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This is a hobo suit darling. You can’t be seen in this I won’t allow it behind every memorable character is a meticulously chosen wardrobe whether the costume is extremely flashy or completely blends in Costume design provides an amazing opportunity to give us insight into a character and the world around them because just like in the real world What you wear says a lot about you. _Mom always said there’s an awful lot You can tell about a person by their shoes I want to take a look at costume design as a tool for filmmakers to tell their story. In many of Cinema’s most important movies costume designers are the secret heroes, the people who are immerse us within a world Seamlessly and effectively without getting nearly the same recognition as actors or directors, so let’s get sketching -You push too hard, darling, but i accept The word costume invariably gets associated with Halloween Dress up and pretending to be somebody else, and sometimes that’s the function of clothing in a movie. -He’s gonna pick up my own clothes? But the majority of costume design operates on completely opposite principles. Their goal is to create authentic and realistic people on the screen. Not actors playing dress-up -Your costume is pretty -Oh, it’s not a costume I’m an elf Costume design is an added layer towards the immersive magic of film. Period clothing is meant to place you in the time period of the movie. Gone with the wind is famous for its Engaging costume design. While there is some 1930s flair in the hair style, the clothes still managed to immerse the audience in the Civil War Era and accurately reflect Scarlett’s fall from Grace. The way she designs her own clothing also serves as a nice metaphor for the need to literally and figuratively reconstruct herself after the war. At it’s best, costume design is a vital layer of world building And it works well in totally foreign places. When people talk about the original star wars they usually praise the plot Characters or special effects, but the costume design was also fantastic It combines what we’re used to seeing with the completely alien Princess Leia’s costume design is right in the middle of looking like she’s from a foreign planet and looking like royalty as we understand it. In all the designs, the robots, generals and soldiers their wardrobe is alien enough to transport us to an exciting and different world But familiar enough to keep us grounded in what we already understand immersive costuming is more difficult than you may think Edith had the winner of eight oscars for costume design and the inspiration for Edna mode, designed for many movies taking place in Present Day So she just dressed her characters in the style of her time Problem is by the time the movie was shot edited and released the style would change and the dresses became tacky so she had to Anticipate the future and make something look modern but not tied down to a specific trend And she was one of the first to address this issue that still shows up today Striking the balance between looking too dated or too generic So a movie made in the 70s might have generic costuming but a movie about the 70s embraces the Old-school style to bring about the nostalgia of a lost time It’s why eight-mile looks like it could have taken place at any time But rappers look ridiculous in their music videos that came out the same year. Fashion is not the primary thing, the primary effort in motion pictures is to tell a story The plain hoodie works as a blank slate Emphasizing Eminem’s quest to succeed purely on talent and nothing flashy while also focusing attention on his face Either way costuming is supposed to compliment the style of your film. Whether you’re going for realism or something more flashy Along with immersion many costume choices are to make characters stand out of their worlds. Willy wonka’s introduction takes place over 30 minutes into the Movie and the praise always goes to Gene Wilder’s amazing performance But it’s also an example of great costume design. While all the other characters dressed in clothing Stylized from the late 1800s or as cowboys and other caricatures Wonka’s wardrobe is a hybrid of the victorian jacket tail and buttoning of the 19th century but the collar and color Scheme all embody the style of the 1970s so we get a character who visually stands out as both out of his world and ahead of his time The costuming in the remake emphasizes The out-Of-this-World part, but it has no grip in reality So it makes him seem more like a cartoon caricature than an out-of-touch visionary Bonnie & Clyde takes place in the 1930s But their style wardrobe and obsession with the media put them right into the 1960s. It helps make them appear anti-establishment Much like the young people in the real world during the making of this film in 1967 Michael Corleone Wears his military uniform to stand out amongst the classy gangster suits But as he gets sucked into the life his clothing makes the appropriate transition For gangsters, wardrobe indicates a transition into the Mafia This example of costume design actually does play into the initial concept of wearing a costume. The gangster gets new attire To try to fit into high society, but no matter what they stand out as gangsters In many movies, you can tell they aren’t really high society. They’re just playing dress-up Look at my shoes, aren’t they great? My god! You look like a gangster! Like other gangsters, Walter white plays dress up to help him feel like a gangster, but eventually he becomes the gangster He was only imitating before Costumes give us insight into the character wearing it luke Skywalker’s wardrobe has the visual aesthetic of martial Arts gear, implying he’s undergoing training Obi-Wan Kenobi is dressed like a monk because he’s doing the teaching. in the force awakens the roles have reversed and so have the costume choices new teacher, new student the shoes in the opening of strangers on a train Tell us which character is more well-off and which character is more of an everyman It may just be me, but the black and white shoes look somewhat menacing. They really stand out in the frame by being so bright and flashy Tyler Durden’s costume design in Fight Club always contrasts the color palette of the setting and other characters almost like he isn’t supposed to be there in the first place Along with actor personality and direction, color scheme and costume design is an impressive and effective way to make a character stand out or blend in in In 500 days of Summer the opening title sequence Establishes the wardrobe color for the two characters brown for Tom and blue for summer. Throughout the movie the coloring shifts around them when summer Enters Tom’s world the setting is colored brown while summer’s world is blue. The dance sequence has all the actors dressed in blue to represent Tom thinking about summer. Costume coloring gives us mental cues as to how the story is progressing, and by the end of the movie we Realize their colors don’t mix and they part ways movies become classics when all the production elements come together to make something great and that includes costuming. So when you look back at your Favorite characters think about what they’re wearing, and of course remember the most important rule of costume design NO CAPES Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Costume Design: The Hidden Layer of Movie Magic

