These designs were almost as memorable as the movies themselves. I believe you are expecting me. Welcome to miss Mojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 best costume designs in movies. Before we begin, we publish new videos every day, so be sure to subscribe for more great content. For this list. We’re looking at the most influential costume designs throughout the decades that helped to make their films even more unforgettable. Bonus points were given for originality historical accuracy and good old fashioned razzle dazzle.
Number 10 The Great Gatsby
city packed into automobiles and all weekend every weekend ended up at Gatsby’s
highlighting the decadence of the roaring 20s in the biggest way possible. Everything is over the top to mere Gatsby’s ambition in this art deco soaked adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. And just like in a well planned party, no detail is lost in the costuming from the flamboyant to the subdued every bit of design works and drawing viewers into Gatsby’s world kind of Takes a Breath Away doesn’t. Although the film received mixed reviews overall, the look of the thing was overwhelmingly lauded by both critics and audiences. And it was nominated for Best Costume Design from many different awards circles, including the Academy Awards, which one can’t repeat the past. can’t repeat the past.
Number nine Titanic.
recreating the famous passenger liner wasn’t the only colossal undertaking in James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster. According to designer Deborah Lind Scott, it took 50 people a full year to costume the entire cast. Accurate costumes in this dramatic period piece helped to draw audiences into the story of the doom ship and the star crossed lovers aboard. But it also told us subtle story underneath. Scott was able to use style and texture to bring out roses character using fiery reds hidden under heavy adorned blocks to depict the feisty spirit being buried under social traditions. With so much attention to detail 20 years on the film has barely aged today. Yeah. To make me account
number eight, Cleopatra, Mach Antony, how prompt you If I had not been it would be unforgivable of me. Taking a swing in the completely opposite direction on the historical accuracy scale is this Liz Taylor classic. But despite falling short in the realism department, the costume designers were able to achieve the fabled outrageous splendor of the Egyptian Queen and her court, lavish oversaturated and unabashedly reveling in every hue Technicolor had to offer it wasn’t just the Egyptian Queen that made a big scene. With CGI slipping into almost every Hollywood film these days. We are likely never to see a costume production of this scale on screen again. As the ever decked out Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor broke a Guinness record at the time for most costume changes in a film changing 65 times into increasingly wild getups. I asked it if Julius Caesar I demanded of you.
Number seven Amadeus gave me that longing and then made me mute. Okay, we admit that one could make a solid argument that some of the costumes here haven’t aged well, between the plastic wigs polyester dresses and really poor lace jobs. This one is starting to show it’s where as an 80s job, it captured more than enough mozartean atmosphere to convince the Oscar committee to hand over a gold statue to costume designer Theodore peach tech. While the look isn’t perfect, viewers love the cream puff hairdos, velvet slippers and tight bodices on top of that Amadeus set a high standard for costuming and period pieces and paved the way for future films. That really does rock Mozart, but also beautiful waterfire three heads.
Number six Star Wars franchise stuck up, half witted, scruffy looking nerf herder drawing inspiration from old comics, westerns, classic cinema and Japanese tales. The look of Star Wars has been frequently imitated, but never duplicated. Somebody has to say my skins at the time of a new Hope’s release in the late 70s. It went completely against the grain in almost every way, ropes fell helmets and tunics taking the place of traditional shiny spacesuits and overtly futuristic fashions. In doing so George Lucas and team created something that was at once familiar and totally exotic, from Han Solo space cowboy trappings to Darth Vader’s cape and Samurai inspired armor. To the sleek and medicine presence of the Empire. The echoes of Star Wars have rung through almost every sci fi endeavor since Everything is proceeding as I have.
Number five West Side Story. In this 20th century take on Romeo and Juliet. A lot of the work to highlight the two contrasting worlds is done through color and costuming. On one hand, there are the Jets, the Caucasian gang of Lincoln square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. While they stand out against the backdrop of their own world. They are practically drab when pinned against the vibrant Puerto Rican gang. The Sharks baited. At the heart of the story are the innocent Maria and Tony gamely and white and yellow upon first meeting, but in defeated gray and passionate red by the end, it’s a little heavy handed, but it did wind designer Irene Sheriff and Oscar you all killed him. And my brother, Henry, not with bullets and gods.
