Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

Talking With Colleen Atwood, Costume Legend

Frocktalk reporters Hannah Greene, Kim Ngo, and Alice in Wonderland costume designer Colleen Atwood

Frocktalk reporters Hannah Greene, Kim Ngo, and Alice in Wonderland costume designer Colleen Atwood

Frocktalk reporter Kim Ngo can live the rest of her life a fulfilled woman after talking with Colleen Atwood at the 19th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design opening night gala at FIDM last weekend.  Hear what the Academy Award winner had to say after the jump!

Colleen Atwood Costume Designer of Alice in Wonderland

FT: First of all congratulations, again! I’m a big fan of yours and wondering how long have you been working with Tim Burton at least since Edward Scissorhands?

CA: I met him when I interviewed for Edward Scissorhands, we’ve collaborated on and off, I’ve missed a couple of his moments when he did Batman and Charlie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2005) for personal reasons. It’s been a great ride and a collaboration, I’m very lucky to be able to work with Tim.

FT: What’s your drive to do costume design?

CA: It’s my life. It’s my life besides my family. I love it and I continue to love it, I’ve been doing it for a long time now and it’s still new every time and that’s what makes it rewarding and fun.

FT: What film did you feel gave you that break?

CA: In the beginning when you’re struggling to get jobs, every film you do feels like a break. It really does. And it really is, so you get a break to do all these different things and suddenly you get a break when you’re doing Edward Scissorhands and you’re like, “wow this is so awesome, how did I get here, how did this happen to me” and you hold it, you take it. You realize that’s the type of movie that you’ve always wanted to make even though you’ve had a great time making other ones. I’ve felt the same a lot in my life, for instance when I did Chicago with Rob Marshall. I’ve always wanted to do a musical but I had no theatrical training so I was never able to do one on stage, so Rob gave me a tremendous opportunity with that movie and believed in me and trusted me from the start. That’s the greatest feeling as an artist, to have somebody give you that break. Tim did it, Jon Demme did it with Married to the Mob, different people have done it in different ways my whole life, it’s been great.

FT: With all your accomplishments, is there a particular challenge in period/style/genre that you want to work on? Well the question is, what haven’t you done?

CA: Oh, I haven’t done a lot. Every time you turn around it may be the same period but it’s a different story, so I really don’t have one set thing out there that I haven’t done that I’d like to do.

Big thanks to Colleen Atwood for her thoughts!  Congrats on the Academy Award nomination and good luck!!


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