HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT COSTUME DESIGN? FIDM’S CURATOR KEVIN JONES AND LOUIS VUITTON OPENED OUR MINDS
Text by Diletta Accorroni
Everything you have always wanted to know about cinema and fashion is now beautifully explained by Kevin Jones – The LA Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM)’s curator – thanks to a recent interview done by our dear friends and colleagues at the production company The Dark Candy.
The museum, which is part of the institute’s building, has been listed among the world’s top 10 fashion museums and has just hosted the 28th edition of the exposition The Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design. It included the costumes from the best movies of the year, counting the five Best Costume Design Academy Awards nominees: “The Irishman” (Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson), “Jojo Rabbit” (Mayes C. Rubeo), “Joker” (Mark Bridges), “Little Women” (Jacqueline Durran) and “Once upon a time in Hollywood“ (Arianna Phillips). Not only, there were also the amazing Oscar-winning Black Panther’s costumes by the talented Ruth E. Carter.
Being able to leave the bidimensional observation of the costumes – as inevitably happens when it comes to TV and cinema – represents a wonderful experience. So now you’ve the chance to watch them from different perspectives and capture interesting “new” details by walking around all those iconic looks you did only see from behind a screen. In fact, thanks to exhibitions alike, the visitor doesn’t miss anything and freezes his sight on what he would like to see, not dealing with the speed of quick footages, as usually happens at home and at the cinema. And this is exactly how fantastic costumes with great humans behind deserve to be seen.
All the pieces exposed, says Jones, are not copies or faithful reproductions, but instead original artworks, worn by the movie stars themselves. Once an exhibition is over, the planning for the next one immediately starts, considering that costumes are coming from sets all over the world.
Kevin Jones gave his opinion also about the Costume Designer’s job saying that it is never easy, but instead one of the most challenging, within the movie industry. It actually requires a lot of commitment and -as many professions – it might take years to become a very good at it. It is particularly demanding, because besides just attending lessons at school to learn the job properly, you also have to be present on set for the whole length of the movie, and not only during the fitting period or the beginning of the shooting, as many could think. Furthermore, part of the Costume Designer role is based on being good with teamwork and collaborations, and the ability to work in a fast-paced sector is mandatory.
The FIDM curator then went on explaining that Fashion designer, Costume designer and Stylist are three different roles with different tasks and missions. That’s why it is not easy for a single person to embody these three jobs at the same time. The needs of the clients for each category are very different and part of the job itself it is about understanding these requirements, in every circumstance. Our brilliant Antonella Cannarozzi seems to be one of the few endowed with all the skills mentioned above. Actually, her wonderful work for the Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love” took her straight to the Oscar Nomination for Best Costumes. The costumes were perfect and beautifully made, also thanks to Fashion Houses such as Fendi and Jil Sander which took part with samples and prototype done on purpose for the movie. Along with this, the Apulian Designer was also in charge for the costumes of the successful TV series “My Brilliant Friend”. In this regard, her work has been defined as “a Prada Ad for Working-Class Gloom.”
Our fascination towards the heavenly costume world rises also in the last Louis Vuitton collection by Nicolas Ghesquiere. For the FW 20 actually, the costume designer Milena Canonero – well known for having been the Designer of Costumes in masterpieces such as “A Clockwork Orange”, “Barry Lyndon” and “The Shining” – managed to outfit 200 characters on the background of the catwalk. The characters range from 1400 to 1950, according with the idea of “Time Collision”. What if all of the innumerable eras that had and still nourish the way people dress could come together in the here and now? And what if, in the present moment, we could compare history with contemporary freedoms, staged for the pure pleasure of fashion? This was exactly what pushes and inspired Louis Vuitton, and the result is a wonderful clash of styles, characterized by unexpected pairings and subverted functions, passing from old to new and from unprecedented to patrimonial. A fashion collection where anachronism becomes an attitude.