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Entries in Costume Design (262)

Wednesday
Oct162019

The Look of "Joker"

by Cláudio Alves

In 1989, Tim Burton envisioned Gotham City as an Expressionistic nightmare, something necessarily unreal. Three years later, Batman Returns showed a different sort of urban reverie, one tainted by quasi fascistic imagery, an appropriate dark meaning for a darker film than its predecessor. Joel Schumacher's sequels would see Gotham go through another transfiguration, from a gloomy nightmare into a candy-colored hallucination. This process of growing artificiality would end when Christopher Nolan revitalized Batman for a 21st-century audience.

Nolan's trilogy shows us a Gotham that's a foreigner's idea of an American metropolis and one can almost chart, throughout the films, how the city goes from being a dream of Chicago to New York City 2.0. Todd Phillips' Joker perpetuates this configuration of Gotham as DC Comics' version of Manhattan, but he isn't looking to the real contemporary city for inspiration. The film is set in a New York of yore, a fantasy built from nostalgia and the cinematic legacy of New Hollywood's urban dramas. Gotham is never just a city, rather the idea of one…

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Thursday
Oct102019

Over & Overs: Marie Antoinette (2006) 

In this new-ish series members of Team Experience share movies they've watched way too often and why...

By Cláudio Alves 

I don’t think I was a very ‘normal’ 12-year-old. Whatever that word might mean, I doubt it encompasses nerdy pre-teens obsessed with The French Revolution. Looking back, I’m not even sure why I was so enthralled. Maybe it was the tragedy of it all, how its horrors were as undeniable as the social changes they brought upon were necessary. Maybe it was the moral ambivalence, the complexity of its historical narrative. Maybe it was just the prettiness of the fashions. 

One thing’s for sure, I was very excited by the prospect of watching Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette...

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Tuesday
Oct082019

Downton Abbey: Style Ranking

By Cláudio Alves

Since its first season, Downton Abbey has been the delight of every costume drama fan. Starting in 1912 and ending in 1926, the show featured an astounding portrayal of changing styles. We all watched the characters go from Edwardian finery to the glamour of the 20s.

Every actor in the Downton Abbey movie is perfectly dressed by costume designer Anna Robbins. Sometimes the perfection is even a bit too emphatic  --no one ever looks even slightly rumpled! At the end of the day, though, this isn't a realistic view of the past but a romantic dream of a bygone era. For such nostalgic reveries, a bit of fairytale immaculateness isn't out of place. To celebrate such beauty, let's rank the Downton Abbey ladies, from worst to best dressed. For the sake of brevity and fairness, we're only looking at the upstairs crowd. It would be cruel to compare Mrs. Patmore's humble clothes to the literal crown jewels...

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Friday
Oct042019

FYC: "Hustlers" for Best Costume Design

By Cláudio Alves

The Academy rarely recognizes the greatness of contemporary costume design. They're caught in an endless love affair with period pieces and fantasy extravaganzas. I Am Love is the last true contemporary-set film (give or take La La Land’s dreamy vision of Los Angeles) to receive such an honor without any fantastical element and that was almost a decade ago. 

This year would be a great time to break with tradition. In fact, no snub in the upcoming Best Costume Design category will hurt as much as Hustlers'. Lorene Scafaria’s electrifying drama is a luxurious feast of late aughts fashion and purposeful ostentatiousness... 

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Tuesday
Sep102019

The New Classics: I Am Love

Michael Cusumano here to discuss a film that never fails to floor me.

Scene: Prawns
The story of Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love pivots on a life-changing plate of prawns. It sounds ridiculous until you pause and remember that life is actually like that. One moment you’re having a routine day and the next a flood of emotions is precipitated by an unexpected trigger. These instances are difficult to explain in words, but what are movies for if not the moments when language fails?

Tilda Swinton’s character Emma Recchi doesn’t realize it, but she is primed for such a moment. A Russian who married into an Italian family of great power, she lives a life of comfort and wealth. She is not unhappy, exactly, nor is she mistreated, but her is existence is a cloistered one and she is expected to play the role assigned to her. In the film’s lengthy opening act she oversees a family birthday party that has the coldness of a modern art exhibition...  

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Friday
Aug232019

"Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce" (with Marni Senofonte)

by Ginny O'Keefe

I got invited to Homecoming! This past Monday I had the pleasure of representing the Film Experience at the Icon Lobby in the Netflix headquarters at an event celebrating Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce. The Netflix documentary takes an in-depth look at Beyoncé’s 2018 performance at Coachella and how long she and her team had been on the creative road to make this whole iconic performance and cultural event live up to the hype. It took Beyonce and her team months to create this performance and Beyoncé would end up being the first Black woman in history to headline Coachella. Throughout the film you immediately get that Beyoncé didn’t want this to just be a concert, she wanted this to be a historical moment for her career and for her culture. She knew that she couldn’t come in with something expected to fit the Coachella vibe, so she ditched the typical flower crown aesthetic and came in with a predominately Black cast of performers and helped emphasize the importance and the richness of historically Black universities in America. Something that doesn’t get enough recognition in society.

Beyonce says it herself in the beginning of the film, she never went to college. Her college was touring and traveling. But I have a good feeling that if she had gone to college, then she would be doing exactly what these young performers are doing at their respective schools. Whether it be dance team, stepping, marching band, or Greek life. The film quotes W.E.B. Dubois who states “Education must not simply teach work, it must teach life.”...

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