Fantasy Costume Designers for 2020's Upcoming Films

by Sarah Kathryn Cleaver on 10 March 2020

Take note Hollywood, we’ve matched this year’s most anticipated films to fashion’s brightest and best.

Take note Hollywood, we’ve matched this year’s most anticipated films to fashion’s brightest and best.

This year, partly driven by multiple resolutions to read more and partly in anticipation of the upcoming Yorgos Lanthimos adaptation, we’ve been passing a battered copy of My Year of Rest and Relaxation around the office.

‘Who do you think will be doing costumes? Because WE NEED TO INTERVIEW THEM!’ a colleague Slacks me, continuing: ‘Maybe some culty NY figure... who'd find the perfect trash bag rich girl Olsen twin stuff.'

‘...THE OLSENS?’ I reply, beginning a game of Fantasy Costume Designers that lasts for weeks. Take note Hollywood, we’ve matched this year’s most anticipated films to fashion’s brightest and best.

Rejina Pyo for The Souvenir Part II

The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg’s first film since 2013’s Exhibition, seemed to come out of the blue but was quickly received as a quiet, confident masterpiece. With its autobiographical, unflinching story of a doomed love affair, it was at times an uncomfortable watch, almost harrowing for some (me). Personally, I haven't been this apprehensive about a sequel since The Human Centipede 2, but I’d feel braver about watching it if main character Julie were clothed in Rejina Pyo power outfits. The Souvenir was set in middle class, early eighties London, an aesthetic rarely explored on film, but Hogg was anxious to hold out against nostalgia. ‘I’m not interested in something past; something past is not alive anymore. I want something alive, in the moment’ she said of her approach to committing her memories onto film in a 2019 interview. Her approach mirrors Pyo’s, who looks to past decades but designs for the now. In the first film, Julie's clothes went from hovering between infantile and mumsy–costume designer Grace Snell imagined that mother and daughter (played by real life mother and daughter Tilda Swinton and Honor Swinton-Byrne) shared clothes–to bespoke suits and dresses chosen by her older boyfriend. The sequel will be set in the late eighties, during what is hopefully a happier, confident and more fun-filled time in Julie's life. One can imagine her expressive her burgeoning creativity in a selection of relaxed suits and eccentric party outfits from Pyo's A/W 20 collection.

Regina Pyo A/W 20 + still from The Souvenir (2019)

Miu Miu for Kajillionaire

When it comes to Miranda July, only one brand springs to mind thanks to her wildly idiosyncratic short Somebody, created for Miu Miu's Women's Tales series. The artist and filmmaker's new feature premiered at Sundance to rave reviews at the beginning of this year. Entitled Kajillionaire, it tells the story of a couple of con artists who have raised their introverted daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) with little affection, co-existing as colleagues rather than a family. When outgoing Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) joins the gang, Old Dolio's world begins to open up. In the one and only teaser image that has been released from the film so far, Wood wears a slouchy track jacket that threw my mind back to Miu Miu's normcore nylon puffers of A/W 14. A coming-of-age tale of stolen and regained youth, Kajillionaire would be perfectly costumed by the youthful, idiosyncratic little sister counterpart to Prada.

Miu Miu A/W 14 + still from Kajillionaire (2020)

Rodarte for Shirley

A fictionalised biopic of the mistress of misanthropic horror Shirley Jackson, directed by Josephine Decker and starring Elizabeth Moss? This is going to be a good one! Decker's psychodramas need no eye-catching costume to enhance the delirium; their unnerving tension is achieved by the director's signature style, at once naturalistic and dizzyingly experimental. But just for fun, let's imagine the film's female characters decked out in creepy creations by Kate and Laura Mulleavy. Just like We Have Always Lived in the Castle's Merricat and Constance, the Mulleavy sisters live together; just like Jackson herself they are thrilled by the ghoulish; and just like hers, their women are ethereal, spooky and surprising. Pick any Rodarte collection, entirely at random, and you can find in the line-up a look that would fit any deceptively dangerous heroine in one of Jackson's horror stories. A seen-better-days gown for their unfortunate realities, and something fit for their fantasies too; as Merricat dreams in We Have Always Lived in the Castle, 'On the moon we wore feathers in our hair, and rubies on our hands. On the moon we had gold spoons.'

