Tag Archives: Academy Award

Titanic: A Film to Remember

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the day the Titanic fell to the bottom of the Atlantic, and we wanted to honor the vessel and her passengers, by discussing costume designer Deborah Lynn Scott’s intricate and beautiful early 20th-century Edwardian dresses that Kate Winslet wore in the film that was made fifteen years ago.  In order for this editor to write this piece, and do it justice, I decided to watch it for the Nth time.  (Our other editor got to see it in 3D last week, and said it was truly spectacular.)  Having been just shy of my eleventh birthday, when I first saw the film, all I knew was Leonardo was incredibly handsome; I hated Kate Winslet, because she was making out with my future husband; and I adored all of the dresses Kate’s character, Rose DeWitt Bukater, got to wear.  I no longer hate Kate – I have actually grown to appreciate her as a phenomenal actress, but I am still in love with all of the designs that earned Deborah Lynn Scott her Academy Award for Best Costume Design.  Scott’s resume is as diverse as it is magnificent.  She was the head costume designer for mega blockbusters like Back to the Future, all three Transformers movies, and the hugely popular, Avatar, but aside from the action-packed films she’s done, including others like Minority Report and The Patriot, you won’t be shocked to find out that she’s best known for her beautiful craftsmanship on this James Cameron creation.  Scott has been quoted as saying that she likes to design for all different time periods because they give her, “an incredible opportunity to delve into history, which is a real educational experience,” and she has proven her ability to tell stories through her variation of designs.  Scott studied theater at California State University at Northridge and ended up catching a big break working as a costumer on the set of E.T.  She was eventually promoted to costume designer and has been expanding her extraordinary range ever since.  While watching the feature, I noticed the beautiful subtleties of Rose’s transformation that is partially aided through her costuming.  Rose is first seen in a frock we’re fanatics about (we featured it in one of our first posts) – she appears in a fitted, pinstriped, high-collared suit and a major statement of a hat, but the dress that Rose is wearing at the end of the film, though equally stunning, has a completely different meaning to its presence in the movie.  Rose’s gowns that she wears to dinner are extremely formal, adorned in painstakingly, perfected bead-work complemented by satin and lace, in dark hues of scarlet and maroon.  For Rose’s daytime outfits, they are similar in style as well as color, gold and lime, with long, white sleeves, empire-waists, satin trains, and lace embroidered collars.  For the dress that withstands that most action and longest screen time, Scott created nearly two-dozen copies of the multi-layered, flowing, pastel sheath Rose wears, because she goes through the most physical scenes in it (pictured, above left).  It made sense that this pink and lavender dress was looser than the others in terms of fit and material, but it was also softer and uninhibited, showing the changes Rose was preparing to make with her life once she departed the Titanic.  (Note: Today’s Look-of-the-Day honors a character who is born to survive, just like Rose was.)  In the scene where Rose and Jack are running through the engine room, the dress could easily resemble the paintings that she loves so much.  The movement of the dress alone is filmed in its own shot to show the beauty and existence of Rose’s new found freedoms; freedom to do whatever she wants and the freedom to experience them with the love of her life.

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Look-of-the-Day

Forty years ago today, our editors’ parents went out on their very first date.  An Irish Marine and an Italian girl from New York City would eventually settle down and have two daughters (us!)  What better movie to discuss on their anniversary than a romantic comedy written by an Irish Marine about an Italian girl from New York City?!  John Patrick Shanley’s script comes to life starring Cher in this 1987 film as Loretta Castorini, a frugal bookkeeper who ends up falling for her boring fiance’s passionate brother (played by Nicolas Cage).  This movie also has a particularly great makeover scene, when Loretta decides she needs to spice up her life!  She spots a great strapless maroon cocktail dress while window shopping, and decides to go for it!  Cher looks great attending the opera with a full head of dark Italian curls, a long glamorous black coat, the dark red dress, and a very young Nicolas Cage on her arm!  It’s the magic of “la bella luna” that leads to true love!


Look-of-the-Day

Each, in its own way, was unforgettable. It would be difficult to – Rome!  By all means, Rome.  I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live,” Audrey Hepburn replies when asked what her favorite European city is, in the final scene of Roman Holiday.  The 1953 classic made Hepburn, Italy and Vespas wildly popular following its release.  Hepburn plays Princess Ann, a young girl feeling trapped and restless in her life of patriotic duty. While visiting various countries on a European tour, Ann decides to go AWOL in the historic city of Rome.  During her journey, she falls in love with an American journalist (played by the dashing Gregory Peck) and grows into an independent adult along the way. Princess Ann knows the fairy tale can’t last forever though, and after returning to her regal responsibilities, this sophisticated woman has appeared, leaving behind her youth and long locks.  Legendary costume designer Edith Head created Audrey’s outfits for this film (and won an Academy Award for it – as did Hepburn’s performance).  Here, Princess Ann demonstrates her poise in this mature, belted, white lace wrap dress with dainty gloves and a pearl choker.  Roman Holiday was the first American film to be made entirely in Italy, and it ended up being one of the most romantic movies ever made! ❤


