Tuesday, June 16, 2009

LuLu : Costume Design

(Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events; new film, Public Enemy)
(Sweeney Todd)

Colleen Atwood

Colleen Atwood (born 1950) is an Academy Award-winning American costume designer.

Colleen has been nominated for an Academy Award numerous times and won Academy Awards for the movies Chicago in 2002 and Memoirs of a Geisha in 2006. Colleen has collaborated several times with directors Tim Burton and Jonathan Demme. Beginning her career as a fashion advisor in Washington State in the early 1970s, Colleen eventually ventured into the world of costume design for theater and film, initially coming to fame through her work on Sting's Bring on the Night World Tour. Colleen Atwood has been involved in some pretty amazing films, and music videos:

Married to the Mob (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Ed Wood (1994), Little Women (1994), Mars Attacks! (1996), Gattaca (1997), Beloved (1998), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Tick (2001-TV series), Chicago (2002), Big Fish (2003), Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2005), My Chemical Romance - Welcome To The Black Parade (Music Video) (2006), My Chemical Romance - Famous Last Words (Music Video) (2006), Sweeney Todd (2007), Public Enemies (2009), "Nine" (2009), "The Rum Diary" (2009)

Colleen has been partially involved in developing or has been the lead designer for producing the costumes on over 50 films to date. Colleen was the lead costume designer for all of the new costumes created for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 2005-2006. She designed the military uniforms for the band My Chemical Romance.

Jacqueline Durran 

(Atonement costume designs)

Jacqueline Durran has worked in the costume department of an impressively diverse range of films: from Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, to Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and, Jo Wright adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice, and most recently Atonement, both starring Keira Knightley. She has gained herself a broad selection of awards for her costume designs.  

I came across a website with Jacqueline being interviewed, if you're interested:

How did you become a costume designer?

At the age of 20, after studying philosophy, I realised that costume designing existed as a job! I thought it would be wonderful to work alongside actors and directors in the theatre or on film sets. I found some work in a costume hire house, where I got to know designers who came in to get inspiration for their work. I then became an assistant in the wardrobe departments of the Mike Leigh film, Topsy-Turvy and James Bond, Die Another Day.

What's the design process on a major feature?
It’s different on every feature, but what usually happens is you’re interviewed for the position when the film is still in the planning stage. If you’re given the job, you have a preparation period in which you go away, do your research and begin making clothes. On Pride And Prejudice this period was only nine weeks. During this time, I had an assistant working for me, who’d go out and buy fabrics and materials for me to look at. You always hope that casting will happen as soon as possible, so that you can start taking measurements and making costumes with an actor in mind. The department draws up a ‘costume plot’ – detailing exactly how many different changes of clothes each character will need. You’ll then look at the director’s order of filming, and begin to make the costumes in the order that they will be needed. As well as an assistant, there’ll also be a person who does the fittings and takes care of the physical wardrobe, and, as was the case on Pride And Prejudice, a person who’s job it is to make the clothes look older than they really are!

Various productions of Pride And Prejudice have come and gone over the years. How did you make sure that the costumes in this new version stood out?
The first thing I did was ban myself from watching any previous adaptations. I knew it would be too difficult not to be influenced and I wanted to produce as fresh a look as possible. Secondly, most film versions of the book were set in and around 1815. The director decided that this version would be set in 1796/7, so we were talking about a different era of fashion. I took inspiration from original references – paintings of the period and surviving costumes.

The styles worn by actors in films often influence real life fashion. Could that be the case with Pride And Prejudice?
It will, as it has done on so many previous occasions. In the 1960s, Doctor Zhivago inspired the Russian peasant look. I’ve already been interviewed by an American magazine, whose editor believes that the film will inspire the Empire line. That’s not to say that Pride And Prejudice will start this trend or that it will become a dominant look in mainstream fashion; it may well just tap into an idea that’s already around and be adopted by the fringes. When I’m designing costumes for a film, I’m not in a bubble; I’m influenced by everything around me. The costumes in Pride And Prejudice reflect, to some extent, what’s going on in the world of fashion at the moment, and by the same token, could well influence new looks.

(Atonement Costume Design)

(Pride and Prejudice)

Images via Google search

1 comment:

  1. that green dress was stunning in atonement.