14 Movies Where the Costumes Got as Much Attention as the Plot
It’s not just the actors but also costume designers that should be thanked for the great characters we see in movies. No matter how genius an actor is, when people remember certain characters, they think about their appearances. And also, designers may be trying to explain something important about the characters through their looks.
House of Gucci (2021)
During the production of the film, Lady Gaga had 54 different outfits. Not a single detail was repeated — not even the earrings. The designers even made a copy of the wedding dress of Patrizia Reggiani... but they decided to not use it.
The thing is, the original dress seemed too simple and too closed. And they gave Lady Gaga a gorgeous white dress with handmade lace and a heart-shaped bodice. The costume designers explained it this way, “The dress captures the authentically happy period in Patrizia and Maurizio’s relationship.”
The moment when Cruella appeared from a garbage truck in her “dress” left nobody indifferent. It’s a very fitting moment in terms of the story.
Emma Stone, who played the main role, said it was her favorite dress in the film. The costume designers did a great job: they made a 40-foot train. It was so heavy she couldn’t move. So they added the train onto the dress at the last minute when she got onto the garbage truck to shoot that part.
The Witches (2020)
In the movie, the witches’ hands are not like human hands: they only have 3 fingers. This is why they hide their fingers under gloves.
If you look closely, you will see that some fingers never bend because they aren’t even there. The costume designer of the film had this brilliant idea to immobilize parts of their hands.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
One of the most memorable moments of the film is the transformation of the circus artist into a snake. The costume designer spent a long time thinking about how to create a dress for a maledictus — a cursed girl that had to turn into a different creature.
She needed to make a dress that would look like snakeskin. To achieve the effect, the artist took lace and added foil to it. And then she sewed frills to the sleeves and the bottom of the dress to look like snake rings.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
Eva Green’s character, Miss Peregrine, can turn into a bird but the creators didn’t want her look to scream what she can do. This is why special inserts were made on her sleeves. They were covered with silk that had a metallic shine.
When the character moves, an attentive viewer will notice small fluctuations in the pattern on her sleeves. This was meant to remind the viewers of feathers on a bird.
The Tourist (2010)
The glorious black dress Angelina Jolie wears for a social event was made by hand. It took 7 weeks to make. The dress consisted of layers of black silk and satin with a pleated, layered edge. The designer remembers, “We wanted a dress that was really feminine, that harked maybe to another time and elegance, but that didn’t take away from the necklace. It framed her face and body beautifully.”
The designers developed at least 1,000 different looks for the characters. But the stillsuit took the most attention — it’s a protection suit for the people of Arrakis.
“The stillsuits had to fit a lot of different people and look as good on Jason Momoa, who is 6’4”, as it does on Rebecca Ferguson, who is petite and 5’5″." — the creators shared.
It took 5 people and 1 month to create the dress Florence Pugh’s character appears in at the end of the film. They sewed 10,000 silk flowers to the dress to make them look natural.
The costume ended up being really heavy, so a chair was hidden under it, so that Florence could at least sit down in between takes. The flower crown was really heavy too. The creators say that the physical difficulties helped the actress play the final part with the necessary amount of drama.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Even though the film never says how old Rebecca Ferguson’s character is, costume designers tried really hard to let viewers know what she really is.
They put a top hat on her head — something barely anyone wears in the 21st century. Even though she wears modern clothes, the top hat is a sign that she has also been in previous eras. Also, the hat makes her look like a creepy magician that lures special children into a trap.
The costume designer of the film said it was hard for her to work on Cinderella’s wedding dress. She had already appeared in a majestic dress at the ball, and her wedding dress was supposed to be at least as good but not the same.
So, they made a more elegant dress. In order for it to not look boring, they embroidered the dress with flowers by hand. They got inspired by the flower dresses of the 1950s.
Because Pennywise has been living for more than 100 years, costume designers tried to communicate this through his clothes. They were inspired by the images of clowns and acrobats from different eras: Victorian, Elizabethan, and Renaissance. They also wanted the clothes to have more folds to look like an organic substance and the clown to remind us of a caterpillar.
Last Night in Soho (2021)
In the film, a fashion college student finds herself in the 1960s where she meets an amateur singer portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy. The time traveler gets inspired with her peach-colored dress and decides to make the same one in the real world.
The costume designers wanted to make an impressive look for Anya but, at the same time, not break her character. The designer remembers: “I wondered where she’d have gotten a dress that’s so glamorous. She’s not a woman of means. Most people [at that time] made their own clothes with paper patterns, so I used those as references.” And in the end, the dress looked as if the girl made it for herself.
The costume designers of this film intentionally didn’t make the exact copies of the clothes of the legendary princess. But at the same time, they wanted to make sure that viewers would easily believe the real Diana could wear these clothes. The creators tried to communicate the spirit of the time with Kristen Stewart’s clothes.
Also, costume designers didn’t want to spend 1/4 of the film’s budget on recreating Diana’s wedding dress. They bought a 1980s wedding dress and changed it a bit. If you compare the photos of Diana with the shots of Kristen Stewart, the difference is barely noticeable.
Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)
One of the most immediately noticeable details filmgoers can pick up on in James Cameron’s films is the look of the production. And many of the outfits in the movie resulted from over 200 hours of intense crafting and designing.
But even more surprising was the costume designer’s revelation that this number did not include all of the research that went into imagining and accurately representing the outfits the residents of Pandora would wear based on their own unique customs. For example, the designers invented a breastplate that starts right up under the chin, and it’s clearly either ornamental or a sign of rank.
What films have impressed you with their costumes?