to answer was how to dress a man as a woman, not to cross the line and sustain the style not to trivialize the story. The basis for creating costumes was a book about Lily Elbe (nee Einar Wegener), From man to woman: First sex change. In his work, costume designer Paco Delgado clearly reflected how the style changed in the 1920s, when the transition from corsets to androgyny and the silhouette of a woman with a small chest and narrow hips was the major new trend, believing that Lily could have had considerable influence then. As a result, he obtained multi-layered combinations of various fabrics and shades for the lead role actor Eddie Redmayne. The favourite image of the artist is a suit in beige shades with a lavender handkerchief, appearing in a key turning scene, where Einar is not yet Lily, but already not Einar.
“Phantom Thread”, 2017
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges
Highly anticipated in all fashion circles, this year’s film and nominee tells a story of a post-war London, in which everyone – from members of the royal family to the stars and rich heirs dresses at Reynolds Woodcock’s atelier. Paul Thomas Anderson once received a compliment for his suit, after which he realised that he knew nothing about the history of fashion. The director did not want to use vintage items for his film, so together with the costume designer Mark Bridges he decided to create all the costumes from scratch. Bridges conducted a meticulous study eventually developing 50 unique looks for the film, including 9 sets for the Spring/Summer collection of Woodcock’s house. He drew inspiration from the archival works of Cristobal Balenciaga and several English designers, such as Hardy Amis.
Which film do you consider the best for costume design?
Text: Irina Gorskaia
Images: Vice, Independent