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Posts Tagged ‘fashion in film’

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Day-Lewis sports his own look for the W interview photo shoot. Navy blue suits him. 

In the case of Phantom Thread, when we started I had no curiosity about the fashion world. I didn’t want to be drawn into it. Even now, fashion itself doesn’t really interest me. In the beginning, we didn’t know what profession the protagonist would have. We chose fashion and then realized, What the hell have we let ourselves into? And then the fashion world got its hooks in me. 

Daniel Day-Lewis, British actor, starring in the film Phantom Thread.

This quote is from an interview with reporter Lynn Hirschberg for W.

To prepare for playing the part of couturier Reynolds Woodcock (a fictional character) Day-Lewis, like all good actors, did extensive research. He watched 1940s and 50s fashion show archival footage and spent many months apprenticing with Marc Happel, head of the NYC Ballet costume department. He learned to sew and even … get this –  made a Balenciaga dress.

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Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock and Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread. 

He found a photo of what he thought was a simple Balenciaga dress and decided to make it. Turns out it was not so simple but undaunted he sketched the design and went about draping gray flannel fabric on his wife, Rebecca Miller, who stepped in as a fit model. He says the hardest part was figuring out “a very particular gusset in the armpit.” By trial and error (always the way in sewing) he figured it out and lined the dress in what became Woodcock’s signature color, a pinkish lilac.

Very impressive!

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Whatever you do, do it carefully. 

Alma – fictional character (played by Vicky Krieps) in the new film, Phantom Thread. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

Excellent advice going into the new year. This will be my 2018 mantra.

Speaking of Phantom Thread, I am looking forward to this film. Of course for the fashions, but I hear that really the film is less about that and more about a dark character obsessed with creativity (Day-Lewis). The fashion industry is just his context. The script was a collaboration between Day-Lewis and Anderson – they started with the fictional character, Reynolds Woodcock, and placed him in the world of fashion.

Day-Lewis stated in a recent interview with W, that he has had a hard time shaking off this particular character. Apparently it’s not uncommon for the serious actor to fully immerse himself in his characters, but Woodcock is different somehow and Day-Lewis was left with such sadness that he has announced his retirement from acting. The unusual formal announcement made it binding. He says he doesn’t want to get “sucked back into another project.” I wonder if somewhere in his mind was Alma’s advice – Whatever you do, do it carefully.

In the meantime, Day-Lewis has been nominated for a Golden Globe and we shall soon hear what Oscar has to say.

General release is set for January 19th, 2018.

 

 

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Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Costumes by Edith Head.

I recently needed a break from all the holiday hoopla and decided on a night in with a classic non-holiday movie – Sunset Boulevard.

What a great film of “glamorous” Hollywood, which stays on the comfortable side of creepy but adds a pinch of noir. Directed by Billy Wilder in 1950 and starring Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond and William Holden as Joe Gillis, Sunset Boulevard tells the story of an unstable middle-aged actress who is living in denial. She’s striving for a Hollywood comeback or rather a throwback to her youth as a big star in silent films thirty years earlier. Writer and debt-ridden Holden comes along and gets snared into her time warp.

Swanson received an academy award nomination for her work in this film but she was not the fist choice for the part. She accepted it after actresses such as Mary Pickford and Mae West turned it down for the story-line hitting a little too close to home.

It must have for Swanson as well. She had been a star in the 1920s but at age 50 she had long since faded into Hollywood history. Still, being a bit of a health nut, particularly about food, Swanson looked great and Wilder made the choice not to turn her into an old scary hag for the role of Norma Desmond.

Although she is stuck in her heyday era, Norma Desmond still looks chic thanks to costumer extraordinaire Edith Head.

In her biography Head discusses Wilder’s vision:

Billy explained to me that he wanted Gloria to convey a feeling of the past, but he didn’t want her to re-create it. He didn’t want anything ridiculous or laughable … Norma Desmond tried to be as contemporary as possible by wearing fashionable styles … To accomplish this I added a touch of the bizarre to each costume to remind audiences that she was living in a dream world of the past.

I think Head did a fabulous job creating a look for Norma that is unique and timeless.

Escape the holidays for an evening and visit Sunset Boulevard.

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Fashion designer b Michael had the honor of dressing Whitney Houston in the upcoming film Sparkle.

A remake of the 1976 film starring Irene Cara, Sparkle takes place in the 1960s and tells the story of an up-and-coming sister singing group in Harlem. Ms. Houston plays the girls’ mother.

Mr. Michael has always been about style. As a youngster he’d redesign his grandmother’s hats. After an early and brief career on Wall Street he shifted into fashion and worked as a milliner for Oscar de la Renta. In 1980 Nolan Miller invited Mr. Michael to design hats for the hit television show, Dynasty. In 1989 he created his own line of hats and ten years later in 1999 he crossed over into women’s wear showing his label b Michael for the first time.

Last fall Mr. Michael was asked to work with Sparkle’s costume designer Ruth Carter in creating nine pieces for Ms. Houston. “Whitney was excited about working on the film,” Mr. Michael recently said in an interview with WWD. “I was excited to work with her. It was a once-in-a- lifetime moment.”

He told WWD that Ms. Houston frowned on the sleeveless dress he designed for a church scene. She pointed out to him that she needed dramatic sleeves for when she raised her arms up high while singing.

Mr. Michael listened to the feedback and designed a champagne-color silk and wool suit with exaggerated trumpet sleeves (pictured above). It’s lovely, but unfortunately the suit includes mink fur around the collar. Assuming it’s real, that’s disappointing. The use of real fur in fashion is unnecessary and inhumane. Still, the suit is a beautiful color and I love those sleeves.

We can see this suit and all the other b Michael originals for Ms. Houston when Sparkle is released in August.

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Brooks Brothers costumes for The Great Gatsby.

There have been five film versions of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s best known novel, The Great Gatsby and come December we will have another. Those of us with a fondness of 1920s  fashions are certainly looking forward to the visual feast.

A feast it will be! WWD recently reported that Brooks Brothers supplied all the costumes for the male actors and extras. Working with the film’s costume designer Catherine Martin, Brooks Brothers provided re-creations of 1920s wardrobes including suits, tuxedos, and leisure wear. All the clothing was made in the company’s factories located in Massachusetts and North Carolina. (U.S. Made – I like that!)

Founded in 1818 in New York City, Brooks Brothers was the first shop in America to offer ready-to-wear men’s clothing. The company quickly became known for its classic collegiate style. Indeed, Fitzgerald himself was a Brooks Brothers man.

Ralph Lauren’s Jay Gatsby costume in 1974.

Ralph Lauren provided the men’s fashions for the 1974 film dressing Robert Redford, Sam Waterston, and Bruce Dern. What a coup for the upcoming designer with a brand new business. Although the film itself was a flop, costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge won an Oscar that year and Bloomingdale’s sold an adapted clothing line inspired by the film.

For now the production company is mum on who has designed the women’s costumes but Tiffany & Co. provided the jewelry.

We have to be patient and wait until December 25th for the film, but in the meantime we can recreate our own 1920s party with The Gatsby Summer Afternoon coming up on September 9th.  The Art Deco Society of California is furiously working on what has become THE costume event of the year. You betcha I’ll be there, Old Sport.

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