Look-of-the-Day

Pride and Prejudice may well be the first instance of chick lit.  The Jane Austen novel has been made into a mini series, several movies and even got its own zombie-themed book.  Millions of women across the world delude themselves into thinking they are just like the self-sufficient heroine Elizabeth Bennet (not that we’re exempt), which is why the story is still popular 200 years later.  Here is the 2005 film version starring our beloved Keira Knightley as Elizabeth.  She wears this ethereal silk white dress to a ball, where she and Mr. Darcy dance around the room – and their feelings for each other.  The satin ribbon around her waist and pearls in her hair finish off the simple, yet divine look.  Costume designer Jacqueline Durran also worked with Knightley in the stunning film Atonement.  It’s no surprise she was nominated for an Academy Award for this film, too.  Darcy and Elizabeth seem to have nothing but contempt for each other when they talk, but this dress is as romantic as they both truly feel.


Look-of-the-Day

We’ve mentioned that one of our editors was almost named for this 1954 classic, but we’re amazed that we’ve only featured Sabrina one time over the last year, when nearly every look in this film could be walked down a runway!  Here is our idol, Audrey Hepburn, playing the title character, with the object of her affection, William Holden as David Larrabee.  Sabrina is the daughter of the Larrabees’ chauffeur on Long Island.  After studying culinary arts in Paris (and becoming a woman along the way), Sabrina returns to New York barely unrecognizable to her childhood crush.  David invites her to a party at his home, and she sports this stunning strapless black and white gown with long white gloves and black pumps.  The column dress has a detachable overskirt with an underlay of black tulle, and was hand-embroidered with silk thread and jet beads.  Hubert de Givenchy personally created most of the outfits for Hepburn, yet Edith Head went on to receive the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (which was not without controversy, since Givenchy did not receive due credit for his spectacular work.  Although Givenchy has been the one forever associated with the gorgeous wardrobe in the film.)  Fun Fact: The relationship that developed between Hepburn and Givenchy on the set of Sabrina resulted in a lifelong friendship, and Audrey became the French designer’s muse!  This work of art has to be one of our favorite fashion moments in history, and the perfect “Fancy Friday” tribute to romance this February.


Costume Designer Eiko Ishioka Dies

Japanese costume designer Eiko Ishioka died earlier this month, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  Ishioka was 73-years-old.  Born in Tokyo, she was a creative soul from childhood, working in cosmetics, advertising, graphic arts and costume design.  Ishioka graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1961, and she joined the advertising division of Japan’s largest cosmetics company, Shiseido.  Ishioka won a Grammy Award in 1986 for best album package as art director for Myles Davis’ Tutu, and was nominated for two Tony Awards for her work on M. Butterfly in 1988.  She won an Academy Award for costume design for Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula in 1993 (pictured, right).  Ishioka also created the costumes for The Cell, Immortals and the upcoming Snow White tale, Mirror Mirror.  Her creations Julia Roberts (pictured, top) and Lily Collins (pictured, below) sport are just stunning.  Ishioka also costumed Cirque du Soleil, and members of the Japanese, Canadian, Spanish and Swiss Olympic teams in 2002, as well as the outfits for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and several other Broadway productions.  A true Renaissance woman, she also directed a music video, made commercials and published several books.  She is survived by her husband, Nicholas Soultanakis, whom she only married last year.  Our thoughts go out to her family.


Look-of-the-Day

This may seem like an odd look to start off the New Year with, but today would have been the 100th birthday of author Charles Addams.  Above is his creation, Morticia, come to life as Anjelica Huston in the 1991 film version of The Addams Family.  This twisted comedy is both hilarious and gothic – an odd combination, which makes it unique.  One of this editor’s oldest friends watched this movie everyday for a year when we were younger, so it always reminds me of her – we loved Morticia’s daughter, Wednesday.  The fantastic Ruth Myers was the costume designer of this movie, who made Huston look extremely glamorous and sexy, while being completely covered in head-to-toe black!  The above dress is corseted in beautiful beading and dark lace, with a tight skirt that gathers on the floor, giving Huston an almost spidery look when she walks.  Myers was nominated for an Academy Award for her creative contribution to the film.  Huston looks like she’s about to cast a spell with her lovely long red nails, and she must have cast one over us, because it’s still one of our favorite film wardrobes 20 years later!