With Dior Creative Director, Raf Simons, set to costume the latest Luca Guadagnino feature Body Art (an adaptation of the 2001 novel The Body Artist by Don DeLillo), we are once again reminded of the longstanding relationship between fashion and film. Collaborations with couturiers have around for decades, with some of the most memorable involving Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 classic Funny Face and the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Although this trend has continued unabated since, a recent upsurge in collaborations, from the likes of Miuccia Prada’s work with Baz Luhrmann to Rodarte’s talent in Black Swan, proves that it’s still very much on-trend. To commemorate these collaborations’ resulting beauty, we take a look at five of the best partnerships over the past few decades.
Miuccia Prada and Brooks Brothers for The Great Gatsby (2013)
It’s no easy feat for a film to evoke proper feelings of the Roaring Twenties – often thoughts of gangster-and-moll-themed parties come to mind – but not here. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby was a visual delight, unsurprising when you look at his previous work in Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!
The costumes, designed by Luhrmann’s wife Catherine Martin, who consulted Miuccia Prada and Brooks Brothers for archival references to suits and dresses, brought to life the extravagant world that Fitzgerald created many years ago. Aside from sticking to the authenticity of the ’20s, the costumes connect the audience to the film – you feel involved in this scintillating and extraordinary world.
One of the most iconic pieces, Gatsby’s pink suit, inspired by a pink seersucker suit from the Brooks Brothers’ archives, tells an integral part of the story, it speaks perfectly to the romanticism and gentleman-like traits of his character. In the same way the 1974 version takes a ’70s approach to 1920’s style, Martin, Prada and Brooks Brothers successfully created a view of the ’20s within the framework of a 2013 mindset. It’s no wonder this modern interpretation inspired countless Halloween costumes nearly a century later.
Giorgio Armani for American Gigolo (1980)
Although Giorgio Armani didn’t have sole responsibility for the costumes in American Gigolo, his suits worn by Richard Gere helped to not only define his character, but also foreshadowed a desire for Italian suit tailoring among the yuppie crowd in the 1980s. The reinvented suit Armani displayed in American Giglo, with lightweight, floppy silhouettes in new fabrics and colors, defined the decade and established the Armani brand in the U.S. and abroad. The film and accompanying costumes were not just important then, they’re still today one of the most memorable. It may have been released well over 30 years ago but its ubiquitous style remains a benchmark in history for all well-dressed men.
Jean-Paul Gaultier for The Fifth Element (1997)
More often than not, sci-fi films overlook costume in favor of set and visual effects – that was until haute-couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier designed 954 costumes for Luc Besson’s 1997 cult film. Included in his warehouse of work are the the flight attendants’ lilac uniforms, Chris Tucker’s leopard body suit and Milla Jovovich’s infamous white bandage ensemble. In this color-saturated futuristic version of New York, the clothes had to level this, and what better than the vivacious imagination of Gaultier. His S&M style is predominant throughout, even down to the McDonalds cashiers and their tactically positioned arches. His extravagant military, bondage-inspired garb and bespoke details, which are clearly inspired by his own collections, are what complete the comic-book look, making this one of the best collaborations with fashion and film to date, and one that is sure to stand the test of time.
Rodarte for Black Swan (2010)
Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan was no stranger to controversy when it was released in 2010 thanks to its graphic scenes and dark sexual frisson. Less, however, was made of its grandeur. The beautifully twisted and dramatic costumes made up of regal ball gowns and embellished tutus made what otherwise might have been solely a dark film beautiful. The pair behind several of these costumes was design sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte. With their love of clothing stemming from films combined with their already appropriate aesthetic, combinations of ethereal romance and horror-film inspired looks, this pyscho-sexual horror set in the ballet world couldn’t have been a better fit. The intense pressure to complete the costumes assigned to them, while preparing for their fall/winter collection, appeared to work in their favor.
Jil Sander and Fendi for I Am Love (2009)
I Am Love tells the story of a bourgeoisie family in Milan and who better to call on for the costumes than Raf Simons for Jil Sander and Silvia Venturini Fendi (who also co-produced the film)? Simons designed all of Tilda Swinton’s outfits, while Fendi created beautiful tailor-made outfits for each actor and provided the furs for one of the female roles. Swinton, whose character is that of a wealthy woman in a family who works in the fashion business, is seen throughout the film in some of the classically minimalist looks that are undoubtedly the work of Simons. The stunning pieces he created in collaboration with Swinton show a relationship between actress and designer that is similar to that of Givenchy and Hepburn. The visually beautiful setting of the film combined with the impressive designs created by two iconic fashion houses are what make this collaboration so amazingly sophisticated.
Holly Ladd for Highsnobiety.com