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 'photo'

The Master

Review Date: 9-16-12

Release Date: 9-21-12

Runtime: 137 minutes

Period: Post-WWII – 1950

Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Paul Thomas Anderson is known for boundary-pushing films: Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood… and he doesn’t just push, but rather he shoves The Master into uncharted territory. This is a film so raw, it bleeds. The performances will make your heart skip a beat. The plot reveals itself in bursts, like a puzzle of sorts. In the press, cast and crew have denied that this film is about Scientology. However, after viewing the film, it appears to be a poem composed in elegiac vignettes related to L. Ron Hubbard, the religion he founded, and the people who were central to his purpose.

Continue reading ‘The Master’

Cecil Beaton Photos from WWII on Display in London!

WWII photo - Cecil Beaton

WWII photo - Cecil Beaton

Oh, Frocktalkers – what a find this is.  Cecil Beaton was an Academy Award-winning costume designer (Gigi – 1958, and My Fair Lady – 1964), but before he was a costume designer, he was a photographer.  And WHAT a photographer.  WOW.  His impressive photographs from WWII Britain are now on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.  The exhibition runs from 9/6/12 to 1/1/13.  So look – if you travel to London to see the amazing Hollywood Costumes exhibit at the V & A between October – January, you can stop by and see Beaton’s work at the IWM in the same trip.  It’s a win-win!!  I hope that they publish a book of his photos, because they are great research pieces.  Absolutely stunning.  More information HERE and nice article with photos HERE!

– KMB

Adventures in Costuming: Albright Fashion Library!

These Prada shoes.  These shoes.  Come on.

These Prada shoes. These shoes. Come on.

Frocktalkers, I have just returned from New York City, and WOW, do I have a find for you!!! It’s the Albright Fashion Library, and before you start thinking of a musty space filled with old books and magazines, let me tell you: it’s pure fashion. Not a book to be found. This is a place that lends clothing, and not just any clothing – top-of-the-line, first-run designer fashion – and tons of it.

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Fitting Pictures Save Reputations!!!

Fitting pictures: not just for work anymore!!  In the case of John Travolta, fitting pictures from his new project Killing Season may shoot down any chance of Lawsuit #1 from ever seeing the light of day.  Among other things, Lawsuit #1 alleges that Travolta was in Los Angeles on January 16, 2012.  But thanks to some time-and-date-stamped fitting photos from the film, with additional backup witnesses of costume designer Denise Wingate and her crew, the allegation proves to be totally untrue.  Costume department saves the day!  Thanks, Denise, for showing these opportunistic bottom-feeders how beautiful fitting photos can be.  See articles about the fitting photos HERE and HERE. Keep up the good work!

– KMB

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Interview with Designer Trish Summerville!

Happy 2012, Frocktalkers! I am delighted to be able to share some insight with you from the costume designer of David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Trish Summerville! Fresh from the launch of the movie as well as the launch of The Dragon Tattoo Collection (exclusively at retailer H & M), Ms. Summerville tells us all about her experience making the film in Sweden, and why she didn’t sample the reindeer meatballs… read on!!

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Adventures in Costuming: Memorylane.com!

The Winner Takes it All!

The Winner Takes it All!

If you have ever had a costume presentation to make detailing a specific year, including the trends, music, events and other things that took place back then, you know how difficult it can sometimes be to find good, reliable information and (more importantly for us) pictures.  There are a few places to check.  Wikipedia is usually pretty reliable for background information.  The People History has additional (though vague) information about prices of things, and a small blurb about fashion in the particular era.  There is some info on Fashion Era, but not many pictures of actual garments. It is difficult to get accurate photos (and lots of them) in one place.

Enter Memorylane.com.  Formerly known as classmates.com, Memorylane is a wonderful database of specific images on a year-by-year basis.  It is a searchable database, full of images and videos specific to that particular year.  No guesswork as to whether or not the poster of the photo had the year right.  It’s lovely.  Check it out!  And good luck with your presentations!

– KMB

Frankie and Alice

Review Date: 12-18-10

Release Date: 12-10-10 (LA), expands 2-4-11

Running Time: 102 min.

Period: 1957, 1973

Costume Designer: Ruth E. Carter

Frankie and Alice is a film based on a true story of Frankie Murdock, a woman with dissociative personality disorder (what many people call “multiple personalities”). It is an interesting film in that the actress playing Frankie (Halle Berry) plays three roles at once, and the costumes support her transition between them. Ms. Berry has been deservedly nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance, and the film is worth seeing for her elegant and heart wrenching work.

Continue reading ‘Frankie and Alice’

Hollywood Boulevard Costume Capers

Earlier this year, I posted a story about the arrest of costumed characters roaming Hollywood Boulevard.  At issue – their demands for tips, and their illegal use of licensed/copyright/trademarked costumes.  Well, it appears the rag-tag Justice League of Hollywood Boulevard came together to find a solution.  See it here, and thanks to Frocktalker Angus for the link!

— KMB

More Photos from the FIDM Motion Picture Costume Exhibit!

Frocktalk reporter Hannah Greene hams it up at the FIDM event.

Frocktalk reporter Hannah Greene hams it up at the FIDM event.

Intrepid Frocktalk correspondent Hannah Greene has uploaded more photos from the event.  You can see them HERE.  Hannah’s photos include some great shots of the costumes from The Dutchess and Bright Star, so have a look, and enjoy!

— KMB

Adventures in Costuming: Whack’em Wacom Tablet Sketching

I have been taking some photoshop classes, people!!  This week, instead of a movie review, I thought I would present you with an easy tutorial on sketching costumes with photoshop, including some quick and clever tips.  The first thing: get yourself a Wacom tablet.  That’s pronounced Whack’em.  They are available at computer stores and online – I bought mine at Fry’s for about $80.  You do NOT need a big one.  The drawing surface on mine is about 4″ x 6″, and that is all you really need if you are working on a laptop.  The picture above is what the Wacom tablet looks like, once out of the box.  The Wacom tablet comes with an installation disc and a tutorial that runs when you set it up – it is a quick and easy way to learn how to physically use the stylus (pen) to draw freehand on your computer!!

I am going to show you how to do a quick sketch step-by step here.  I am using extremely low-resolution images because it is faster for me and probably clearer for you.  It’s going to look a little bit pixillated, but you will get the idea.  So here we go!!

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