Hartford Courant - Costume dramas
For this summer's movies, the clothes make the film
"The buzz about Renee Zellweger's costumes was so strong that
Bloomingdale's opened a 'Down With Love' boutique in
The summer movie thrills aren't just about dodging clone
agents, dealing with mutant dirty work or revving up fast
and furious cars. There are legitimate gasp-inducing
surprises in store for those who appreciate pillbox hats,
Chanel suits and killer high heels.
Summer box office is set to go ca-ching over great fashion
bling, starting with "Down With Love" and
hitting a much-anticipated high note with the
"Legally Blonde" sequel. Rarely has there been a
movie season packed with this much trend-inspired - and
probably trend-inspiring - style.
Besides red-carpet royals Renee Zellweger and Reese
Witherspoon strutting their fashion stuff, a number of
other movies are poised to provide wardrobe inspiration in
upcoming films: "The Italian Job," with Mark
Wahlberg and Charlize Theron wearing an Armani-designed
wardrobe ; "From Justin To Kelly," with Kelly
Clarkson; "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle,"
with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu; "Gigli,"
with Jennifer Lopez; and "Le Divorce," with Kate
Hudson and Naomi Watts. There's even a dark comedy
afoot about the fashion industry, "Garmento."
Already pink suits, pillbox hats and prim white gloves are
featured in both "Down With Love" and
"Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde."
Expect kung fu fighting in hot pants and Jimmy Choos in
"Charlie's Angels," and red crocodile Kelly bags
from Hermes in "Le Divorce."
While these films' fashion influence remains to be seen,
what's clear is that enormous costuming considerations
went into the movies.
The timing couldn't have been better for "Down With
Love." The movie, set in Manhattan in 1962, comes at
a time when today's fashion lens is clearly focused on
looks from Kennedy-era "Jackie dressing" to the
Mary Quant/Andre Courreges/Rudi Gernreich Mod styles of
the mid-'60s. Runway shows from designers Donna Karan,
Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs and Carolina Herrera all
showed '60s inspirations for the fall 2003 collections.
"I am eagerly awaiting the response to 'Down With
Love.' It is perfectly pitched to resonate with the
fashion crowd," said David Wolfe, fashion trend
analyst for the Doneger Group.
"Its time frame is Doris Day/Rock Hudson of the very
early '60s, which makes it pre-Mod, and therefore I think
it will look more 'fresh' than the current runway
expressions of mid-'60s. 'Down With Love' hovers exactly
between the uptight formality of the '50s and the fashion
liberation of the '60s, and so I think that makes it just
The fashion buzz was so heavy on "Down With
Love" that Bloomingdale's opened a "Down With
Love" boutique at its flagship Manhattan store,
featuring hats, gloves, coats and shifts similar to those
in the movie. The makeup company Stila joined with the
movie's distributor, 20th Century Fox, to create
"Down With Love" makeup that will be sold in a
'60s-style hat box.
Above and beyond the fashions, "Down With Love"
might increase awareness of some of the best work by
mid-century architects and interior designers. Scenes of
the U.N. building will remind viewers of a specific
post-war style of architecture that, in turn, evokes
images of Le Corbusier, Eames and Mies van der Rohe
furniture. And "Down With Love" is loaded with
"Down With Love" costume designer Daniel Orlandi
said he finds the fashion fuss over the movie both
flattering and amusing.
"How will it affect fashion? Who knows? I can't
imagine that girls are going to start wearing pumps, hats
and gloves," he said. "But wouldn't it be
fabulous to go to a cocktail party and see these
Orlandi and his team made every stitch of clothing from
scratch for the film - no trips to the vintage shops for
them. "I didn't want it to look thrift-shoppy. For
me, this film is a great tribute to the movie designer.
These are movie clothes."
In the movie, a send-up of the classic Day-Hudson sex
farces, Zellweger had 39 costume changes, each with its
own hat, shoe and handbag.
She's not alone this summer in terms of visits to the
changing room. Joseph Aulisi, costume designer for
"Charlie's Angels," had to come up with 50
costume changes each for Barrymore, Diaz and Liu for their
"Angels" redux. In the "Legally
Blonde" sequel, Witherspoon has more than 40 costume
changes, courtesy of costumer Sophie Carbonnel, according
to W magazine.
That fashion is an important consideration in these summer
movies is not accidental. "Right now, they're
marketing fashion first in the movies," said Tom
Julian, trend analyst for Fallon Worldwide. "Whether
it catches on really does depend. For culture to embrace
it, it has to have the sensibility of living in the
culture in a certain way."
In other words, are we in a place right now where pillbox
hats will fit in? Hey, if we could wear "Xanadu"-inspired
legwarmers or "Flashdance"-provoked torn
sweatshirts, anything's possible" - GREG