A closer look at the Oscar nominees for Best Costume Design – WWD

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Jenny Beavan for “Cruella”

Disney’s live-action film “Cruella” serves as the origin story for the animation. Before infamous villain Cruella de Vil poached puppies for fur coats, she was a young con artist (and aspiring fashion designer) in London’s 70s punk rock scene. Emma Stone plays the titular character – birth name Estella – in her young adult years, when she is hired to work for acclaimed fashion designer The Baroness, played by Emma Thompson. The film’s costume designer, Jenny Beavan, OBE, has been nominated for 10 Oscars – and won twice, for ‘Room With a View’ and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. “The story was strong, the characters were great,” Beavan says of “Cruella’s” appeal. “It was a wonderful challenge, and it was something different. I hadn’t really done the period and I hadn’t done that kind of Disney [film].”

Learn more about Beavan’s work on the film.

Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s “Cruella.”
Courtesy of Disney/Laurie Sparham

Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran for “Cyrano”

The classic love story “Cyrano de Bergerac” has never been so romantic, thanks to director Joe Wright and costume designers Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran. Wright’s musical film, adapted from a recent staging of the 1897 play, stars Peter Dinklage in the lead role. Each costume was specially designed for the film, and Parrini created over 750 costume pieces from scratch to reflect France in the early 1700s. The designer was particularly inspired by 18th century watercolors, as well as the “extreme” contemporary fashion. “In my costumes, I find the need to insert modern elements to make the pieces truly unique,” ​​he says. “It’s also to keep things interesting for myself as well as the audience, instead of doing a complete remake of the clothes we’ve already seen.” Parrini was responsible for designing every character except for Roxanne, the female lead and central romantic interest played by Haley Bennett, whose costumes were designed by Durran.

Learn more about Parrini’s work on “Cyrano”.

C_03065_RCHaley Bennett portrays Roxanne and Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Christian in Joe Wright's Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film CYRANOAPhoto Credit: Peter Mountain© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Haley Bennett portrays Roxanne and Kelvin Harrison Jr. portrays Christian in Joe Wright’s “Cyrano.”
Stone Mountain

Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan for “Dune”

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi blockbuster features over 2,000 custom looks. West, who was nominated for the Oscar three times, collaborated with Morgan to create futuristic looks for each distinct world of “Dune.” Most notable is the story’s intricate stillsuit, worn by the film’s main characters to survive in the harsh desert environment. In an interview with Variety, West noted that they use monochromatic palettes to distinguish each sub-world, turning to natural and imaginary environments for color cues.

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A photo of “Dune”.
Courtesy of HBO Max

Luis Sequeira for “Nightmare Alley”

Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” is peopled with colorful characters – carnival entertainers past their prime, rolling and treating showmen, conniving high society – and an impressive cast led by Bradley Cooper. To help anchor his play from the early 1940s in time, the director called on costume designer Luis Sequeira. Sequeira notes that the film was difficult in that there were two distinct sartorial environments: the seedy world of carnival and the high-society spectacle world of Chicago. “The carnival world was really going back to the post-depression era. These were neighborhoods where people didn’t have a lot of money, so they weren’t up to date and their clothes were old,” he says. “And then in the city, even though it was two years later, the city was about being fashion forward for 1941. And then again, it was really about studying what was ’41 – not ’45, not 1938 – but really what was about in ’41,” he adds. “Because we have characters who had money and were very in touch with the style.”

Learn more about Sequeira’s process for “Nightmare Alley.”

A still of "Alley of Nightmares."

A photo of “Nightmare Alley”.
Kerry Hayes

Paul Tazewell for “West Side Story”

Paul Tazewell, who won the Tony Award for Best Costume Design in 2016 for his work on “Hamilton,” is the first black man to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Tazewell worked with Steven Spielberg to bring to life the director’s new film adaptation of “West Side Story,” set in 1957 New York City. The film stars Rachel Zegler as María and Ariana DeBose as Anita. The costume designer detailed his process on his Instagram account, breaking down his approach to the film’s various characters. As for the men in the film, Tazewell wrote, “There’s quite a bit of denim worn mostly by the Jets and Sharks. During the production of @westsidestorymovie we decided to work with Mike Hodis and @runaboutgoods Attention to detail and consideration for period detail is what made working with Mike and his team a joy.

Ariana DeBose as Anita and David Alvarez as Bernardo in 20th Century Studios' WEST SIDE STORY.  Photo by Niko Tavernise.  © 2021 20th Century Studios.  All rights reserved.

An image from “West Side Story”.
Niko Tavern

Learn more here:

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