Have an account?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Costume Design - Persol Magnificient Obsessions

eiko ishioka dracula
I caught this terrific exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Images. Persol Magnificent Obsessions show how 30 professionals in film pursue their craft.  I was particularly enchanted by the three costume designers featured; Eiko Ishioka, Julie Weiss and Theadora Van Runkle. 

You definitely know their work.  Actual costumes were on display as well as clips from their films.  However, what really gave me insight into their creative process was looking at the diversity in their sketches.

The exhibit showcases the creative process of costume designers Eiko Ishioka and Julie Weiss

dracula costumes
Eiko Ishioka was nominated for an Academy Award for last year’s Mirror Mirror film.  She was the creator of the costumes on Bram Stoker’s Dracula in collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola.  She came from a production design background which shows in the architectural nature of her costumes. 

Instead of the cliché satin lined cape, she designed Count Dracul’s armor to resemble anatomic muscles and veins.  While this was a period movie, her ensembles did not adhere to strict period construction.  The silhouettes resembled the Victorian time period, but at close inspection, the pleats and draping had very structured, origami-like shapes that were their own fashion sculpture. 

Ishioka’s sketches were big, barely a pencil outline for hands or faces.  The illustrations were only partially rendered.  The areas that were illustrated were intricately detailed, like the starched lace ruff on Lucy, the embroidery on Mina’s gown or the individual muscle tissue on Dracula.

Julie Weiss was the costume designer on Twelve Monkeys and Frida.  What struck me about her sketches was that all of her thoughts, ideas and notes were scrawled directly onto the sketch.  You can see her references, changed details, fabric swatches directly on the illustration.  Based on traditional costume design education, this was exactly not what designers usually present to the director.  Her work was fascinating in “A Beautiful Mind” kind of way.  Onscreen, while the costumes were great, you almost didn't see them because they really just blended into who the characters were.

I first heard of Theadora Van Runkle watching “Troop Beverly Hills” as a pre-teen.  A judge compliments Shelley Long’s tailored suit and she proudly boasts “It’s a Van Runkle!”  It was the first (and only) time where I have ever heard a costume designer of a film actually name checked in the film.

Theadora was responsible for the looks of some of the most trendsetting movies in the 1960’s, like Bonnie and Clyde and The Thomas Crown Affair.

Her sketches were textbook examples of old school costume illustrations that accurately depict the look, feel and attitude of each character’s ensemble.  The polished drawings render the textures of the fabrics.  You can see that even without an exact depiction of the faces, you can clearly picture the actors in the poses right in the movie. 

The rest of the exhibit included everything from the research that actors like Johnny Depp did to portray author Hunter S. Thompson, the equipment and process of a sound editor, the puppeteer and writing behind Being John Malcovich.

This was a great show for creative people or are passionate about any craft in their profession.  Whether you are a costume designer like Eiko Ishioka, wiriter like Hunter S. Thompson or actor like Johnny Depp. Now how do you feed your obsession?


Alex Smith said...

costume design truly elevates a film

Anonymous said...

I am really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any
web browser compatibility issues? A few of my blog readers have complained about my
site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox.
Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

Feel free to surf to my web page ... Garcinia Cambogia HCA (http://cjtechinc.com/main/?document_srl=82823)

Anonymous said...

Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you're using?
I'm looking to start my own blog in the near future but I'm having
a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something unique.
P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

My blog :: COllagen Face Serum Review

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Site Meter