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6 Famous Designers Who Have Costumed Films


Costumes play a huge role in film by bringing life to the characters that don them and giving relevance to the period, genre, and setting. Here’s a look at some famous names in fashion who have lent their creative eye to the movie set.


Miuccia Prada | The Great Gatsby (2013)

Creative director of Prada and Miu MiuMiuccia Prada, collaborated with Academy Award-winning costume designer Catherine Martin and director Baz Luhrmann, selecting 40 different dresses from both the Prada and Miu Miu archives to be reworked for the film.

Though the reworked designs were worn by secondary characters, the party dress Daisy wears when she attends Gatsby’s party was a re-creation of a crystal dress that was inspired by look 33 from Prada’s Spring/Summer 2010 runway collection.

Reminiscent of the European influences that were emerging within the East Coast high society back in the ’20s, the opulent image of the flapper girl was brought to life with silk gowns, and jewel-toned frocks adorned with fringing, beading, crystals, sequins, and embroidery.



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Miuccia Prada | Romeo + Juliet (1996)

The Great Gatsby was not Prada’s first collaboration with Baz Luhrmann. Back in 1996, Prada designed some of the costumes for Luhrmann’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet. Costume designer Kym Barret enlisted the help of Prada to create two of the now-iconic ensembles: Claire Danes’ white dress and angelic wings for the costume party, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s navy blue wedding suit, right down to the crisp, white cotton shirt, and pink floral tie.


Hubert De Givenchy | Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

In the famous opening scene of Blake Edward’s 1961 romantic comedy, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn) is seen getting out of a yellow cab in a cocktail gown, holding a coffee and croissant in her hand as she looks into the windows of the luxury jewelry store, Tiffany and Co. The sleeveless, black satin dress has arguably become one of Givenchy’s most recognizable creations.

Following Coco Chanel’s introduction of the concept in the 1920s, Givenchy’s iconic dress presented audiences with a modern rendition of the little black dress; it has been considered one of the most influential dresses in the history of 20th-century fashion and costume design.

The original, shorter version of the dress was never actually worn in the film. It now resides in the house of Givenchy archives while another copy is housed at the garment museum in Madrid. A third sold at a Christie’s auction in 2006 for a price of 467,200 pounds ($923,187).

The timeless dress is still influencing fashion today as Natalie Portman wore one of the three original versions in a cover photo for Harper’s Bazaar in November 2006.


Pierre Balmain | And God Created Woman (1956)

Pierre Balmain has dressed some of Old Hollywood’s brightest stars, from Katharine Hepburn to Sophia Loren and Jane Fonda. In 1956, he created some of the looks that Brigitte Bardot wore in Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman. Extraordinarily sexy yet innocent at the same time, the outfits not only encapsulated Bardot’s character, Juliet Hardy, but the essence of ’50s and ’60s glamour.

The beauty of the costumes Balmain created for this movie is not found in the exuberance of luxe glamorous gowns and sparkling evening dresses but in the simplicity of the casual, daytime looks that emulated the silhouettes that were popularized in the ’50s.

Sensual without being revealing, the looks he designed included a button-down shirt dress and a red wiggle dress. Form-fitted and cinched at the waist, the elegant lines expressed the female form in a tasteful yet powerful manner that embodied the free-spirited personality of Bardot’s character.


Coco Chanel | Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Gabrielle Chanel designed the dresses that Delphine Seyrig wore in Alain Renias’ 1961 production of Last Year at Marienbad. The costumes have stood the test of time as the movie was recently digitized and restored, with the help of Chanel, using the original negatives from the 1960s.

The costumes were envisioned by Renias to not be role-specific, but instead, to be reminiscent of a real-life wardrobe, to provide for imagery that had a timeless, modern allure. Gabrielle Chanel offered a selection of Haute Couture looks that were representative of that era’s contemporary fashion. The avant-garde costumes showcased a wonderful mix of both ’20s and ’60s styles that were light yet sophisticated. Think chiffon, layers of tulle, delicate lace, and dramatic feathers. Of course, in true Chanel fashion, there had to be a few little black dresses in the mix.


Yves Saint Laurent | Belle Du Jour (1967)

Yves Saint Laurent was enlisted by director Luis Buñuel to costume Catherine Deneuve in her breakthrough role as Séverine Serizy in Belle Du Jour. Just six years after establishing his eponymous label, Saint Laurent dressed Deneuve’s character in styles and silhouettes that would eventually become iconic designs of his brand. This included fitted, military-style coats in dark wools, leather coats trimmed in fur, tennis outfits, and slightly flared, A-line dresses.

Deneuve initially wanted to wear miniskirts that were popular during that era, but tailored, figure-hugging, minimalist styles were chosen instead, with skirts that were cut above the knee. All of this was to ensure that the film’s visuals did not end up being too specific to the period.

It worked as the ultra-chic, sophisticated styles have survived through the decades. Saint Laurent worked well with the director and the costumes are an ode to the classic modernity of his designs; they also helped bring an aspect of surrealism to the film, which was typical of Buñuel. This collaboration reflected how the connection between designer and director can create spectacular imagery, the costumes perfectly juxtaposed the two distinct identities that Deneuve’s character portrayed.

The sand-toned safari-style dress with patch pockets, fly front zip, epaulets, and gold chain belt in the movie is particularly interesting, as in the ’60s, Saint Laurent marked a turning point in safari style with this iconic design. The patent leather coat she wears with knitted sleeves would not look out of place on any runway today either.


Christian Dior | Stage Fright (1950)

When Christian Dior debuted his first collection in February 1947, Hollywood stars were extremely taken by designs, one of whom was German-American actress, Marlene Dietrich. Possibly one of the most popular film and music stars of the era, she famously said to Hitchcock, “No Dior, no Dietrich,” when negotiating her role in the movie.

This sparked the stunning collaboration, where Dior created a glamourous, elegant, and sophisticated wardrobe for Dietrich’s character, Charlotte Inwood. The styles and cuts were reminiscent of Dior’s New Look that was born during the post-war period. Cinched in at the waist to exaggerate the shoulders and hips, the looks featured full-skirted dresses and stylishly chic day suits.


From L’Officiel USA

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