The Fashion Statement: "and the Oscar Goes to..."
Much hoopla on Oscar night goes to actresses, their stylists and that 10-minute stroll down the red carpet. But the real fashion gurus take their places months before the movie even goes into production: costume designers.
This week, the Oscar nominations for costume design were announced for films of 2009. They are:
Janet Patterson -- Bright Star
Fanny Brawne, the love interest of poet John Keats in Jame Campion's period piece, was a student of fashion. Patterson told Variety said she did her research by reading Keats poetry, books, art, history and the Internet. The result? Historical accuracy of clothes of the day combined by Brawne's youthfulness and creativity.
Catherine Leterrier -- Coco Before Chanel
Talk about intimidating! The costumes in this film about the young Coco would be viewed by fashion followers worldwide and scrutinized as much or more than the film itself. Even the "Kaiser" himself (as Karl Lagerfeld, current designer of Chanel, has been called) was on the set, no doubt with plenty of opinions. Leterrier told papermag.com her challenge was to be accurate (which would read old-fashion to us) and still get across that Coco was revolutionary.
Monique Prudhomme -- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Accuracy was not an issue for Prudhomme who admitted using every ethnicity, every period and bits and pieces the costume designer found Interesting for the fantasy film about a traveling theater company. She then likens the process to sculpting and molds each look to each actor.
Colleen Atwood -- Nine
Atwood has won two Oscars for Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha. She's also the great mind behind Edward Scissorhands. So you knew Nine had to be a contender. Atwood's range had nothing on Nine, having to produce wardrobes for a flashback of the '30s with Sophia Lauren, a go-go '60s mod look with Kate Hudson and a scene with a scantily-clad Penelope Cruz.
Sandy Powell -- The Young Victoria
Like Atwood, Powell is a veteran with two Oscars under her belt -- one for Aviator and one for Shakespeare in Love. There are no photographs of the Young Victoria, of course, so Powell did most of her research from portrait paintings.
Unlike fashion designers, costume designers take pride in their designs fading into the background and becoming part of the story. But if you're anything like me, watching a stunning display of period dress or creative avant-garde designs makes the story.
There's a little more than a month before the curtains rise for the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7. If you were a member of the Academy, who would the Oscar go to...?
|Bright Star: Janet Patterson||6 (9.7%)|
|Coco before Chanel: Catherine Leterier||6 (9.7%)|
|The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: Monique Prudhomme||1 (1.6%)|
|Nine: Colleen Atwood||6 (9.7%)|
|The Young Victoria: Sandy Powell||43 (69.4%)|