Number four, The Lord of the Rings franchise. Costume Designer nyla Dixon certainly had her work cut out for her when she signed up to help Peter Jackson bring his magnum opus to life, she had to costume not just a few beloved characters, but an entire world. Along with fellow costume designer Richard Taylor, she did an absolutely stand up job. Creating culture and themes between each remarkably distinct race in Middle Earth would have been no easy task from the restoral hobbits to the earthy, but enthralling elves to the brutally savage orcs, but somehow it all came seamlessly together. Like all great epics, the look of this one is distinct enough to be immediately identifiable, but relatable enough to be timeless.
Let us together rebuild this world that we may share in the days piece.
Number three Memoirs of a geisha. When life goes well. It’s a subtle gift. It’s kind of lost forever. Set in Japan before and after World War Two. This movie presents a dreamlike Western gaze on Kyoto at a time when Western culture was just beginning to influence the Land of the Rising Sun. The hundreds of costumes required for this film, most of them hand painted silk kimonos were created by designer Colleen Atwood and just five months. You cannot
call yourself a true geisha until you can stop a man in his tracks with a single look like in many films color was used to bring out certain character traits in what at what considered her mood palette. This exceptionally careful attention to detail mix for some truly arresting scenes, like Joe’s transformation say UT snow dance and the chairman and CEO Yuri’s walk beneath the cherry blossoms.
You have to save our life when we count the lesson of terribleness number two Moulin Rouge spectacular spectacular, spectacular indeed. Has there ever been a musical as high octane as this one to bring that energy to life and in a way that might do justice to the stars incredible singing performances. costume designers Katherine Martin and Angus strappy pulled no punches. drawing inspiration from body late 19th century Paris cabaret as well as the allure of classic musicals, they created a vibrantly superficial look for all the characters involved. This works perfectly to propel the film’s restricted plot, creating a story in which the whole world truly is a stage in every interaction a show. By blurring the lines, this romantic musical becomes so much more than a wacky cabaret. Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.What I’m sure any of our plans or bills would be proud to me, I said Mrs. Charles Hamilton. I suggest we go back the same way we came through the canyon.
number one, the Wizard of Oz. Computing we’re not in Kansas anymore. groundbreaking in scope. nothing quite like this film had ever been attempted before. In fact, the costumes and makeup were considered so good at the time that some of the younger viewers were frightened by the characters. know they’ll see the first three or four between the hundreds of extras and precise costuming for the leads. Achieving the storybook look took hundreds of hours. Today, it stands as one of the most iconic movies in cinema history. Wonderful. Every costume and character from this fairy tale brought to life is instantly recognizable from flying monkeys to the Cowardly Lion saggy, baggy fur to Dorothy’s ruby slippers, which are now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in close your eyes and kept your heels together three times.
We have the nominees here we have Pankaj Delgado by The Danish Girl. We have Jenny Beavan who worked on madmax. We have Sandy Powell, who’s hogging the stage with two films, Carol and Cinderella. We have Odile Dix Moreau, who works on Brooklyn. I’m going to start with paqo. If we can talk a little bit about the Danish Girl, Danish Girl is a movie about two characters that already existed. One of them is Lily l Bella. She was a professed transgender person we know well have the first talks with Tom Hooper, the director, he said to me that he wanted me to think that Lilly was a woman that was trapped in a man’s body, almost like a jail. And that was the more or less the sort of like the point of departure for the whole design.
At the beginning when she was in ins body to be like a sort of like a really rigid sort of costumes, like, you know, very, very tailored with high colors really hard and softening higher up through the whole movie, I always think that costumes have a really, really amazing power to communicate, and also to get emotions from other people. Sometimes people get so offended by the way you dress. And we have to think that at this time, a suit was always like, you know, assume they were men. And this particular suit we wanted to gravies and B was filling with, if lady was dressed as a woman, probably a lot of people wouldn’t even question. But I find sometimes some big with this, like much more shocking than the self assurance that people would have if they so Lily dressed as a woman.
Jenny, if we move on to you, did George approach you and say we should have the girls dressed in a certain way.
George Miller had seen a ballet in, I think in Germany possibly paint about where the dancers were likely bandaged. And he loved that image. So he wanted me to try and use that in these girls who are basically kept in a bubble. And we’re just there to breed for immortan Joe, because they’re trying to create some kind of continuity, and everyone is sick. And these five women are not safe.
