Sunday, February 22, 2009

Costume Drama

Just when you thought the excitement of NY Fashion Week couldn't be topped, here comes the Superbowl of Starry LA Semi-Sartorialism...the effing Oscars! I'm in the mood for a little glammy distraction from the R-word (rhymes with depression, causes ulcers, homelessness, and may theoretically be cured by economic stimuli), although I'm sure it will be mentioned even more than Kate Winslet's "new" Pilates body, or Rourke's comeback. Besides for the red carpet hoopla, I think it is every good fashionista's duty to close pay attention to our most relevant statue category, the one awarded for Costume Design.

Do you know who your noms noms are? Let's meet them, shall we...

Catherine Martin, Australia

Baz Luhrmann's go to designer (and wife) Catherine Martin is up for her first solo award in this category. Having worked on Luhrmann's other efforts, like super spectacles Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, Martin is an old pro at translating Baz's distinct cinematic energy into on screen wardrobe. According to Martin, Kidman's gorgeous, prim and proper gowns and get-ups were not her favorite, instead it was the military style horse back outfit she rocked for the cattle round-ups. Apparently Keith Urban has a thing for ladies in manly uniforms.

Jaqueline West, The Case of Benjamin Button

If you asked me, personally I would award Cate Blanchette's amazing, creamy complextion and beautiful red hair an award of their own, but they don't have a category for The Prettiest, Prettiest Girl yet so, I'll settle for knowing that the movie's costume designer, Jaqueline West is up for an honor. West oversaw Benjamin Button's time warp through different decades, locales, and ages. She used old family photo albums that she found online to trace how people maintained their distinct looks throughout decades of political and social transformation. Combined with images from visual artists of each time period, the real life references helped West handle the film's tricky logistics with grace. But, this was not her first foray into complex film land, the lady loves a challenge. She was responsible for the wardobe in Terrance Malick's The New World, where she dressed Colin Farrell and a huge cast of extras in authentic Native American/early settler garb. She's known for doing her homework, and the five months of research she did for Benjamin Button before she was even hired definitely paid off in the film's look.

Danny Glicker, Milk

Dressing Sean Penn in clothing that documented the transformation of a hippie-ish Castro photographer into a serious politician who ushered in the modern gay rights movement was Danny Glicker's responsibility in Gus Van Sant's Milk. His reverence for the dearly departed icon and the film's demographic's immense nostalgia for the era in depiction were catalysts for Glicker's award-nominated effort. He sourced his looks from actual photos left behind at Harvey Milk's Castro Camera Shop and the talented group of photographers and artisits who were part of the scene themselves.

Michael O'Connor, The Duchess

O'Connor's work on this film was that of a master of period piece dresser. The intricacies and fantasy behind days and costume customs of yore are always fertile ground for imaginative and historically minded film buffs. Depicting Duchess Georgiana Cavendish of Devonshire in the 1770s, was an exercise in indulgence and restraint. He tried to subtley suggest the grandiosity of the Duchess's fashion forwardness, while letting the details of the geniune garb speak for themselves.

Albert Wolsky, Revolutionary Road

I know costume dramas are shoo-ins for this category, but my money would be on Revolutionary Road, well if I had money to spare on such things. Revolutionary Road was a a period piece without the costume drama. In fact, the costumes were quite effortless in this film and made the emotion of the characters the driving force. Yet, the dresses, suits, hats, and such were gorgeous windows into each character's role, place, and ambition. I was a fan. Can you tell? And, Wolsky's excellent resume includes over 70 films. His experience showed in his ability to finesse the era of the '50s out of his materials in a subtle way. His work was visually rich but not cloying in any way. I see a gold man in Wolsky's hand.

And, let the show begin! Yay.

Click any image for source information.

No comments: