This year marks the 25th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) Museum! It is one of the most highly anticipated costume exhibits every year, and the only one of its kind that brings together the best film costume designs from the previous year in one central location. It is an astonishing display of over one hundred costumes representing twenty-three films, and four Academy Award Nominees for Costume Design.
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Moana, the latest film from Walt Disney Feature Animation, is the powerfully moving story of a brave young girl on an epic journey to save her people. Set in the Pacific Islands, Disney has pushed the boundaries of animation to create some of the most breathtaking environments and characters you’ll find in an animated film. The skin glistens, every strand of hair seems to dance in the breeze, and the costumes, while simple in nature, are wonderfully designed to support and enhance the story.
It's once again that time of the summer, in the lead-up to the Emmy Awards, when the FIDM Museum presents its showcase of the past year's highlights in television costume design. The Art of Television Costume Design exhibition, celebrating its 10th year, opened to the public August 2nd, and, as always, is a treat for costume lovers and television viewers. The display features an array of costumes from 23 series, including eight of this year's Emmy nominees in both the contemporary and period/fantasy categories.
For the ELEVENTH year in a row, The Costume Designers Guild will be participating in San Diego Comic-Con, July 21-24 at the San Diego Convention Center. The CDG (I.A.T.S.E. Local 892) is the labor union that represents costume designers, assistant costume designers and illustrators in film and television. They will return this year with two exciting panels; giving fans a behind the scenes look at the fantastic world of costume design for some of the hottest films and television shows!
The hit drama Outlander, currently in its second season on Starz, crosses several different genres. Based on the bestselling book series by Diana Gabaldon, the show follows the story of Claire, a WWII British nurse who unexpectedly finds herself transported back in time to 18th century Scotland, and must quickly learn to navigate her new surroundings as well as her new marriage to a Highlander named Jamie. Outlander's production team creates an incredibly rich viewing experience for its audience each week. One of the most exciting of these elements is, of course, Terry Dresbach's phenomenal costume design, which adds a tremendous amount of depth to the story. Every single costume, whether it's on a lead character or a background player, fits seamlessly into the narrative.
Captain America: Civil War is the largest film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, bringing together two epic teams of heroes to battle an intense physical and ideological war. And to costume two powerful and iconic legions, the Russos turned to acclaimed costume designer Judiaanna Makovsky. Makovsky has multiple Oscar nominations and Costume Designers Guild Award wins for such films as Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She is no stranger to the comic book genre and MCU, having designed the costumes for X-Men: The Last Stand, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and currently in production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We recently had a chance to ask her about just a few of the incredible costumes from this phenomenal film!
Deadpool, one of the most crass, hard-hitting, and iconic comic book characters finally hit the big screen this month, after years of development. The film (and its incredible star Ryan Reynolds!) nails the character perfectly, and both old and new fans alike are singing its praise, propelling it to the biggest R-rated opening weekend in film history (as well as 20th Century Fox’s biggest debut weekend EVER). And what is a great antihero film without a great antihero suit?! To learn more about the costume’s creation, we went right to the source!
HAMILTON is the hottest new show to premiere on Broadway in years (sold-out into 2017!). It is a groundbreaking new musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote the music, lyrics, and book, as well as stars as the show’s title character. HAMILTON weaves together rap, hip-hop, and traditional musical styles to tell the dynamic story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, all beautifully portrayed by such a diverse cast. Costumes designed by Tony Award nominee Paul Tazewell, help to wonderfully support such bold storytelling by expertly combining the fussy world of 18th century dress with a minimalist, modern sensibility. Tazewell is an acclaimed costume designer for theatre, dance, and opera, with such credits as Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk, Dr. Zhivago, Side Show, and NBC’s smash hit The Wiz Live! Tazewell recently, very generously, opened up with us on his process for designing the iconic costumes of HAMILTON!
Every year, the FIDM Museum presents its impressive showcase of the past year's most memorable moments in film costume design. This year's exhibition, which opens to the public on Tuesday, February 9, is another stunning example of the fine work the museum's curators. On display you’ll view a huge variety of costumes, ranging from lavish fantasy period pieces like Cinderella to the modern chic of Pitch Perfect 2. In addition, all five of this year's Academy Award nominees are included, as well as many of the Costume Designers Guild award honorees. Museum Director Barbara Bundy stated that when planning the exhibition, their goal is "to show the breadth of what went on in the movies the year before." She also mentioned that the process of bringing this wonderful display to the public is a tremendous undertaking: "The day that this opens we will start planning for next year." The museum's efforts certainly pay off, as each year the exhibition grows and is even better than the last.
Cirque du Soleil’s latest production, Toruk – The First Flight, is an immersive touring spectacle that brings to the stage the world of James Cameron’s AVATAR in new and exciting ways. This mythical tale is set thousands of years before the events of the AVATAR film, long before humans entered Pandora, and centers on the journey to ride the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Acclaimed costume designer Kym Barrett was tasked with creating this beautifully adorned world. Barrett is well known in the world of fantasy design for film, with such credits as The Matrix, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Jupiter Ascending. And she has previously collaborated with Cirque du Soleil on the touring production Totem. She shares with us an exciting look at her process in envisioning this richly imaginative story!
Jacqueline Durran is an Academy Award-winning costume designer with such credits as Anna Karenina, Pride & Prejudice, and Atonement. Her latest project, Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, is already receiving major acclaim, having premiered throughout Europe earlier this Fall. In time for the American opening this week, we asked Durran to talk us through her inspiration and process of designing the richly detailed costumes for this powerful tragedy.
