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! **

Costume Research: Tsarist Russia

Costume designers are re-creators of universes.  We can recreate the stone age, the renaissance, the crusades, the Roman empire, and even Genghis Khan and the Mongols.  In order to do this, however, we need research… loads and loads of research.  There are many types of research – primary (meaning photographs from the time period, and the actual antique garments themselves), and secondary (drawings, paintings, descriptions, stories, etc.).  It is a beautiful and inspiring thing to find a new resource for primary research.  I was introduced to one of those sources today – Russian photographer Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky.  One hundred years ago, Prokudin-Gorsky took COLOR photographs all over Russia.  That’s right:  COLOR photographs.  He used a system of color plate negatives to do it, and the results are amazing. I can’t think of another source from that time to shoot color photographs (other than color-tinted prints, which don’t really count, as they do not show true color).  These photographs are amazing; see for yourself~

Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky Photographs

And thanks to JD for sharing this with me!

** Update**  More links for Prokudin-Gorsky photos HERE, HERE and HERE!!  Amazing stuff!! Thanks, JD!

–KMB

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