15 Costume Designers Who Gave Us Subtle Hints Throughout Our Favorite Movies
Edith Head is the costume designer with the most wins (8) and nominations (35) in the entire history of the Oscars. Surely an inspiration for many in the business, costume designers nowadays seem to carefully go over the movie’s plots and the characters’ background before breathing life into their creations. Because of that, we get carefully detailed outfits that often give the viewers hints about what might happen ahead.
The fact that Tyler is a figment of the narrator’s imagination is hinted at by his wardrobe. His clothes stand in contrast to his surroundings and other characters, while the narrator’s wardrobe blends into the background. This way, the costume designers seem to emphasize that this character should not be here.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Smart internet users noticed that the pink wardrobe of Dolores Umbridge was pretty similar to the style of Queen Elizabeth. We don’t know whether costume designers did this intentionally but this detail perfectly unfolds the character of the woman. Despotic Umbridge feels like a true queen at Hogwarts because she can do whatever she wants.
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is a perfect example of how costumes can tell the stories of the characters. Cersei is not single in the first season, she is fully dependent on her husband and feels like a bird locked in a cage.
According to the costume designer, the embroidery reflected her true situation, “She is a beautiful woman with a hidden desire for power and a wish to be regarded as an equal in the male-dominated world she inhabits. At that stage, she lives in the shadow of her husband, King Robert Baratheon, who holds power over her and the kingdom.” Also, according to the designer’s idea, this bird is a reference to the twittering and scheming she is involved in behind the scenes.
Also, the costumes showed the connection between the characters. Let’s look closer at the women of the Tyrell house. Margaery’s outfits have a lot in common with her grandmother Olenna’s dresses. Even their belts are almost identical. It’s just that Olenna has more spikes and stems because she is the head of the family.
Back to the Future II
Attentive fans of the trilogy noticed that in Back to the Future 2, Doc’s shirt design foreshadows the events in the next film. It depicts 2 horses chasing a steam train, while in Back to the Future III we are shown the times of Wild West where Dr. Emmett and Marty are trying to hijack a train.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
In the baptism scene, Sophie wears a butterfly dress. In the flashback where we see Donna as a young woman, she is wearing a pendant with a large butterfly. This symbolizes the connection between mother and daughter and Donna’s free spirit, flying freely wherever it takes her.
The movie creators left a funny reference to the first movie — Jurassic Park. When Bryce Dallas Howard rolls up her sleeves and ties her shirt at the bottom to say “I’m ready,” she’s wearing it the same way Laura Dern did.
It was the famous Ellen Mirojnick, who dressed the characters of Basic Instinct, Maleficent, and many other movies, who was responsible for costumes in this series. She and her team created all the outfits from scratch and hid many symbolic aspects in them.
For example, before marriage, Daphne is mostly wearing powdery blue dresses that speak of her innocence. But when she becomes the duchess, her color palette becomes richer and duskier.
It was Marc Pilcher who was responsible for the hairstyles and makeup in Bridgeton. To create Daphne’s image, he got inspired by the cult Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn and her role in War and Peace, in particular. Elegance, simplicity, and cute curls on the forehead are the things that these 2 heroines have in common.
Quentin Tarantino’s character is wearing a T-shirt with a smiling globe. This is the logo of the Detroit magazine Orbit. Orbit was the first to interview Tarantino about his directorial career and put him on the cover. Perhaps this is how Quentin decided to show his gratitude to the publisher that did him great honor in the past.
Throughout the entire movie, the style of the main character, Veronica, changes as her personality evolves. The more mysteries about her husband she learns, the darker her wardrobe becomes.
Recently the costume designer shared in an interview that they intentionally dyed Max’s sweatshirt in the colors of Sanderson sisters — red, green, and lilac.
Promising Young Woman
Cassie is a girl who is in a deep depression because of the trauma she had to face. But she hides her emotions from others behind her clothing. Delicate girly outfits act as a façade that hides bitterness and a thirst for revenge.
According to the costume designer, Cassie is sending important signals to others through her outfits, saying: “I’m fine, I am careless and completely harmless.” In one of the episodes, the filmmakers even provided her with an impromptu halo to emphasize her innocence.
However, it’s the pendant of friendship, which she practically never removes, that indicates her real state of mind. She has a broken heart over what happened to her friend, but no one around her notices it.
Black Swan combines several elements to make sure the audience understands and even lives Nina’s life as close as possible. Clearly, the wardrobe is one of the most important ones. During an interview, costume designer Amy Westcott made it clear that Nina’s evolution can be understood solely by looking at the color palette of her outfits.
For example, at the beginning of the movie, when Nina still behaves innocently and childishly, the colors of her clothes are mostly pale and pink. But then, once she starts losing herself in the new role she lands and her relationships with the other characters become more turbulent, her costumes have darker shades. In the end, her clothes represent what she aspires to be: the black swan.
Bonus: Emily in Paris
The costume design consultant of this series was the legendary Patricia Field, who is best known for her work for Sex and the City. “For me, Emily in Paris in certain ways was an elongated version of Carrie in Sex and the City,” says Patricia Field. That is why there are so many similarities in the looks of the characters of both series. For example, both Sarah Jessica Parker’s character and Lily Collins’ character wear berets and look gorgeous in them.
In what movies or series have you noticed interesting details in the costumes of the characters?