Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lecture 3 - Costume vs Couture

We began our day today with an interesting question, were the costumes of Black Swan designed by Rodarte or Amy Westcott??

This is an interview with Amy Westcott that clearly shows how delicate a situation these collaborations can be:

It also provides an interesting breakdown of her understanding of the role of a costume designer "You are responsible for everything, whether an item is designed by me, purchased, farmed out to a specialised item designer or a combination of all of these... ...You’re responsible for the look, making sure things are functional, making sure you are on budget, as well as managing your department. "

It is intriguing to consider the different approaches and levels of involvement of different designers. Does the designer's clothing get used in the film with no direct involvement from the designer? Does the designer design put a few pieces from an existing collection in the film? Does the designer design costumes to be used within the film which will showcase their work but have little regard for the film itself? Or does the designer design pieces that highlight and enhance the narrative and characters for the film?

There are numerous examples of variations along this spectrum. Some work excellently, and others (like the Black Swan debacle) work not so well.

Another topic we covered to day was the class transformation film. One thing I've noticed: makeover films are everywhere!
One of my favourite brainless films (although I should probably not admit to this) is St Trinnians. There is one great scene where they give her a makeover and experiment with a range of different stereotypes (chavs, goths, posh totties etc). It is interesting to see the use of styling, make up and hair to change appearance when the same set of clothes is used throughout.

One of my favourite film transformations (which we actually watched this afternoon) is Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. It is amazing what two years in Paris and some Givenchy gowns can do to a girl!

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