With a rich heritage in Hollywood spanning almost a century, Swarovski continues to illuminate the world of film with its crystals, collaborations and formidable craftsmanship. From accessorising Audrey Hepburn’s tiara in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to the crystal embedded gown of Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind, Swarovski has changed the fashion of Western cinema, working with over 115 costume designers, 14 of whom have gone on to win Academy Awards for their collaborative efforts.
In celebration of awards season and as the official jewellery partner of the BAFTA Awards this year, Atelier Swarovski are taking the opportunity to spotlight some of the most groundbreaking costume designers of our time. This past weekend, the crystal ateliers held an interactive panel with designers such as: Jany Temime, of Harry Potter, Skyfall and Black Widow fame, Sandy Powell, known for her designs in The Favourite, The Irishman and The Wolf of Wall Street, Christopher Peterson of The Irishman and The Departed, Arianne Phillips, known for Walk the Line, A Single Man and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and Maya C Rubey of Avatar, Jojo Rabbit and Thor.
Each of the films nominated this season, and involved in the panel, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Jojo Rabbit and Judy, are incredible evocations of the past. And for such a feat, each of the costume ateliers began with in depth discussions with their respective directors, through the general fashion of the time and how that related to each person’s character, down to small accessories, a ring or a belt buckle.
Martin Scorcese told Sandy Powell that for The Irishman, he wanted a different kind of gangster than we’re used to seeing in his films, “not as flashy, living under the radar and blending into the background”, she needed to make Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s characters “look like everyday guys.” The Irishman required Powell to manoeuvre an authentic bleed through time, as the film and characters move through several decades. In total, De Niro goes through over 100 costume changes, each vintage suit had been deconstructed and re-tailored to his fit, in order to look larger and more intimidating in his youth, and smaller and more vulnerable as he ages. To counter such dramatic ageing, Powell had De Niro wear the same jewellery, a ring, watch and glasses, throughout, holding the same style and character throughout.
Arianne Phillips had an extremely unique experience designing for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Sharon Tate herself, and 1960s pop culture were highly documented through photographs and film. In fact, of all of Tarantino’s films, Once Upon a Time hasthe most reportage, real people, places and events, all converging on two fictional characters; Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio’s amalgamations of western cowboy stars. The team were challenged in creating authentic costumes for such well-documented events and people, alongside the fictitious ones.
Accessories played a huge role in this film, Tarantino's well known foot fascination meant that Phillips needed to ensure the right footwear was employed to tell each character's story. DiCaprio's stolen cowboy boots employed a severity and bravado, Pitt's soft moccassins were somehow trendy and intimidating, more interesting than expected heavy boots. Margot Robbie wore lengthened go-go boots, a compromise from Phillips. Tate was far too fashionable to wear go-go boots in 1969 but Tarantino fell in love with them, an obstacle Phillips faced in lensing the film and costumes through the eyes of a then, seven year old Tarantino, and the actuality of the events. Phillips made use of talismans for each character, a genuine stuntman belt buckle for Pitt found in the back of the costume house, a Steve McQueen-esque initialled medallion for DiCaprio and genuine jewellery borrowed from Tate’s sister for Robbie. The talismans succeed in giving each character authenticity, Phillips even employed Tate's sister Deborah as a consultant on set to honour the late actress.
Arianne Phillips won the BAFTA for Best Costume Design for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on Sunday 3rd February, 2020.
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