Rodarte S/S 19 + still from Shirley (2020)

Reese Cooper for Candyman

Jordan Peele's characters are always appropriately dressed. 'Do you have your cosy clothes?' Allison Williams asks Daniel Kaluuya at the beginning of Get Out (2017), setting the tone for the normcore, yet subtly symbolic clothing choices in his work. The upcoming remake of Candyman is a screenplay collaboration between Peele and Nia DaCosta, with Peele producing and DaCosta directing. DaCosta, known for her breakout first feature Little Woods (2018), an empathetic story of two sisters surviving under the poverty line in North Dakota, also favours realism over fantasy, so it's fair to expect that Candyman's characters will be comfortable and equipped with everything they'll need to survive a horror film. They'd be in safe hands with up-and-comer Reese Cooper, who has the practicality to include utility belts, waterproof fabrics and cross-body bags presumably filled with torches, first-aid kits and holy water.

Reese Cooper A/W 20 + still from Candyman (1992)

Simone Rocha for Rebecca

The second of four remakes in our list, it's almost as if we're running out of new stories to tell. Nonetheless, if anyone should tackle Hitchcock's gothic horror, it's Ben Wheatley, creator of a succession of truly original British horror films from Kill List (2011) to A Field in England (2013). Wheatley is sure to deliver a tense, perhaps even trippy take on Daphne du Maurier's story, but just imagine the cherry on top that a Simone Rocha-clad Mrs Danvers (complete with brogues) could be. Rebecca is essentially a story about the relationships between women, and the chasm of competition and projection that can separate us. In Rocha's offering, which suits young and older women alike, there's a piece to adorn each character, and bring out the complexities within each woman. 'What makes it fresh and interesting is giving it a toughness', she said of her deceptively feminine aesthetic in a 2012 In Fashion interview.

Simone Rocha S/S 20 + still from Rebecca (1940)

Nicolas Ghesquière's Louis Vuitton for Dune

Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve is the latest to tackle the un-film-able Dune. The Scottish play of cinema, David Lynch called his own adaptation his ‘big failure’, and there’s an entire documentary about how Jodorowsky didn’t even get to make his. In a very 2020 move, Villeneuve will be directing both the Dune film and the spin-off TV series Dune: The Sisterhood (a prequel to the film featuring a mysterious all-woman order, called the Bene Gesserit). It would be impossible to give this one to anyone but Nicolas Ghesquière, who deserves it because he's a huge cult cinema geek and actually referenced the 1984 Dune in the set design for his S/S 15 Louis Vuitton show. Sci-fi aesthetics traditionally strike an uncanny balance between the historic and futuristic, which is essentially what Ghesquière achieves at Louis Vuitton each season–SHOWstudio Fashion Editor Georgina Evans calls that familiar but new effect 'fashion inception'. Plus, how divine would confirmed cast member Timothée Chalamet look in an A/W 19 jumpsuit?

Louis Vuitton A/W 19 + teaser still from Dune (2020)

Marc Jacobs for The Witches

Nineties kids might balk at the idea of a remake of the beloved, genuinely frightening children's film, but take heart, it's directed by Robert Zemeckis of cult camp classic Death Becomes Her fame. It's co-signed by Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro as producers, and stars Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer as the Grand High Witch and Grandmother respectively. It's also set in sixties Alabama, which is great both in terms of the potential for a new layer of social commentary, and because we can pair it with Marc Jacobs' gorgeous A/W 20 collection, a minimal, messy take on the Jackie O aesthetic. Jacobs' models, walking in twos and threes, looked like a coven out on the town at the height of the sexual revolution, and the spasmodic performance artists and string soundtrack only added to the overall vibe of a very sophisticated black mass. If Zemeckis' witches are even half as well dressed, they'll be in with a chance of rivalling the original Grand High Witch, the great Angelica Huston.

Marc Jacobs A/W 20 + still from The Witches (2020)



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