Design

Cruella, Dune and More Detailed Costume Designs of Nominees – The Hollywood Reporter

Cruella’s Show-Stealing Fashion Statements

We called them ‘photo bombs,’ ” two-time Oscar winner Jenny Beavan says with a laugh. Vengeance-seeking Estella (Emma Stone), via her her couturier alter ego Cruella, creates theatrical, near-animated ensembles to publicly undermine — and upstage — her fashion-establishment boss her, the Baroness (Emma Thompson). Like works of moving art, Cruella’s disguises lure viewers into the audacious fun. Behind the scenes, the saboteur creations proved feats of imagination, not to mention physics and engineering.

The team, including chief costume cutter Kirsten Fletcher, constructed and meticulously tested Cruella’s billowing red ball-gown skirt. To help Stone achieve her deft physical comedy flourish, 5,060 hand-sewn organza petals created the perfect weight to optimize momentum and gravity. “The first time [Stone] did it, she absolutely hit the mark. It was extraordinary,” says Beavan. “And little Emma T. was looking out between the [folds of the] skirt and it was just brilliant.”

Ironically, while the larger-than-life visual impact is best enjoyed in a theater, small-screen streaming offers the benefit of pausing and zooming in on the whimsical artistry behind the magnificent miniature toy villages, atop epaulets, on Cruella’s military jacket. “I remember gathering a whole collection of little bits and pieces from a Portobello Road stall and dumping them on [junior costume maker] Jonathan Burniston’s desk and saying, ‘Have some fun!’ ” says Beavan.

Cruella ostensibly created her breathtaking garbage-truck gown from the muted remnants of the Baroness’ passé Spring 1960 collection. In reality, Beavan designed and Fletcher built the 40-foot train as three separate sections, hooking onto net-skirting and an exquisite corset, accented with pleated newsprint-paper silk. It’s awe-inspiring to watch onscreen, and the message behind the gown, which features off-cuts from the earlier Marie Antoinette dresses, hopefully will endure long after the credits roll. “We did try to fulfill the Cruella ethic,” says Beavan, imagining the protagonist sustainably upcycling her own designs. “I felt she was one of the first re-users.”

Cyrano’s Expressive and Distinctive Soldiers’ Uniforms

Cryano
Courtesy of Peter Mountain/MGM; Massimo Cantini Parrini/Elena Pavinato

In Joe Wright’s musical adaptation of the mistaken-identity romance set in 17th century France, the rhapsodist soldier (Peter Dinklage) readies for war with Spain and pines for the unattainable Roxanne (Haley Bennett). Cyrano wears his heart on the crimson sleeve of his uniform, so to speak.

“Red is the color of passion,” says costume designer Massimo Cantini Parrini, receiving his second nomination, after last year’s for pinocchio. “We are telling a love story with this movie, but it is also the color of blood and battle.” Thus, landing upon the ideal shade to viscerally convey the film’s overwhelming emotions also required dedication and debate with the director. Instead of purchasing fabric, Cantini Parrini test-dyed multiple bolts of neutral linens. “We closed down our choices to three different hues of red, until we finally hit the bull’s-eye,” he says.

Cantini Parrini also evoked a “lightness” to telegraph the exhilaration of unrequited love and reciprocated affection, albeit influenced by deception. “[Wright and I] wanted to convey this idea of ​​a fairy tale and eternal transparency, so that the soul could come out of the character,” says the designer, who felt deeply moved after viewing 18th century watercolor paintings in a London museum. He used silk organza for the nuns’ sculptural habits, inspired by a ’60s Balenciaga wedding dress, and the nobles’ pastel finery. The earth-toned bourgeoisie and military wore sturdier linens. (Two-time Oscar winner Jacqueline Durran dreamed up Roxanne’s romantic gowns.)

Cantini Parrini cleverly constructed the uniforms to differentiate the soldiers — for example, pugnacious, lovelorn Cyrano’s unbuttoned jacket, cuffed sleeves and open neckline (Cantini Parrini’s sketch below). Versatile buttons at the seams allowed the uniform to transform into seven iterations, from training for battle to performing a fantastical musical number. “The tails of the jacket could be left hanging down,” says Cantini Parrini, pointing to the grand ball. “You see all these twirling dancers, and these tails really make them look like butterflies.”

Dune’s Futuristic But Medieval Pope-Referencing Guild Vestments

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Dune
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures (2)

To imagine worlds set 20,000 years in the future, Jacqueline West and first-time nominee Bob Morgan mined global history dating back centuries — from the last Russian imperial dynasty for the noble attire of the ill-fated Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) to Goya’s early-1800s The Clothed Maja painting for the ceremonial garb worn by Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). “I wanted to give it that feeling of grandeur, and it was such a multilayered piece,” says West, a four-time nominee.

The foreboding arrival of the Spacing Guild — descending the Heighliner ramp to deliver a mandate to Leto — sets the stage for director Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious vision. For their imposing regalia, West and Morgan studied artwork, clerical chasubles and “ornate ecclesiastical garb” of the 1200s Avignon Papacy. While offering design inspiration, the papacy’s alliance with France to persecute the Templars also presented an allegory. “It was a nice reference for the rich exploiting the poor,” says West.

