9 posts tagged "Arianne Phillips"
Madonna kicked off the North American portion of her worldwide MDNA tour last night in Philadelphia and brings it to NYC next Thursday (September 6), just as fashion week gets under way. It’s fitting timing, given that her extravagant show might as well be a runway show in itself. Her longtime stylist and collaborator Arianne Phillips helped curate custom costumes by everyone from Alexander Wang to Jeremy Scott to Fausto Puglisi, totaling up to eight outfit changes per show (her dancers reportedly switch 10 to 15 times). And since Madge is never one to go light on shine, many of the costumes are decadently embellished with Swarovski Crystal elements (over 315,000 of them used on the tour). Here, get an exclusive backstage look at how the sparkle all happens.
“The other people in the exhibit, like Ed Harris, Todd Haynes, and Vittorio Storaro, these are heroes of mine and they are people who have informed my work. To think that I could even be considered in the same context as them is like winning ten Oscars, seriously,” says acclaimed costume designer Arianne Phillips, whose Oscar-nominated creations for Madonna’s film W.E. are included in the second series (out of three total) of the Persol Magnificent Obsessions: 30 Stories of Craftsmanship in Film exhibition at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, along with various notes, rare sketches, video interviews, and materials from films such as Amélie, Far From Heaven, The Last Emperor, and Million Dollar Baby. “It’s both awesome and daunting—it feels a bit like we aren’t in Kansas anymore,” she says of being included in the project. Modest as she might be, the frequent Madonna collaborator and two-time Oscar nominee has earned her spot in the museum next to the nine other filmmaker greats, like special effects guru Douglas Trumbull and composer Ennio Morricone. Binding the elite group together is a story highlighting the obsessive workmanship behind some of film’s most iconic moments. In the case of Phillips, it’s her deep obsession with the transformative power of costume. Before heading to the museum last night, where Persol hosted a party to unveil the exhibition and honor Phillips, Patricia Clarkson, and Todd Haynes, the costume designer talked with Style.com yesterday afternoon about the W.E. artifacts that are now on display, working on Madonna’s MDNA tour, and her own obsessions.
You created more than 60 different outfits just for Andrea Riseborough (who plays the legendary Wallis Simpson in the film). Tell me about some of the artifacts and materials from W.E. that made it into the exhibition.
Lucky for us, our director Madonna has an extensive archive of her own with a full-time archivist, so the costumes from the film are being preserved there. A lot of times when the film is over, you can’t even find them because the costumes are being used for promotional purposes, but we have the costumes in perfect condition. There is a day dress (blue and white silk) that is not based on any dress Wallis actually wore. That’s one of my favorite pieces, and there are a few dresses based on ones by Madeleine Vionnet, but there is also one of the Schiaparelli black and white crepe dresses, which is quite famous. Interestingly enough, one of the real ones is on display at the Met right now (for the Prada/Schiaparelli exhibit) and it’s the exact same one I looked at in the costume archives when I was researching for this film and made our version (pictured, above). We also worked with Cartier and re-created jewelry pieces based on pieces the Duke and Duchess owned. They are actually going to be destroyed once this exhibition is over because just like a great painting, they can’t have replicas sitting around. Trust me, Madonna and I have cried many times over this.
How closely did you work with the curator Michael Connor on selecting these pieces for the exhibit?
Michael came out to L.A. where I live, and when they first asked, I was really excited, especially for costume to be recognized in such a way. I am always looking to speak about costuming publicly because it’s an aspect of filmmaking that is not completely understood. He really went out of his way to make sure I was involved every step of the way. We went through all my archives, which were pretty fresh because we only had finished filming a year ago. I was about as involved as you could get in putting this together.
How do these pieces fit into this overarching concept of obsession in the exhibition?
In terms of magnificent obsession, I leave that up to Michael Connor and Persol. I am obsessive about details, I really am and I admit it. But also, I worked with a director, Madonna, who (I worked with her over 15 years) is magnificently obsessed with details and that’s very apparent in the film. I try to infuse those details into a costume to help the actor harness this character and help catapult the actor. Costumes really serve two purposes. Visually, they obviously form the character, and really enrich the viewer and help set a time and place. But also I believe it’s equally important for the actor. Costumes should be a way to catapult an actor into a time and place. Those visceral, tactile aspects are equally important, like how the dresses felt on Andrea and how the suits felt on James D’Arcy.
Specifically, what elements of costume design do you obsess over?
You are speaking my language. I obsess about perfection every step of the way. I always feel there is more that can be done. I do a lot of research and I try to diversify it as much as possible and this film really tapped into that. And I obsess about the organization of it. I am always very obsessive about my presentation, I do elaborate presentations to the director and this helps my process and filters what will be valuable in the design process. I am really big on accessories and color and silhouette. I really want to know cinematically how a costume will work visually. And, I am obsessive about how costumes fit an actor. I guess there is no limit to obsession, really. That is the problem with obsession, it’s a mind-set, it’s a hindrance and an advantage. You have to know when is enough. Sometimes your first inspiration is your best inspiration. For me, obsession means going to whatever length possible to get the job done.
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Derek Lam has reportedly left Tod’s. WWD reports this morning that Lam, who has served as the brand’s creative director since 2006, has departed the brand but could not be reached for comment. [WWD]
The staff at Kensington Palace got their new Jaeger-designed uniforms yesterday. The red blazers, trimmed with gold buttons and black lapels, are the first new uniform for palace staff in two decades. [Telegraph]
Footwear News unveiled a first glimpse of Madonna’s new footwear collection under the Truth or Dare label today. The pop star received a little help from her friend and stylist Arianne Phillips, who serves as the creative consultant for the collection of over 60 styles ($89 to $349), launching for Fall ’12. [WWD]
Who are the most important people in fashion? The Telegraph released its annual 25 Most Important People in Fashion list this weekend, and included are Karl Lagerfeld, Lulu Kennedy, Samantha Cameron, and Sarah Burton. [Vogue U.K.]
Since the recession, many designers have remained cautious, cutting back collections and limiting their reach. But Alexis Bittar, still enjoying his recent CFDA accolade, has only seemed to gain steam. In Los Angeles to toast not one but three store openings in the Golden State (two in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco), the designer mingled with a low-key crowd that was equal parts new, local fans and longtime devotees.
At his Abbot Kinney store—a converted beach bungalow with whitewashed floors—Bittar declared himself a fan of the thrumming neighborhood. “This Venice store has a similar feel in terms of content to my other stores, but Abbot Kinney has this amazing beachy vibe and you can just feel this cool undercurrent running through the area.” Even L.A.’s Third Street location seems to have caught on to Venice’s laid-back ethos. “It’s really surprised us. What’s selling on Third Street is more subdued than we had thought it would be. I guess we thought it would be more glitzy.” (This is L.A., after all.)
Fresh off the Victoria’s Secret runway, model Alessandra Ambrosio (above right) introduced herself to the designer, while stylist (and Tom Ford costume designer) Arianne Phillips and a host of L.A. socials sipped Alizé and perused the Fall collection (and a taxidermy hybrid wildebeest/zebra by artist Frank J. Zitz, decked out in AB bangles, below). Lauren Hutton (above left, with Bittar), who follows Joan Collins’ well-heeled footsteps in the line’s latest Jack Pierson-shot campaign, swung by to catch up with Bittar. The designer was all smiles when talk turned to Hutton. “I’ve known Jack for 20 years now and it was good to have such an artistic sensibility to the shots. And with Lauren, well, I just wanted [him] to really capture her and it turned out beautiful.”