The Fall

Ever since I watched Mirror Mirror, I've had movies Eiko Ishioka designed for on my watch list. The costumes in that movie are just amazing! So when I had a calm sunday a few weeks ago, I sat down and watched The Fall. I'm not gonna try to explain the plot of this Tarsem Singh masterpiece. I'm still not sure if I fully understood the plot. What I will say is that the movie is just visually stunning, every single frame of it. From Ishioka's costumes to the gorgeous sets, everything is a feast for the eye. Now that I've seen The Fall, I'm gathering courage to watch another Singh-Ishioka collaboration, The Cell. I'm hoping that my admiration for Ishioka's work will conquer my aversion to horror films.

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Lately I've been thinking a lot about the culture I consume. I've been for example asking myself why I like watching costume and period dramas so much and the problematic aspect of watching them as a black woman. There's this interesting article by Monique Jones where she explains the many things she finds difficult watching what she calls problematic faves. I can really relate to her dilemma. Every time I'm watching shows like The Crown or Victoria, I start thinking about colonialism and all the horrible things that came with it. Do I stop watching them? No. Am I conflicted about it? Very much so. When I was growing up and watching these costume and period dramas I wasn't thinking so much about it. These rich white families from centuries ago felt so far removed from my own reality that I watched them with the same fascination as with sci-fi or fantasy movies. But over the years I've become more self conscious about it and started analysing them in a different way. Lately though I've become even more critical. There are plenty of these dramas being made every year and they often only feature white actors. The few roles there…

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The Dressmaker

I'm a big Kate Winslet fan so when I saw the posters for The Dressmaker I knew I had to see it. What I thought was a typical drama set in the 50s turned out to be something quit different. The movie was full of surprises and it managed something quit difficult, to be sad and funny at the same time. Another element of the movie I really liked is the costume design. At times it felt like I was watching a glamorous Dior couture show in the outback. The costumes are not only a part of the story line but sometimes they even emphasise the comedy in the movie. I don't know if that makes any sense but if you watch the movie you'll maybe understand what I'm getting at.

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The Impeccable Palette

I was once watching a tv show listing the most visually beautiful films ever made. Though I questioned how they had come to the result they were presenting, I watched the show to the end out of pure curiosity. I have to admit I hadn't watched half of the classic movies on the list and I even disagreed with some of their choices. There was however one movie that I felt was rightfully at the higher end of the list, Zhang Yimou's Hero from 2002. I'm not going to reveal too much of the plot, I'll just say watch it! The use of colour in the film and the attention to detail in the set and costume design is just impeccable. I've seen this this many times over the years and each time I notice something new.

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Inspired by Murphy

Christmas is around the corner but I'm already thinking about next year's Flow festival. How's that for getting ahead of oneself?! The first world dilemma at hand is whether  to get the early bird ticket or not. I mean no artists have been announced yet, not that it's stopped me before. That got me thinking that I never published the images from this year's festival. I went on holiday soon after and didn't think about the images I had taken until a month after. But by then I was still going through travel memories from July. Yes, I really need to develop a better work process. Now, back to the festival. I saw a lot of marvellous performances but only one got me thinking about a possible career direction. The minute Róisín Murphy stepped on to the stage in her granny outfit, I knew this was going to be a performance I was not going to forget in long time. Murphy switched from one quirky outfit to another while singing effortlessly (her voice sounds even better live)  and showing off some creative dance moves. I'm very curious what those hairy pants are made of! As the costumes got wilder I started thinking how fun it would be to…

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Of Queens and Bonnets

I've always been fascinated with queens. Women in history who've been in power at times when women didn't have many rights. So every time there's a bio pic about female royals, I have to watch it. The Young Victoria has been favourite of mine since it came out and I've seen it quit many times now. The movie chronicles the first years of Queen Victoria's rule and her struggle to do right by all. I'd be lying if I didn't say that the costume design is one of the reasons I've seen it so many times. I think I'll be adding Sandy Powell to my list of costume designers whose work I need to explore. The movie is worth watching even if you're not interested in the costumes. The film is very well cast and Emily Blunt is brilliant as Victoria. One thing that struct me that I rarely pay attention to in other costume dramas was the hats and jewellery. There is some serious bling ( the screen shots below don't do the jewels justice) in this movie and at the end I found myself wondering if there's an event I could possibly get away with wearing a bonnet!

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Master of her craft

Fairy tales are constantly being reinterpreted on the big screen and costumes are an important part of conveying that other worldliness. That's why I'll watch the movies even though I've heard the story a million times before. With  Mirror Mirror I think the creators were trying to update the fairy tale with a few jokes and modern language.  As much as I love Julia Roberts and Lily Collins, the jokes didn't quit work for me. The costumes on the other hand were pure perfection. The sheer size of some of the dresses, the colours, the craftsmanship, I'm in awe! Too bad Eiko Ishioka , the film's costume designer didn't get an Oscar for her excellent work, she definitely earned it in my book.I think I'll watch more films that the late designer worked on and explore this tumblr dedicated to her work.

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Another Atwood masterpiece

After watching Show White and the Huntsman for probably the 4th time ( Charlize Theron is awesome in that movie) I've become a fan of Colleen Atwood, the film's costume designer.  I'm now getting familiar with her work and last week I watched  Alice in Wonderland again after I found out  she had  designed the costumes. I hadn't seen it since the exciting 3D experience in Turku a couple of years ago. I do remember being impressed by the costumes and set decoration (not to forget the Cheshire cat in 3D) when I originally saw it and I still feel the same way today. Even though a lot in the movie  is CGI, the craftsmanship on the costumes still stands out and for me costumes are an essential part of immersing myself into the world the story takes place in. I'm really looking forward to Atwoods's next film to hit the cinemas, Into the Woods. Besides the costumes and the singing, Merly Streep is in it! I can't wait!

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The best dressed evil queen

I love movies and tv-series with elaborate costumes. From those BBC adaptations of classic novels to the latest fantasy blockbuster, I'll watch them all. It's not unusual for me to choose to see a movie at the cinema just because of the costume design. I'm now seriously thinking about how to get into that industry. If anybody has any tips let me know! Snow White and the Huntsman is one movie with great costumes, especially Charlize Theron's character. As much as I keep rooting for Kristen Stewart's character, Theron's costumes are one of the reasons I've now seen this movie like 3 times. So Colleen Atwood did one hell of a job! I read somewhere that she's been nominated for an Oscar 9 times. I think I have to watch some of the other movies she's worked on.

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