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5 Fun Facts You Did Not Know About 2020’s Oscar Nominees For Best Costume Design

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My obsession with movie costumes began as snotty-nosed 6-year old watching old DVDs of Audrey Hepburn films with her grandmother. I was struck by the LBD in the very first scene. And later when she is asleep in literally nothing but the most glamorous sleep-mask ever put on film, I was sold, hook, line and sinker. Since then, I have had a particular fondness for deconstructing costumes in cinema, especially when they are put on screen by some of the most talented hands in the industry.

This year was no different. With so many different kinds of movies released, the annual list of accolades have also come out, with the category of Best Costume Design being my vice. The Oscars revealed their list of nominees as well and we wanted to give a special shout-out for the people who were nominated…with one fun fact thrown in for amusement!

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Little Women

Jacqueline Durran

Girl’s girl Jacqueline Durran has been dressing literary heroines on screen for a while now. From Elizabeth Bennet’s feisty wardrobe in Pride and Prejudice (2005) to Bell’s stunning ballroom gown in Beauty and the Beast (2017), Durran knows how to rock bookish girls’ wildest imaginations. For Little Women, Durran was tasked with dressing up some of most talented young women working in film today. For the women in the film, Durran crafted clothes that she thought would be something they actually lived in. From creating a ‘Writing Jacket’ for the free-spirited sister to a heavy, laborious cape for the sister who is looking for suitor, there is careful attention to detail. A talent she picked up while managing a second-hand vintage clothing store in London in the 90s. What a life!

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Arianne Phillips

Madonna’s close personal friend and collaborator for over two decades , she is a force to reckon with. Quentin Tarantino was looking to dress the insanely attractive cast of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Apart from being an experimental artist who designs for both film and stage, Arianne is also the woman who designed the logo for Time’s Up movement way back in 2018. For Margot Robbie’s performance as real-life movie star Sharon Tate, Phillips revealed, Basically in the whole film, she’s wearing a ring or an earring that belonged to the real Sharon Tate. So details like that might really inform the actor and act as a kind of “beam me up” suit to help access a character,”. Robbie certainly did look the part, and oh-so pretty, it isn’t fair!

Jojo Rabbit

Mayes C. Rubeo

Taika Watiti’s hilarious Nazi-satire film is one of my personal favourites this year. The film is exploding with colour both in production design and costume. Sometimes, even in it the charming performances of its child actors. Mexican designer Mayes C. Rubeo, whose impressive resume includes an epic like Avatar (2007), dressed the stunning Scarlett Johansson for Jojo Rabbit. Much like other iconic accessories, Johansson’s pair of single lace-up red and white spectators with butterfly accents work as an integral plot point in the film. Rubeo revealed, “We decided she should wear pants as this was an era when pants came into fashion but [were] not accessible to many people. Two things during wartime a lady would have were hats and, of course, stockings.”, plenty of which were in abundance throughout the film!

Joker

Mark Bridges

Sometimes you need a whole array of costumes in order to make it to this coveted list…on other occasions, you just need one iconic red and mustard suit! American designer Mark Bridges is an Oscar winner already, having won an additional Jet Ski for Phantom Thread (2017) for keeping her speech less than 30 seconds. For Joker, Bridges revealed, ““When thinking about Arthur you realize he doesn’t have much style. He dresses for comfort. I imagined if he ever did laundry everything went into the washer at the same time. So we made a kind of bad laundry feel to the clothing. It’s those subtle choices you can make for a character that informs the audience who they are and how they live.” Now, that’s fascinating!

The Irishman

Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson

A 15-times Oscar nominee (of which 3 that she won), Sandy Powell is an institution when it comes to designing for period films. The Brit is known for designing costumes for film that in themselves behave like a character. For 2018’s The Favourite, Sandy designed corseted gowns in only black and white hues to make it look like chessboard, given that the film was a courtroom drama. For The Irishman, Powell, with Christopher Peterson had to not only dress cinema legends like  Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, but also an additional supporting cast of over 6000 extras. The film also spans 5 decades, which means the film felt like five films mixed into one. From sharp suits to floral Hawaiian shirts, this one is definitely the most versatile of the lot.

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