Clothes as storytellers. That’s “the whole base” of her work, says Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan, who won the Academy Awards for her work in the period romance “A Room With A View” and again with the action-adventure “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Beavan, who recently designed costumes for Emma Stone and Emma Thompson in Disney’s âCruella,â said she was terrified at the start of every project, but it’s a fun job that always starts with the script.
” Clothes as clothes, that doesn’t interest me too much. Clothing as storytellers interests me a lot. It’s the whole base and that’s what I really like, “said the 70-year-old, whose career profile includes most of the ivory merchant films as well as a host of others, including “The Black Dahlia” by Brian De Palma, PTI said in an interview with Zoom from London.
Set in 1970s London in the midst of the punk rock revolution, his new film chronicles the rebellious beginnings of one of cinema’s most notorious and fashionable villains, Cruella de Vil. The film, broadcast on Disney + Hotstar, traces the character’s journey from childhood to iconic fashion designer. You should always start from the script and the director’s vision. In this case, the script was very clear on how Cruella (Stone) would develop and find his arc of clothes from a very small child, collecting stuff from his mother’s basket for, you know, kind of a big bad guy. , which obviously had the influence of the Baroness (Thompson) in terms of her cutting and learning skills, âsaid Beavan.
The story follows a young con artist named Estella (Emma Stone), a smart and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends two young thieves in the streets of London. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion caught the attention of fashion legend Baroness von Hellman (Thompson). Their relationship sets in motion a series of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become Cruella.
While filming the film, Beavan said she frequented Portobello Road every Friday to find things that inspired her. She also looked at the early designs of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren and their famous Kings Road boutique.
” I remember the ’70s a lot. I remember Vivienne Westwood and her little shop in Kings Road and Portobello Road where we always bought our vintage clothes, so I kind of knew where she would be sourcing from.
And I just followed the story of her (Estella), escaping in her school uniform, and then when the boys become successful pickpockets, they can afford clothes to give her disguises. It’s there for you if you’re open to it in the script, âshe said.
The process by which she creates a particular look for her characters is “a bit like playing cards,” Beavan said.
It’s in the fitting that you really find out where you’re going, and then once we adjusted, we would take pictures and juggle them much like playing cards to see how the look should develop for you. give that place where it starts and where it ends, âshe said.
Beavan is something of a legend in the costume design world, especially when it comes to period films and his work on the Merchant Ivory films, an enduring collaboration that began with an unpaid position on Indian drama. “Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie’s Pictures”. ‘(1978).
She then worked with James Ivory and Ismail Merchant on films such as ” The Europeans ”, ” Jane Austen in Manhattan ”, ” The Bostonians ”, ” A Room with a View ”, ” Maurice ”, ” Howards End ”, ” Les restes du jour ” and ” Jefferson Ã Paris ”.
His other major collaborations include ” Sense and Sensibility ” by Ang Lee, ” Jane Eyre ” by Franco Zeffirelli, ” Sherlock Holmes ” by Guy Ritchie and his sequel, ” The King’s Speech ” by Tom Hooper and “ by George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road ”.
Asked about her secret to staying relevant over the decades, Beavan said she didn’t know how it happened.
All I know is I now feel more confident about how to approach design. But I’m terrified at the start of a project, I have no idea what I’m doing. I have no idea what it should look like. But I know how to overcome this fear. You find pictures, you find things that start to develop, and then you can build on that process.
âI think I’ll stop conceiving when I stop being terrified because it wouldn’t be good at all. But it’s just a matter of knowing how to approach problems and how to handle them, and how to solve themâ¦ It’s one of the only things that gets better with age, âshe said.
Beavan said she mainly relied on archives and old magazines to research her appearance.
âI don’t see a lot of movies, mainly because it’s too long a day at work, and then you want to do something else. But also, I don’t really like to be influenced by movies, I prefer to draw my influences from books, archives, painting or whatever, âshe said.
Beavan had previously worked with Thompson in numerous films, notably on “Sense and Sensibility”, before embarking on “Cruella”. She considers her “absolutely wonderful and a good friend”. Stone, she added, worked brilliantly with the costumes and totally owned them.
âCruella,â directed by Craig Gillespie, also features Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Mark Strong.
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