Monday, December 28, 2009

Cinema Style Moments of 2009

As the holiday comes to a close with visions of red carpets dancing in our heads and the assembling of the ubiquitous year-end top ten film lists, I thought it would be a good time to look at some of the best style moments on film:

Best Sixties Homage: Nine

Nothing is more iconic than Italian Cinema in the sixties. From Kate Hudson's fishnet stockings, go-go boots and minidress to sleek little Italian sportscars, Nine captures the mood, the fashions and la dolce vita. While I am not sure why the critics were so harsh-- after all it's a musical not brain surgery - I loved it.

Best Costume, Period Drama (tie):
Cheri and The Young Victoria

Nothing says Oscar contender in the Best Costume Award department quite like a period film a.k.a. costume drama. Consolatta Boyle designed the costumes for Cheri, Collette's tale of a retired courtesan (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) who falls for a young man named Cheri. Set during the time of the Belle Epoque, it must have been a designer's dream.

Sandy Powell (who won Oscars for her work on
Shakespeare in Love and The Aviator) created the research and labor intensive gowns for a young Queen Victoria. And it must have been worth it -- apparently the costumes were insured for 10,000 pounds each.

Best Glam: Nicole Kidman in Nine

Nicole Kidman is total movie star glamorous as the muse and obsession of director Guido Contini in Nine. Starring as Italian film actress and icon Claudia, she is stunning in a nude colored strapless retro-glam gown by designer Colleen Atwood.

Best Interior Design: It's Complicated

Production designer Jon Hutman once again creates his design magic with Nancy Meyers in what will be another much copied, discussed, blogged and envied set among the design world. Together (along with set decorator Beth Rubino) they created a "sophisticated casual elegance" in idyllic Santa Barbara for Streep's character Jane.

Best Bride Movie: Bride Wars

While the movie wasn't exactly up to par, the bridal gowns were wonderful. With the exception of Father of the Bride (both original and parts one and two), why can't Hollywood continue to make a good matrimonial movie?

Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson as dueling brides

Best Period Design: A Single Man

Who better to design a sixties period piece than Mad Men's Dan Bishop (production designer) and Amy Wells (set decorator)? From the main character George's Neura styled glass house to the sixties circular sofa, one feels they stepped into a time machine.

Best Product Placements: Confessions of a Shopaholic

Prada, Yves St. Laurent and Burberry take center stage in this cut-your-cards-up-or-else cautionary tale. Below our heroine takes in a spree Carrie Bradshaw style at New York's Henri Bendel.

Best Cinema Cuisine: Julie & Julia

Hard to imagine food preparation competing with Meryl Streep's magnificent channelling of uber-cook Julia Childs, but it happens in the blog-turned-best-seller- turned film. I think one could watch Streep read a cereal box and it would be interesting.

Best Fashion Documentary and the Use of the Color Red: Valentino, The Last Emperor

Filmmaker and director Matt Tyrnauer set the documentary bar rainbow high (with poetic license to Evita!) with his profile of the legendary designer Valentino. From the behind the scenes machinations of the fashion process to his collection of pugs contently flying in a private jet, the film is a fascinating look at a man who created one of the largest fashion empires in the world.

Best Movie Poster and Tag Line: The September Issue

I think the tagline says it all -- "Fashion is a Religion. This is the Bible."
Best Gardens (tie): The Young Victoria, Cheri and It's Complicated Hard to imagine an English period film without the requisite topiary garden. The designers of It's Complicated built a working organic garden for Streep's character (which was later donated to a local school).

Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria
Many of the film's interior scenes were shot at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire.

Meryl Streep in It's Complicated

... and with Alec Baldwin

Cheri with Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates

Best Period Interior Design: Cheri

Actually there were many contenders as designing the historic period interior is a difficult task -- but the lavish and colorful setting by production designer Alan MacDonald held my interest. (Sherlock Holmes, The Young Victoria, Amelia, etc. were equally and visually as interesting in their own way). The art noveau Paris mansion is filled with strong colors, leopard, luxurious silks -- all that would be expected in a Stephen Frears (of Dangerous Liaisons fame) film.


Photo Credits: Weinstein Company, Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Acolyte Films, GK Films, Miramax, Twentieth Century Fox, Touchstone Pictures and A and E Indie Pictures.


  1. Wonderful roundup! That art nouveau mansion in Cheri is to die for - the balcony and headboard are masterpieces!

  2. Thanks Linda. Not many I know saw this gem of a film. Happy New Year!

  3. Great choices! I love films with lavish costumes.

    Happy New Year!

  4. I agree and think period films would be the best ones to work on!