After all, that sort of strange mayhem of the war boys and the blood bags and the wretched and the milkers. Suddenly, there’s something rather pure and innocent. We never had a script, we had a series of storyboards put into some kind of book form by Brendan McCarthy. So we had some images that had been created. What’s quite extraordinary about a project like this is how normal it becomes at the beginning. It’s like, we’ve never seen thought of anything like this, Oh, my God. And then as you work on the characters, they become completely normal. And they are dressed according to what they need. And a lot of them need breathing apparatuses, and they need body covering because they’re all rotting, basically. And so these pure girls, I mean, how point is they’re very pure. And I suppose slightly emphasizing that. I do think terribly instinctively. And of course, George was incredibly involved. And he’s, he’s not me as a control freak, most direct. So but equally, he’s a very giving control freak.
I’m gonna move to Sandy, how did you work with Todd? Well, I’ll go back to the beginning of Carol, when I’ve read the book. Several years ago, I found it on a station and read it in one one fell swoop thought this would make the most amazing film one day, I really wish somebody would make this film. And at the time, I thought the best way to be taught hands cut, too. And everything just fell into place. And Todd ended up doing it. Todd comes to every project massively equipped with reference material. I mean, he is a little bit OCD about the amount that he does. And he provides a lookbook of images that include photographs, artwork, paintings, advertising, whatever it is, and gives to all the creatives.
And then incredibly, I looked at this book recently. And it’s like looking at the film, it’s sort of like it’s so he really gives everything you want to pay to begin with. But of course, other than that, we discuss how everything should be each of the characters. And in this particular case, we had very little time it was a prep time for the whole thing was six weeks or something. For the younger characters, it’s a journey of self discovery, really, here, it’s a sort of transformation moment. She has grown up, found out who she really is. And then also with the clothes, she actually changes her style in that she’s grown up.
She develops her own sort of sense of style that is inspired by an influence by cow because in the beginning, she’s very plain when we first introduced what she’s playing and that she’s very young. I mean, she’s been recently been a student and has had not much money so she dresses comfortably and practically I suppose little bit arty, maybe, but not high fashion, you certainly can’t afford high fashion. And that was a big contrast with Kate’s character Carol who’s older with money and means and is able to sort of spend her money on the most up to date looks.
Now let’s move on to Cinderella. Is that something you looked at the original? Or did you the original meaning? I looked at the animation at the very beginning, when I took the job on that I actually don’t remember seeing it as a child. I didn’t really reference it at all, consciously. I think that but then when I look back at that now, there are elements that have been, but it’s obviously we know so much about the fairy tale style and the big ballroom dresses, was that something you just instinctively knew you wanted to replicate? or How did you want to put a twist to that?
Well, the reason I was excited about doing Cinderella was I come straight off the back of the Wolf of Wall Street. I could not wait for full of testosterone, you know, and the only women in it, you know, had no clothes on. So it was like, I want to do a girl’s film. I want to do a film about girls for girls. You know, what a great channel. I’ve never done a fairytale before never done anything, you know, aimed at children either. That was exciting. I mean, there’s a lot of visual effects the actual transformation scene but with the butterflies, the butterflies was actually my idea at the very beginning when I designed the dress, and I knew it had to be the simplest dress in the ball, anything.
That’s the biggest one I wanted it to be the least decorated, deliberately didn’t give her jewelry, much to Disney’s dismay. But it had to have some kind of decoration. And I kind of thought Cinderella was at one with nature. And the original scripts, there were lots more scenes with animals, which ended up getting cut. But I thought, well, maybe there is something like the mice helped to make the dress in the animation. The butterflies land on how to provide the decoration. So that’s why I put the butterflies on the dress to begin with. And then the visual effects people magic. Yeah, it came from, for me first and then working with the visual effects department who were really great bunch of people and we work together closely right the way through. But I mean, I know, I didn’t know what it would look like that, for that scene particularly.
And we’ll move on to Brooklyn. Can you tell me a bit about your work on Brooklyn how the film came to you? I’ve worked with Fernando and Amanda on a couple of films now. So they asked me if I’d be interested in working on Brooklyn. And they’re the producers producers. Yeah, I love that period, really like the early 50s. And it’s a quite a personal film for me, actually, because my father had just died beforehand. And I had a difficult year like you do with elderly gentlemen. And this was a sort of a film to escape in. It reminded me of my parents meeting in 1948.