In anticipation of the intensity of Imax screens, the duo focused on exacting details, from the seams to the “beautiful motif” by illustrator Keith Christensen (his sketch above), which was overprinted onto the cape, liturgical tabard and underlayers made of rigid Italian upholstery fabric. “When the robes opened up, you saw a different shade of that fabric underneath,” says Morgan. “There are subtle details that you hardly see with your naked eye, but when they are 16 feet tall [in theaters]they pop,” adds West.

A meticulously designed “understructure” was also vital to creating the majestic presence of the towering Spacing Guild members. “How it’s constructed adds a richness, a fullness, a body, a fit,” says Morgan, likening the distinction to an “Armani suit” versus a mass-produced imitation. “You don’t know what you’re seeing exactly, but you certainly see the difference.”

Nightmare Alley’s Seductively Enigmatic Skirt Suit on Cate Blanchett

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Nightmare Alley
Courtesy of Kerry Hayes/20th Century Studios

In the second half of Guillermo del Toro’s remake of Edmund Goulding’s 1947 film noir, Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) ushers con-artist psychic Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) into her gleaming art deco office. The lacquered, almost perplexingly serpentine interior lines (by production designer Tamara Deverell), concealing myriad secrets, beckon the audience into the suspenseful intrigue about to unfold. The psychologist’s body-skimming dark suit, which moves seductively with her frame her, further entices the thrill by also playing tricks on the eye her.

“I wanted to mirror the curved walls with a curved seam in the suit, so it then had an almost violin-like seaming line,” says Luis Sequeira, receiving his second nod for imagining a del Toro world (the first was for The Shape of Water).

“When it came to Cate, it was all about light and shadow,” says Sequeira, who introduced her enigmatic character in a decolletage-baring black velvet gown, shimmering with gold bullion embroidery. For the office setting, a “pebble gloss” fabric gave “a stingray quality” for dramatic dimension onscreen. Lilith’s “impeccably tailored” suiting also counters and challenges Stan’s bespoke three-piece getups, funded by gripping the Buffalo elite. “She had to look the part, and the costuming had to give her that legitimacy,” says Sequeira, who looked to stars of Old Hollywood, including Rita Hayworth and Katharine Hepburn, and illustrations from the Fall 1940 and Spring 1941 fashion collections.

Sequeira precisely tailored the streamlined suit onto Blanchett, not only during fittings, but also through rehearsals, to flawlessly support Lilith’s physicality during face-offs with Stan. “They were dancing,” says Sequeira. “It really felt like we weren’t sure who was prey and who was the predator.”

Components of the suit also sartorially enhanced the slow-burn reveal of her motivations, as Lilith and Stan spiral. “You have this play of these two powerhouses and you’re not sure who’s going to win, as they each shed their own layers of their onions,” says Sequeira.

West Side Story’s Headlining — and Showstopping — Yellow Dress

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West Side Story
Courtesy of Niko Tavernise/20th Century Studios; Paul Tazewell

“I experience color very emotionally,” says first-time nominee Paul Tazewell. For Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical (and 1961 film), the Tony-winning costume designer applied his stage expertise by creating an evocative palette that pulls audiences into the exhilarating musical numbers and impassioned extremes of a doomed Romeo and Juliet-inspired love story.

Intense colors characterize and contrast the rival gangs and highlight socioeconomic and racial tensions bubbling beneath a gentrifying Manhattan neighborhood. The Jets roam in cooler tones, denim and dark leather. The Sharks, anchored by ambitious dressmaker Anita (Oscar-nominated Ariana DeBose) and her boxer partner, Bernardo (David Alvarez), strive in vibrant hues and floral prints celebrating their heritage. “It carries this aura, this energy, this exuberance that I really love,” says Tazewell. “It speaks to the Latinx community as the story becomes very specific to how excited they are to be a part of America and what their dreams are and the aspirations of what that might be.”

On a sunny summer morning after the gym dance, where Bernardo’s younger sister, Maria (Rachel Zegler), and erstwhile Jet Tony (Ansel Elgort) meet, Anita excitedly sets out for the day. Flanked by friends, she headlines the high-spirited “America,” composed by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. Anita confidently parades down Broadway, expressing her excitement with lively twirls and kicks, as colorfully clad neighborhood denizens join the revelry in motion. Anita’s scarlet petticoat ruffles, flouncing beneath her bold yellow dress her, nearly come to life, too (sketch by Miodrag Guberinic, below). “[Red] would also signify internal heat and life force,” explains Tazewell, who imagined Anita wearing that underskirt, beneath jewel-toned blue, during the preceding bombastic evening.

“I definitely rely on all those techniques that I developed with Hamilton,” says Tazewell. The Emmy winner expertly “engineered” the light petticoat layers to attach to the skirting — essentially becoming “an extension” of the dancers. “You get the sense of all the excitement that’s going on emotionally and that’s translated within the clothing as well,” says Tazewell.

This story first appeared in a March stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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