  1. My girlfriend is a costume designer and she can sometimes tell by the costume what kind of character the actor will play, where they will go and so on. As a photographer I take these cues from framing most of the time yet by having someone around that makes you aware of how clothing tells stories in fiction you can sometimes read people in real life out of the sheer fact that we watch the same movies and therefor often find inspiration in familiar characters. Once I got this down my portrait photography reached a whole new level and I respected costume design so much more.

  2. Costume design is also a great way of storytelling. For example, in Lord of the rings during the films, their costumes look less and less new and clean. The actor for Aragon actually weathered his costume himself, he wanted it to look like a ranger had worn it for years and have mended it over and over while in the wilderness. Also, the film Snow White and the huntsman is a fantastic example of story telling through costume design because you can see the Queen's decent into madness through her costumes.

  3. Although I love your videos, I sometimes get the sense that you read too much into some choices that are a logical and natural consequence of the plot, and you analyze them as an artistic choice. For example, when talking about characters that get into the circles of gangsters and their change in costume symbolizes their change in character, I think maybe it's more possible that they are just suddenly rich and want to buy better stuff… Idk… just my thought. I see it in other videos as well, and I do it myself, because it is a lot more fun to analyze films like that… Anyway, just a thought. Keep doing what you do best 🙂

  4. Part of what's great about Star Wars and what makes it feel so familiar is that the original trilogy was done on basically a shoestring budget. Most of the blasters are real guns that have been dressed up (Han's famous Blastech DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol is a modified Mauser), and Luke's clothes in episode four are just a martial arts gi with a utility belt and boots. They're all things that we're familiar with already. Its the same reason that Baze Malbus's behemoth blaster and body armor seem so out of place.

  5. I feel like every movie critic misses something (each one a different thing) about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    Willy Wonka ISN'T supposed to seem ahead of his time in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He's supposed to be a brilliant but troubled mad, and his costume represents that perfectly. He represents someone who has completely detached himself from reality, which, in the movie, he has exactly done.

    Everyone measures Charlie and the Chocolate Factory against the Gene Wilder movie, when in fact, it's a completely different interpretation of the source material. It's a movie about Willy Wonka discovering himself through Charlie, not the other way around.

  6. Holy crap! I've watched 500 days countless times and I had always noticed summer's blue, but I had never paid attention to Tom's brown. Cool stuff.

  7. One rule (written or unwritten) of anime design is how a character design is recognizable from its silhouette. So it seems costume design is important wherever you go.

  8. I'm going to have to disagree with the "no capes" line. Back as far as humans had heroes, they wore cloaks to signify status as a traveler, but in the tale of Heracles, he wears the nemean lion skin as a cape. Not only as a symbol of having conquered the animal and taking its strength, but also in wearing it as a cloak. This shows up constantly, though the modern trend of clothing doesn't play into full length drapery, it still persists. Obvious examples are in Watch_dog's protagonist Auden Pearce wearing a trench coat that acts as a cape when running through Chicago. Same goes for the scarf worn by the racketeer. It's small, but modern enough and flowing out the back to give just a small hint at the form of a cape. It is a staple of heroes.

  9. The costumes for the students at Shiz in Wicked the musical were based mostly on what the costume designers thought the students would think like. For example, Galinda's school outfit was made with very light colors to represent her head in the clouds, but Elphaba's costume had very dark colors to represent that she was grounded. Other students were able to mix and match their outfits so they ended up with things that didn't match and even two jackets sewn together to make one. I just thought it was very interesting.

  10. You could do a video talking about how to predict that a certain character is gonna die (like the hints throughout the movie)

  11. 5:00 he's also walking from right to left. That might be helping in the "menacing feeling"

  12. i hope you make a part 2! costume design/ sfx makeup/props are really the artist that need to be recognized… and we remember characters because of their outfits

  13. My favourite character, Patrick Jane from the Mentalist wears a Navy blue thin notch lapel single breasted 3 piece suit with a subtle plaid pattern. The colour navy blue is creates a peaceful and calming effect on the people he interact with, while the thin notch lapel is comparatively less aggressive than its counterpart, the wide peak lapel. Combined with the subtle pattern and conservative cutting, it tells me that the Mentalist is a man who would rather let the quality of the clothing speak for himself, and is very confident and self assure, hence has no need to wear flashy clothes to brag and assure his status. However, the subtle plaid also means he has a flamboyant personality under control. And finally, his taste in clothing is simular to that of people.

