Costume is Hero

When Kate Winslet walked down the iconic stairway in the ‘Titanic’, we were almost as captivated as young Leonardo Dicaprio who wouldn’t take his eyes off her. The film went on to win a plethora of Oscars, the best costume design award being one of them.

More often than not, costumes have played an integral role in cinema, a visual necessity that period films, musicals, dramas and the rest depend on. To corroborate the importance of costumes in movies, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences honours a designer, each year, with the highest accolade in the industry. While we can’t wait to see who wins this year, here’s all you need to know about the 2017 Oscar nominations for costume design.


La La Land
Mary Zophres


Emma Stone in a blue number from Jason Wu
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Who can forget the breath of fresh air that was ‘La  La Land’. The plot that revolved around a struggling actress and a jazz pianist was portrayed beautifully on screen by designer Mary Zophres, who was inspired by legends like Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Fred Astaire and Marlon Brando to style the protagonists.


Ryan Gosling
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Emma Stone
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Rather than giving a vintage appeal to the film set in a nostalgia framed Los Angeles, the clothes offer a timeless appeal. Dresses which include volume based on dance sequences, Ryan Gosling in an impeccable dress code that never falters from being formal – two toned brogues and ties with a singular motif; the great deal of thought that has gone into these costumes is crystal clear.


Madeline Fontaine


Portman in the pink suit worn by Jacky Kennedy on the day of her husband’s assassination
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The public fascination with Jacqueline Kennedy continues long after her death. Following her life after John.F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, ‘Jackie’ stars Natalie Portman as the former First Lady. Such is the detailing in costume design by Madeline Fontaine that Portman appears to be a splitting image of Jackie Kennedy herself.


The iconic red dress worn for the CBS white house tour
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The movie features a lot of the famous outfits; the pink Chanel suit worn by her on the day of the President’s death, the red dress worn for the White House tour watched by 56 million viewers and the veiled headdress worn for the funeral. There is of course some form of creative liberty; outfits generally endorsed in the 60’s find their way to the wardrobe. In any case, this biography is a strong contender for the costume design Oscar this season.


Natalie Portman in a still from the movie


Joanna Johnston

 A sketch of Marion’s outfit
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Brad Pitt’s military ensemble
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Joanna Johnston knows more about military clothing than we could possibly imagine, having dressed the cast of ‘Lincoln’ and ‘War Horse’. This time, she has designed costumes for ‘Allied’, the war drama starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.

Working for a film that involves a shift in scenario, in this case from glamorous to routine, could be a tricky task but Joanna managed to do it flawlessly. Italian silks, delicate fabrics and tweeds form Marion Cotillard’s wardrobe while Brad Pitt is seen donning military outfits. Intriguing seems to be an underrated word.


Brad Pitt and Marion Cottilard in Allied

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Colleen Atwood

A sketch of Katherine Waterston’s costume
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Percival Graves sketched by Warren Holder
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While presenting  fantasy on screen can be a difficult feat for many, it’s the most natural thing for Colleen Atwood. The three time Oscar winning costume designer has lent her magic to the cast of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, J.K. Rowling’s latest onscreen adaptation. Will billowing overcoats, astounding headdresses and costumes deriving inspiration from the archives of New York give way to another Oscar?  We wait with bated breath to find out.


A still from Fantastic Beasts
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Florence Foster Jenkins
Consolata Boyle


A sketch of Florence Foster Jenkins costume
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A sketch of Meryl Streep’s costume
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Though Consolata Boyle has previously designed for ‘The Iron Lady’, Meryl Streep’s much applauded film, her current work for ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ couldn’t have held more contrast. The English biopic which revolves around a flamboyant socialite turned singer had Streep clad in lavish furs and over the top ensembles, her extravagant costumes being applauded and making Boyle a top contender for the Oscars.


Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins
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Special Mention

Nocturnal Animals
Arianne Phillips



Amy Adams in Nocturnal animals
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Though Tom Ford’s thriller didn’t make it to the Oscar nominations, the costumes in ‘Nocturnal Animals’ are nothing short of fabulous. With designer Arianne Phillips at the helm, the outfits themselves speak volumes for the mysterious characters. The overall appearances consist of clean lines and minimal approach, something synonymous with Tom Ford’s style, but none of the costumes are from his eponymous label. Nevertheless, these are visuals we loved.


Nocturnal Animals is the second film directed by Tom Ford
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The winner may be one, but there is no doubt about the power of costumes that shall continue to tell us stories from now,before and beyond.

Like Margaret Atwood said, “We think that their bizarre costumes, their verbal tics, are chosen, and that when the time comes we also will be free to choose. That’s what I’m going to be like.”

That’s what I am going to be like.


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