My mother was French My father was English. And I discovered all these little pictures of them when I’d gone through all my father’s things to people meeting and trying to create a new life. You reference any real people or did you look back I did most of my referencing from photographs. My personal photographs of my family Finola had some wonderful home videos of her family, she was Irish and had gone to New Zealand, and they were really great. And then we found some amazing little clips of people coming back from New York visiting Ireland on YouTube.
And that was just you’ve really got the difference between how they came back from America and how completely differently look to the Irish and so it was pretty good funding Irish lotion, you know, lovely home nets and handmade things and then I never really done American clothing. So that was really nice because there’s a lot more color more boldness in their choice of their clothing. So it was very nice to do the to look. I wanted her to wear the same things and to similar scenes to emphasize her story and her conflicts, you know that she goes to Coney Island, which is so iconically American, and then suddenly you think, Oh, yes, she’s happy here. And then she goes back to Ireland wears the same outfit, but actually, she’s they’re in a quandary and, and turmel she’s being challenged by lots of personal emotions that lots of other people, I hope, have maybe felt themselves.
So I mean, I was equation for all of you now, which is, what’s the process when you receive a script? Is it the same or does it differ from film to film,
you know, if you actually want to do it, and you’ve met the director, and he’s offered you the job, then it’s process of list making, to be quite honest, you know, writing it out, you just get it in your head, you get in your head, and at the same time you’re researching you’re talking your internet helps hugely these days for speedy access to images. But still for me, there’s nothing like looking for a book or in something. If it’s modern. I people watch I did something years ago, but it was sort of rod Academy types. I used to sit in the cafe, the ROB Academy and just watch because completely different people go to the Royal Academy for their morning coffee. I’ma go to Starbucks done Piccadilly.
Um, it’s just really amazing how you can’t know every period and every, every world that you work on. So you do have to go. And sometimes Yeah, it’s impossible. Everyone thinks you’re an expert on every period. But actually, you’re not done a period before if you if you do another film set in the same period have already done it, there’s always a different asset and you’ll learn something else. And when you get to the end of a job, you think I was want to do it again, because I no more. Just go back and start again. Because Yeah, you’ve just just understood I think, also the amazing thing, I think you probably feel the same. It’s like, you know, the privilege, we have to be constantly learning new things, I find that the most.
For me, the most amazing thing I suppose for you too, is like, all the over all the work we do before designing, I love to, you know, submerge into this or like photography and paintings and looking at people.
Yeah, I recently did a job which was set in the 90s a true story. And so I had access to meet the real people who have been characterized. And so I went to meet this que si and he was completely flabbergasted at the detail I wanted to go into. And then and I said, but this is the best bit apagar jt, Sandy, thank you so much.
And the more I progressed, the more I realized this is incredible. This has never been told as a story. And this is, for me, the things that I have always gravitated towards, which is, you know, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, you know, the kind of people that you might live next door to or see on the bus or whatever.
This is Havasu Ballina yo has to be seen in this. Behind every memorable character is a meticulously chosen wardrobe. Whether the costume is extremely flashy or completely blends in costume design provides an amazing opportunity to give us insight into a character and the world around them. Because just like in the real world, what you wear says a lot about you mom always said, there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes. I want to take a look at costume design as a tool for filmmakers to tell their story in many of cinema’s most important movies, costume designers are the secret heroes, the people who immerse us within a world seamlessly and effectively without getting nearly the same recognition as actors or directors.
So let’s get sketching. Don’t push too hard, darling Pat, I accept the word costume invariably gets associated with Halloween dress up and pretending to be somebody else. And sometimes that’s the function of clothing in a movie whose London pick a moon clothes but the majority of costume design operates on completely opposite principles. Their goal is to create authentic and realistic people on the screen not actors playing dress up Oh, it’s not a costume. I’m a no costume design is an added layer towards the immersive magic of film period clothing is meant to place you in the time period of the movie Gone with the Wind is famous for its engaging costume design father is some 1930s flair in the hairstyle.
