Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tule, Feathers and Sequins (Oh My!)
Black Swan was definitely one of my favorite movies this year...I mean, 2010 (Sorry, still getting used to you, 2011).
One of the main reasons why it is one of my favorites are the costumes. As you may or may not know, I want to be a costume designer when I'm older. In the past, there were a few movies that made my passion for costume design grow (Marie Antoinette, The Dutchess, Coco Before Chanel, The Great Gatsby, and more), but none quite so much as Black Swan.
It was after I watched this movie (and this Youtube clip) that I realized how vital and significant costumes are to a movie. I really don't think other people realize how important they are or how they judge a character by their costumes. The clothes that people wear tell a story about them. Even the colors they wear indicate their personality and can hint at their idiosyncrasies. And this is even more so in movies because they usually only have a few chances to show you what their sense of style is.
In the movie, Natalie Portman's wardrobe is the antithesis of Mila Kunis' in every way--color, structure, style, etc. Natalie's main color palate was white, gray and pink. They are very soft, delicate colors that reflect her timid, shy personality. Then you see her home and her mom and see how her mother in very suppressive and tries to keep her in a child like cocoon and it all makes sense.
Mila's wardrobe reflects her seductive, confident attitude. The fact that she has a lot of black in her wardrobe testifies to her self-assured, sexy temperament.
As Natalie's character becomes more engrossed in the role (and more mentally unstable), you start to see her colors change until she is actually wearing black (like Mila's character), which she didn't wear in the beginning of the movie. That is a crucial turn in the movie, and her costume helps to convey that turn.
I think that we unconsciously notice these things and judge characters by them, but we really take for granted how much the costumes make a movie.
Besides the story behind all of main costumes designed by Amy Wescott, we also got to see the STUNNING ballet costumes designed by the sister design duo Rodarte. Those ballet costumes were...divine? Magnifique? Spectacular? The music, combined with the dancing and the cinematography AND the costumes nearly sent me over the edge artistically. It was such an eruption of beauty along every facet that my mind could barely process it all.
I am SO glad that I have seen Black Swan, not only because it is a beautifully haunting movie, but because now my passion and appreciation for movie costumes has increased ten fold.