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On Monday arguably the most creatively dressed awards season crowd gathered at the Fairmont Century Plaza for the 2023 Costume Designers Guild Awards (CDGA), where winners of the newly dubbed Adrian Awards were announced in eight categories.
“I just have to say, this is one of the most stylish crowds I have ever seen ever,” said Hunter Schafer, who presented the award for excellence in sci-fi/fantasy film, which went to awards season darling Everything Everywhere All at Once’s costume designer, Shirley Kurata.
Also on hand to present awards were Austin Butler (in Valentino), Monica Barbaro (in Maison Yeya), Christina Ricci, Elizabeth Debicki, Haley Lu Richardson, Lewis Pullman, Ashley Park, Nazanin Boniadi (in Elie Saab) and Greg Tarzan Davis, along with a crowd that included Baz Luhrmann and his Adrian Award-winning wife Catherine Martin, Cate Blanchett (in Balmain), costume designers B. Akerlund and Arianne Phillips and more of the 1,200-plus costume designers and illustrators who are guild members.
Pleas for pay equity were on display, continuing a trend of past shows. Guests donned #NakedWithoutUs pins and plastered the slogan on everything from painted skirts to a magic-markered shaved head (as seen on Pretty Little Liars and The Bold Type designer Mandi Line) to Akerlund’s custom-designed grid apron with rhinestone wording. “It’s a fashion shield,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. Paddles saying “Pay Equity Now” were also on offer, with #NakedWithoutUs and #CDGPayEquity on the flip side.
“As a costume designer, I think it’s very important for people to understand that we are the lowest paid out of the department heads that are the triad for the director,” costume designer Deirdra Govan (Harlem) told THR. “And the wage gap, the one-to-one comparison between a costume designer and production designer, is quite significant. So, the pay equity battle that we’ve been mounting for some time is really how to close that gap and share our value and the importance that we bring and the impact that our designs have on popular culture and beyond.”
Nodding to his intensive collaboration with his wife Catherine Martin (winner of the CDGA award for excellence in period film), Luhrmann told THR: “We start wearing the clothes two years before we make the movie, nine thousand costumes. And what she’s done is all of these lost art forms. She’s got young people now learning how to do this art, how to do cutting, that’s how much she cares about costumes.”
Luhrmann then ushered over Mandy Walker, the third-ever female cinematography Oscar nominee for her work on Elvis. “Baz always has a lot of women as heads of department,” said Walker. “He’s a trailblazer. He gave me my first job — the first time a woman has shot a studio film over $130 million. Baz did that.”
A collaborator with Angela Bassett since the 1992 Spike Lee film Malcolm X, Ruth E. Carter recognized the actress with the spotlight award for her five roles “including queens, icons and leaders, totaling nearly 200 costumes and counting,” said Carter, noting the over 60 costume changes in What’s Love Got to Do With It. She continued: “I can think of two numbers that haven’t changed in over 25 years: My mom’s phone number and Angela Bassett’s measurements.” Bassett’s latest red carpet look was a Moschino double-breasted black-and-red suit accessorized with a fascinator.
Celebrating Bette Midler’s distinguished collaborator award, her 40-year-old-plus friend Billy Crystal jokingly listed RuPaul, Liberace and “maybe what Marjorie Taylor Greene wore to the State of the Union address” as the star’s competitors.
Also honored were costume designer Deborah L. Scott (Titanic, Avatar: The Way of Water), recognized with the career achievement award, and costume designer Rachael M. Stanley (Ally McBeal, Sisters), who received the distinguished service award.
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