  14. your videos aways end suddenly , when it is getting interesting, i was waiting for more details about django clothes

  15. Weird that fashion is what got me into film, specifically fight club. Really enjoyed this video. Really really enjoy your work

  16. I love this so much! I’m going to school to be a costume designer and Gone With the Wind is one of my biggest inspirations.

  17. Another example is in Scott pilgrim every character has natural hair but Ramona and Knives which makes them pop so you can see them easier than other characters

  18. Thank you for the shout out to costume people! Most people have a close connection to their clothes and how they present themselves to the world. This translates directly to characters in a movie. I've done some acting, and I can solidly say costumes makes ALL the difference in defining a character. Then there's using the costumes to convey themes from a director's standpoint. I'm not a designer, but I love being in the room with actors when they put on their costume for the first time. They just transform before your eyes.
    This showed up in my recommended so I realize this video is older, but I still appreciate it.

  19. Willy Wonka's costume reminds me so much of the third Doctor Who's costume. It makes sense with them both being "out of this world"

  20. But clothes used to be colourful so when you're trying to make a historical setting but want to make it gritty too, that's a problem.

  21. Maybe I'm just a dumbo, but I think I'd like it if you slowed your videos down. A moment of reflection is a nice thing to have. I often find myself rewinding because I'll lose myself in a thought about what you just said.

  22. Eminem's 'costume' was how rappers dressed in the mid-90s when the movie took place because it was a period piece. Around the time the movie came out he was wearing 'flashy' clothes like the rappers of his time.

  23. Great video, but you should've brought up The Lord of the Rings series. In the appendices, you get to see the sometimes literal blood, sweat, and tears, that go into costume design.

  24. I'm surprised this video didn't discuss Indiana Jones, especially given the way the movie incorporates Indy's outfit into scenes i.e. snatching his iconic fedora from underneath the closing door, him grabbing at his holster to find his pistol missing in the reference to his 1st movie duel, and the usage of enemy clothes to sneak around behind enemy lines.

  25. This was a super good video and made me think deeper about a lot of movies I know. Another interesting one when it comes to costume design is Baby Driver. They all have very specific colour scheme and the style of the outfit also adds to the character sometimes

  26. Just watched "If Beale Street Could Talk" and loved how the costumes contrasted the colorful backgrounds but also provided important context to characters, time period, and class. Great video!

  27. I know the Star Wars prequels are controversial but padmes costumes and character design are absolutely gorgeous. They really have that mix of old English royalty and eastern cultures, while also being something completely futuristic and different from anything else’s we’ve seen.

  28. Now you see me too is a good example of this. The characters outfits don't particular stand out but they're definitely different to each other and reflective somewhat of the character's personalities.

  29. to me the costume design in rent (especially the original off broadway production) is stunning bc the costume designer bought the clothes as they were mostly in second hand stores that were popular with bohemians or had a great number of bohemian clothing

  30. Thank you for bringing up the subject of Immersive Costume Design. Speaking as a costume designer, most of the time, we've done our job well if our choices do NOT stand out as "costumes". The whole point is to immerse the audience in the world we are creating as part of a team with the director, the cinematographer, and the production designer. If an audience member stops in the the middle of the story to think, "Hey, I really love that costume", that's a failure. Even fantasy needs to be grounded in some reality to be immersive – thanks for mentioning "the rules as we understand them". This is the reason that the movies I love for their design are often different than the ones my friends love. Example, I don't like Wes Anderson movies because the production design pulls too much focus and by comparison, the characters seem underdeveloped, surface level, the production and costume design are distracting. But I do love many of the other examples you mentioned.

  31. Fantastic video. One thing I enjoy is that with a period film, you can ALWAYS tell the decade it was made because the elements that are popular during that decade get integrated in details into the period clothes. I think this might also be attributable to the limits of materials, such that movies from the 30s to the 80s had more limited options for materials and sets, so are more "stagey" whereas current films have a higher realism (you can see this in any movies made in the 50s and remade in the current day). That being said, we'll still likely look at back at movies made today and think, woa, that was so '10s. 🙂

  32. 3:37 whoever decided this was a good idea, i hate you. the original will forever be the better movie unless someone can reencarnate gene wilder

  33. I will never forget a time when I was so mad. It was a few years ago during the Oscar's. They were naming off nominee's for costumes. I was 100% sure that the live action remake of Cinderella was gonna win, the costumes of that movie were gorgeous and vibrant. But…wait….what….

    Madmax. That was what won. I was so disappointed

  34. That part about Tyler Durden not matching his setting as if he was never supposed to be there, that’s what got me.

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