I posted one of my favorite costume design assignments on social media this week, and received a ton of responses from people interested in teaching it at their school. I assign the Iconic Character Project at the early part of the semester for my beginning costume students. They analysis the look of an iconic character and then translate it into modern fashion, historic clothing, and a dance costume through collage.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back for an action-packed third season, and they’re turning everything we knew on its head! With an explosive season two ending, Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Inhumans were set on a completely new path. Costume designer Ann Foley has been dressing the show impeccably for the last two seasons, but she’s always up for a new challenge. She joins us to talk about what we can expect from this season, and how the costumes are evolving with the characters.
3D printing technology has grown significantly in the last ten years to become an accessible tool for artists, small business owners, and amateur crafters. It has already made a splash in the fashion industry through visionary leaders such as Iris van Herpen, Michael Schmidt, and Francis Bitonti. And it has slowly been invading the costume design world in film (Prometheus, Enders Game, Man of Steel), and most recently themed entertainment (Walt Disney World’s “Festival of Fantasy Parade”). It’s implications for the future of design seems endless, and designers are posed to make great gains in the ability to execute unusual and complex costume pieces unlike ever before.
A sunny day with a slight chill in the air, an average winter day in Los Angeles, and the perfect weather to celebrate the opening of the 22nd Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum. Each year this exhibit celebrates the best of film costume design from the previous year.
The Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes: When Art Danced With Music exhibit, currently on display at The National Gallery of Art, captures the wonder of an influential team of artists that changed the course of fashion and the performing arts in the early part of the 20th Century.
The first photos from Darren Aronofsky's epic film Noah have been released. The images don't reveal much, but we do get a good look at some of the key players in costumes designed by Michael WIlkinson.
Designer Melinda Looi worked with Materialise Malaysia to create Asia's first 3D printed fashion show.
The video below walks you briefly through the process from rendering to runway.
Additive manufacturing is making huge leaps, being experimented with by many progressive fashion designers. As we begin to discover the full range of what is possible with this exciting technology, I don't believe it will be long before the costume design world adopts it heavily.
Along with highly realistic digital rendering skills, a strong background in 3D modeling could easily become a highly sought after ability within the field.
We continue our series on the evolution of the Superman suit, taking a look at the costumes of the 1950s and 1960s.
The man of steel flies into homes across the nation.
Superman first graced the small screen in the television show Adventures of Superman that ran from 1951-1958, starring George Reeves.
The newly redesigned Capitol Couture Tumblr, created to promote Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is the ultimate in costume design, fashion, and film marketing synergy.
The site contains images of costumes designed by Trish Summerville for the film and spotlights on some of the Capitol's most stylish characters, woven in with features on real life fashion designers.
Capitol Couture. Elizabeth Banks as Effie, Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Part fashion blog, part movie poster, Capitol Couture is taking advantage of the wildly successful channel of free marketing through style blogs and magazines that has proved wildly successful as of late. The recent success of Anna Karenina, a film that received limited theatrical release but huge fashion press due in large part to the 1950s couture inspiration of the costumes as well as the film-inspired line by Banana Republic, has proven a model for the expanding world of product and marketing tie-ins. It may have even been a contributing factor in propelling costume designer Jacqueline Durran's Academy Award win. In addition, movies like The Great Gatsby, which partnered with some of the biggest names in couture and ready to wear, Prada and Brooks Brothers, has received more press from fashion publications than any film could ever dream of paying for.
With this new trend, are costume designers going to be increasingly pressured to incorporate press-friendly fashion brands? Will the quality of character design, or even story-telling, suffer as studios recognize the spending potential of an expanding fashion conscious fan-base? This should be an interesting area to watch.
This week, 20th Century Fox released the 50th Anniversary Blue Ray/DVD set of the epic Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor. In honor of the film's Golden Anniversary, we look back at one of the film's most iconic (and expensive) costumes.
Elizabeth Taylor's Gold Ceremonial costume with gold metallic dress; tall, Sobek-style headpiece; and ornate Phoenix-inspired cape is featured prominently in the film as Cleopatra dramatically rides into Rome, as well as in her "final farewell." Images of Taylor in this costume were also used heavily in marketing material. It is truly the pinnacle of the last pharaoh's opulent style in the film.
Right to Left: Cleopatra Gold Ceremonial costume, full, seated on thrown; Cleopatra portrait image, featuring beautiful leaf details on dress; Cleopatra headpiece detail with intricate metal work and beading.
In 2012, Cleopatra's Phoenix Cape went up for auction at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. The anonymous seller had acquired the cape from Western Costume in the 1970s. The cape fetched an astounding $59,375.
The auction site's description included construction and material details; "Crafted to resemble the wings of a Phoenix, ornate piece is made of very thin panels of gold-painted leather adorned with hand-stitched gold bugle beads, seed beads, and bead-anchored sequins, visible areas of mesh lining offset each beaded panel, two hidden hook-and-eye closures sewn along the front. Cape's Wingspan: 124" with 62" from the center seam to each tip."
The images below reveal the incredible craftsmanship of this garment.
Cleopatra Phoenix Cape, front.
Cleopatra Phoenix cape, back.
Cleopatra Phoenix cape, full wingspan.
Celopatra Film Costume Facts
- Costume Designers: Renie Conley, Vittorio Nino Novarese and Irene Sharaff
- Awarded the Academy Award (Oscars) for Best Costumes (Color) in 1963.
- Elizabeth Taylor's costume budget alone was $194,000. Adjusted for inflation, that is roughly $1,440,000 today.
- Elizabeth Taylor completed 65 costume changes, which at the time gained her the Guinness Book of World Record title "Most Costume Changes in a Film."
- An estimated 26,000 costume were created for the movie.
- 8,000 pairs of boots/shoes were used for the army of extras.