Thursday, 4 February 2016
I am going to put this project to sleep now. It's the end of the year and a good time to stop.
Working in costume has made me fairly faddish.
I am fully trained to be able to throw all of my energies into a project and then finish it up and move on to new things.
This suits my personality and I should have closed this project down in the same way. I neglected to call it a day when my interest in its possibilities faded.
Thank You for all of the correspondence, shared information and inspiration, I have thoroughly enjoyed my venture into blogging.
I get lots of requests for advice from students and recent graduates so I'll work on a final post as an answer to these FAQs, hopefully a shortcut so no one needs to wait an age for me to answer by email.
I'll post it soon.
Sunday, 10 May 2015
Patricia Norris, possibly my all-time favourite costume designer, died earlier this year. The only person to receive a lifetime achievement award from both The Costume Designers Guild and The Art Directors Guild, she worked on some great films, designing costumes which I go back to again and again, films such as Days of Heaven and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Her contribution to Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart influenced all of us in the costume department at Wimbledon School of Art in 1990.
Incredibly still designing for both departments in her late seventies on Killing Them Softly and being Oscar nominated for 12 Years a Slave in 2014 at the age of 82, she must have had phenomenal energy and determination. Sometimes I feel too old to keep this up and yet I've barely got started in comparison.
So I knew she was an amazing woman who had achieved difficult things in a different time, but then I read this in the LA Times:
In 1965 she got a job as a stock girl in MGM's costume department to provide for her children she was raising as a single mother. Working her way up, she earned her first credit as a costume designer on the James Garner western "Support Your Local Gunfighter." (1971).
Not only a single parent but a single parent to five children.
I tried to track her down when I was in LA last year as I was keen to meet her to discuss her work and experience, but she was living in the mountains at the time, nowhere near where I was, so no chance to meet in my tightest of schedules. Shame, it would have been so interesting to hear her take on it all.
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Monday, 4 May 2015
Betsey Potter, owner of The Costume House LLC, and my costume companion around LA last year, has a fantastic collection of travelling salesmen's catalogues from the 1880's through to the 1930's. They are substantial tomes, like old parish bibles, so evocative of the period. It's great to handle the cloths, so many options and such good, heavy, dense quality, particularly the coatings. We make nothing like it now and it only makes me think again about how pointless it can be to try too hard to recreate authentic early clothing for costume. Better to enjoy the effort of a creative response to a period.
There's an interesting essay on the subject here.
Sunday, 3 May 2015
Saturday, 7 February 2015
I love this woman's costume. We dressed her for featured-background work on Bel Ami, she was dressed head to toe in original stock.
The hat is detailed here and comes from Aram in Paris, the two piece, bodice and skirt, is from Angels Costumes in London. The bodice is tiny, I saw it when I was in Angels last week and it reminded me of this picture. Often the surviving clothes we use are difficult sizes for us to fit onto people, this naturally controls how often they are used and extends their life.
It's always interesting to see real clothes worn as they would have been worn.
A perfect fit and still earning their keep 125 years later.
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
United American Costume Co. made me feel very welcome.
Anyway ... these shoes ... I feel sure now that these are the bulldog toes I blogged about last year.?
Their collection is steeped in the history of old western films and has a very personal, family feel. Loads of great items, some of which I hope to find time to share the details of on Instagram.
I wish we made westerns in Europe more often, I was surrounded by clothes I would love the opportunity to use. Who knows, maybe there will be a spaghetti western revival and we'll all be off to Spain.