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! **

The Great Gatsby

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Hi everyone – I’ve just returned from a screening of The Great Gatsby, and wanted to briefly record my impressions here for you.  First of all, there are a TON of costumes. Like thousands and thousands of costumes, all very different from each other.  There are dance costumes and party costumes and poor people costumes and banker/Wall Street costumes and rich people costumes, etc., etc., etc., it’s exhausting! Bottom line: it’s beautiful.  But keep in mind, this is not a Merchant-Ivory movie; this is not the place to be looking for exacting period accuracy.  This is a Baz Luhrmann movie, and his specific vision is what comes to life here, courtesy of costumes and sets by designer Catherine Martin.

Elizabeth Debicki and Tobey Maguire

Elizabeth Debicki and Tobey Maguire

I mean, the soundtrack makes use of Beyonce and Florence of the Machine… Jay-Z and Kanye.  This REALLY isn’t a Merchant-Ivory film.  If you’re reading this on Frocktalk, chances are pretty great that you will see the film, as it is a real costume spectacle. The sheer number of costumes will make your head spin.

Isla Fisher

Isla Fisher

Quickly, my favorite costumes of the film are worn by Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher).  They are quirky and funky, a nice departure from the high-brow, expensive – yet colorless – fare of Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki).  Myrtle’s costumes utilize a lot of red, the color of passion and lust, which works for the character, who is having an affair with Daisy’s husband Tom, played by Joel Edgerton.

Tobey Maguire & Isla Fisher

Tobey Maguire & Isla Fisher

I saw the film in 3D, but I don’t see any reason for that format – the movie would be just as compelling (and probably easier to watch) in 2D.  The glasses made some of the images flare and distort, and it took away from the experience.  If I were to see it again, I’d see it on a big huge screen, in regular 2D.  No need for 3D on this one. And at 143 minutes, it’s longer than I imagined, but it didn’t feel long – that’s a great sign!

Big-party

I’m really curious to hear what you Frocktalkers have to say about the film.  So far, there are over 1800 media articles devoted to the film, many of them about the costumes.  What do you think of all of it?  Film opens this weekend, and I will be standing by here and on Twitter @Frocktalk awaiting your thoughts!  Enjoy!

– KMB

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