The clothes still managed to immerse the audience in the Civil War era and accurately reflect Scarlett’s fall from grace. The way she designs her own clothing also serves as a nice metaphor for the need to literally and figuratively reconstruct herself after the war. at its best costume design is a vital layer of world building and it works well in totally foreign places. When people talk about the original Star Wars, they usually praise the plot characters or special effects, but the costume design was also fantastic. It combines what we’re used to seeing with the completely alien princess Leah’s costume design is right in the middle of looking like she’s from a foreign planet and looking like royalty as we understand it. In all the designs the robots, generals and soldiers their wardrobe is alien enough to transport us to an exciting and different worlds but familiar enough to keep us grounded in what we already understand.
Our immersive costuming is more difficult than you may think. He just had the winner of eight Oscars for costume design and the inspiration for Edna mode designed for many movies taking place in present day so she just dressed her characters in the style of her time. Problem is by the time the movie was shot, edited and released, the style would change and the Justice became tacky.
So she had to anticipate the future and make something look modern but not tied down to a specific trend. And she was one of the first to address this issue that still shows up today. striking the balance between looking too dated or too generic. So a movie made in the 70s might have generic costuming but a movie about the 70s embraces the old school style to bring about the nostalgia of a last time it’s why Eight Mile looks like it could have taken place at any time. But rappers look ridiculous in their music videos that came out the same year.
Fashion is not the primary thing. The primary effort in Motion Pictures is to tell the story the plain hoodie works as a blank slate, emphasizing Eminem’s quest to succeed purely on talent and nothing flashy while also focusing attention on his face. Either way, costuming is supposed to complement the style of your film, whether you’re going for realism or something more flashy, along with immersion. Many costume choices are to make characters stand out of their worlds Willy Wonka’s introduction takes place over 30 minutes into the movie and the praise always goes to gene Wilder’s amazing performance, but it’s also an example of great costume design.
While all the other characters dressed in clothing stylized from the late 1800s are as cowboys and other characters Wonka’s wardrobe is a hybrid of the Victorian jacket tail and buttoning of the 19th century but the color and color scheme all embody the style of the 1970s so we get a character who visually stands out as both out of his world and ahead of his time.
The costuming in the remake emphasizes the out of this world part but it has no grip in reality, so it makes him seem more like a cartoon caricature than an out of touch visionary Bonnie and Clyde takes place in the 1930s but their style wardrobe and obsession with the media put them right into the 1960s and helps make them appear anti establishment much like the young people in the real worlds during the making of this film in 1967 Michael Corleone wears his military uniform to stand out amongst the classic gangster suits but as he gets sucked into the life his clothing makes the appropriate transition for gangsters wardrobe indicates a transition into the mafia. This example of costume design actually does play into the initial concept of wearing a costume.
The gangster gets new attire to try to fit into high society but no matter what they stand out as gangsters in many movies, you can tell they aren’t really high society, they’re just playing dress up. My gangster. Like other gangsters, Walter White plays dress up to help him feel like a gangster but eventually he becomes the gangster he was only imitating before costumes give us insight into the character wearing it.
Luke Skywalker. His wardrobe has the visual aesthetic of martial arts gear implying he’s undergoing training Obi Wan Kenobi is dressed like a monk because he’s doing the teaching in The Force Awakens, the roles have reversed and so have the costume choices. new teacher, new student, the shoes and the opening of Strangers on a Train tell us which character is more well off and which character is more of an every man it may just be me but The black and white shoes look somewhat menacing.
They really stand out in the frame by being so bright and flashy Tyler Durden his costume design and fightclub always contrast the color palette of the setting and other characters almost like he isn’t supposed to be there in the first place along with actor personality and direction, color scheme and custom design is an impressive and effective way to make a character stand out or blend in in 500 Days of Summer.
The opening title sequence establishes the wardrobe color for the two characters brown for Tom and blue for summer throughout the movie the coloring shifts around them when summer enters Tom’s world The setting is colored Brown, while summer’s world is blue. The dance sequence has all the actors dressed in blue to represent Tom thinking about summer costume coloring gives us mental cues as to how the story is progressing.
And by the end of the movie, we realize their colors don’t mix and they part ways movies become classics when all of the production elements come together to make something great and that includes costuming. So when you look back at your favorite characters, think about what they’re wearing. And of course remember the most important rule of costume design nuggets.