I've been watching a lot of movies lately; mostly period pieces such as Atonement, Brideshead Revisited (and for the record, it is excellent) and Pride and Prejudice. I realized that a lot of their allure has to do with the costumes and that I am a huge fan of clothing from the 20s and 30s.
If I hadn't chosen journalism as my profession, I think I would have liked to be a costume designer for movies (If I had the talent of course.)
My mother bought me the book Dressing a Galaxy last Christmas. It provides the history of all of the costumes used in the Star Wars trilogy (the new one) which I find fascinating. It made me appreciate how much work goes into picking costumes for actors; and not just the leads, but for the potentially dozens or hundreds of extras. It made me realize that the costume could make or break the experience for a viewer. If the costume fits; the viewer will believe the actor playing a character and will be transported to that world. But if the costume doesn't work; then the whole movie fails.
I picked out a few movies which I enjoy and happen to have my favourite costumes.
In no particular order:
1. Marie Antoinette
I think that the main reason I love this movie is solely based on the costumes. They are so extravagant and regal that I could just stare at them for hours. They really transport me back in time to 18th century France.
2. The Duchess
I posted about this movie a while ago before I saw the movie because I was excited about the costumes. Watching the movie made me love the costumes even more when they came to life. It's probably no coincidence that the time period is exactly the same as Marie Atoinette so many of Keira Knightley's dresses are in the same style as France's queen; however there are several clothes, such as the one pictured, which are more masculine. The tailoring and the details are exquisite.
3. Pride and Prejudice
Right now this is my favourite movie. The beautiful piano music, the lush scenery, the obvious love between the cast and of course, the costumes, make it a joy to watch.
Keira's Elizabeth Bennett wears simple yet elegant dresses. They are very floaty and look comfortable to wear. Very pretty. And I love Mr. Darcy's high collared and stiff coats.
I love Hitchcock films but I think Vertigo is in my top three. I love this suit. I love how it flatters Kim Novak's hourglass figure, I love the neckline and the front pockets. It's formal but sexy.
5. The Devil Wears Prada
This is an obvious one. There is so much eye candy in this movie. Costume designer Patricia Field could have gone really crazy a la Carrie Bradshaw here and thank God she didn't. This is my favourite outfit in the movie. Those high leather boots and that schoolboy blazer make me die.
6. The Great Race
I just bought this on DVD because I haven't seen it for 10 years and I remember how much it used to make me laugh. But now I can appreciate the clothes! Natalie Wood makes many costume changes; from equestrian to outrageous ball gowns; it's a real treat to watch.
Tony Curtis' 'The Great Leslie' also has great sartorial moments with white suits.
7. The Godfather
Ok I'm just going to come out and say it: Michael Corleone looks damn hot in this suit.
The characters in this movie aren't supposed to be fashionistas; they're all trying to fit in and look the same and so the costumer put them in black suits for the men, and high-collared, black jackets and pants for the women. These clothes only enhanced the emotions of the movie and the characters; very stiff, formal and clone-like on the outside, but really they are putting on a mask. Love this movie.
Al Pacino's Sam Rothstein stole the show. Correction: his clothes stole the show. He got to wear very flamboyant suits; lots of bright colours like pink and yellow; stripes and checkers. It was really fun just watching all the cool suits he got to wear.
Say what you will about the film but Rose got to wear freaking awesome clothes, even if she could barely breathe in them. This one is my favourite. I love the buttons and the diagonal cut of the skirt. It's a little nautical but completely regal. Love the hat.
11. Brideshead Revisited (The TV series and the movie)
Before I saw this movie I blogged about my excitement over the costumes. I just finished watching Brideshead Revisited the movie and I loved it. It's hard to watch it without comparing it to the much-beloved mini-series, but it definitely suceeded. And the costumes are gorgeous. The movie went all out with exotic clothing for Julia Flyte (see the Oriental dress) and put religious Lady Marchmain in furs. Sebastian in both the TV series and the movie is always wearing a well-cut suit with a dash of something saucy- whether it be a spotted scarf, a colourful tie or a flower in his breast pocket. Charles Ryder wears beautiful suits; very English and very proper.
Cheers to beautiful movies!