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! **

Tag Archive for 'costume design film'


Review Date: 6-20-09
Release Date: 6-5-09 USA, limited
Runtime: 125 min.
Period: France, 1914 – 1935
Costume Designer:  Madeline Fontaine

Trailers and clips

Séraphine is a film that makes you think – it makes you think about all of the potential brilliance in people that has gone undiscovered.  It makes you think about what it is to be an outsider, a person unwanted or unnoticed in society, and it makes you think about religion and those who regard it zealously, without question.  This is a good movie on all levels: directing, acting, cinematography, production design and costumes.  It swept the César Awards in France for 2008 (the film was released in October 2008 in that country), and it is definitely a must-see.

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Shameless Self-Promotion: DARK AND STORMY NIGHT!

Hi guys!!  DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, a movie I designed, is screening this Friday 5-29-09, at the Egyptian theater.  It is a campy 1930s whodunnit satire (directed by genius Larry Blamire) with some pretty unforgettable dialogue and performances.  …And the costumes ain’t bad (I made most of the ladies’ costumes with my own hands, gat-dammit!).  If you want to see a movie, but NOT one about aliens invading the earth, cars turning into robots, dinosaur skeletons coming to life, making fun of dance movies, angels or demons, klingons, dudes with blades coming out of their knuckles, Zac Efron, Matt McConaughey or Beyonce, then this is your movie.  It’s kind of like the movie “Clue”, just a lot funnier and better.  It’s silly, good fun – and yes, you can bring the kids – at least, if they can handle bloodless murder, YES, you can bring the kids.
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FROZEN RIVER: Interview with Abby O’Sullivan, Costume Designer

I recently talked with Abby O’Sullivan, costume designer of Frozen River, to find out a little bit more about how the costumes in this film came together.  Here is what she had to say:

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Review Date: 5-23-09
Release Date: 5-22-09 (USA, limited)
Runtime: 90 min.
Period:  Contemporary
Costume Designer:  Anne Pedersen

I just didn’t have the stomach to see a big blockbuster film this week, so I opted for something different: a Norwegian film called O’Horten.  Strange title, considering it’s not a Scottish film, and there are no Scots in the film at all. It is, however, Norwegian, and as we Swedes always say, anything Norwegian is automatically upside-down and backwards, ha ha ha.  O’Horten was the 2008 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film submission from Norway, and it is a delightful, albeit incredibly slow-moving film.  I really enjoyed the story, as well as the film’s themes and perspectives.  O’Horten is quite minimalist, and it is totally deadpan, so it is a nice change of pace (literally) from the blockbusters.  The costumes were essential in telling the story, and that makes me very happy.
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Adventures in Costuming: The Sewing Arts Center!

It’s been a crazy week, guys, and I finally killed my #1 sewing machine, the White.  I’ve had the White since 1992, since the great El Nino flood killed the original Brother machine I bought in college.  The White was my main battle-axe, and he delivered beautifully in his seventeen years.  Rest in Peace, White.  I will miss you.

I discovered that I had killed the White because I took him to the Sewing Arts Center in Santa Monica, aka the sewing machine hospital.  He was on life support at the time, and they later called me to let me know that it would be better to put him down than to try to resuscitate him, so… (sound of beer pouring out on the floor)… this one is for my homie, the White.  The Janome has now ascended from the #2 position to the #1 spot.  We all (including the #3 machine, the New Brother) mourn the White’s passing.

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The Sweet Hereafter: Sidebar

Speaking of all great things Canadian, this week’s Frocktalk review is The Sweet Hereafter.  This film was nominated for a Genie award for costume design back in 1997.  Just wanted to let you know that an interview with costume designer Beth Pasternak is in the works; I will run it as soon as it comes back to me, so stay tuned!  For photo clearance, I called three different companies associated with this movie: New Line Home Video, Fine Line Features, and Time Warner Home Video.  All of them passed the buck in giving photo release.  In fact, the woman at Time Warner told me that nobody knew WHO was responsible for photo clearance on this film.  Therefore, I am going to take a chance, and run these screen caps.  If anyone barks, I will be sure to let you know!


Awardsapalooza: the BAFTA Nominations!

British Film & Television Academy Award nominations are IN:

* CHANGELING – Deborah Hopper
* THE DARK KNIGHT – Lindy Hemming
* THE DUCHESS – Michael O’Connor

Congratulations to all!!  Stay tuned for the Academy Award nominations ONE WEEK from TODAY!!!


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