shirt | Clothes on Film

  • MINOR SPOILERS For all the inevitable chrysalis transformation of singer Ally (Lady Gaga) during A Star is Born (2018, directed by Bradley Cooper), the most subtle, yet real sartorial reflection of character belongs to her mentor and lover Jack (Cooper). Costumed by Erin Benach (Drive, A Place Beyond the Pines), Jack is the epitome of the casual rock star. Stage wear, day wear, evening wear, drinking wear, sleeping wear – it’s all the same. His simple clothes mask a mind so damaged it can only be subdued with the bottle. Jack lives in t-shirts (plain, dark or neutral colours), untucked shirts (dark or a green graph-check), brown calf leather jacket,…

  • Filmmaker Nic Fforde discusses how he come to realise the importance of costume design in his projects. Stories in films are all familiar to us in some way, no matter how remote the setting. The hell that unfolds aboard the Nostromo in Alien, LA’s icy criminal underworld in Heat or Rope’s Ivy League dinner party – a good story well told will whisk you away to its own self–contained world. All the tools of filmmaking are there to help create these worlds. What part does costume play in all this? My day job is to make films for advertising. We work on low budgets with small documentary crews. Whatever our…

  • Locke (2013, costume design by Nigel Egerton) is a film unique in its restrictions – it takes place in real time, has only one character and only one setting. Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is driving somewhere important, and over the course of the film’s 85 minute running time, his life gradually begins to crumble around him as he desperately tries to salvage it. The controlled environment – the inside of his car – and the fact that the only character we actually see is Ivan himself means that interest in him is the only way of maintaining an audience’s attention with such limited visual stimulation. Ivan is the only character…

  • American Psycho (2000, costume designer Isis Mussenden) is a late 1980s set film that highlights the importance placed on external appearance and the disparity that can lie between this and the true nature of a person. The ‘Psycho’ of the title, Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) is outwardly flawless. He has an extreme and involved personal beauty regime, consisting of special shampoos, body washes, face masks and scrubs, complemented by a strict diet and exercise plan that he completes daily and without fail. He believes in looking after himself – or at least his external self. Beneath this perfectly glossy exterior is emptiness – a lack of humanity, of…

  • If you have played The Last of Us on Playstation 3 it has likely ruined video gaming for you. The world created is so vivid and believable that every game afterward just feels dated and empty. Throughout, The Last of Us is unwaveringly real, full of seemingly inconsequential details such as every weapon or object you carry being attached or able to fit into your character’s backpack. Contrast this with Grand Theft Auto V where a rocket launcher appears out of your trouser pocket and it’s clear that if game developers really want to create a living, breathing parallel to reality they need to treat it as reality – no…


  • Fabrics jump out of the screen in this trailer for 12 Years a Slave.

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  • World War Z neatly demonstrates the art of breaking down and distressing costume.

  • Joanna Johnston chats about her work on Lincoln and what we can we can expect from her latest project Jack the Giant Slayer.


  • The glossy costume world of gangster squad is faithful to history, but not a slave to it.

  • James Bond is back and he has never scrubbed up better. Tom Ford now exists to make Daniel Craig suits.


  • In a week of exciting trailers, the first for director Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby must surely be the most thrilling of all.

  • Betsy Heimann chats exclusively about one of the most iconic costumes of the 1990s.