Behind the Seams With Jacqueline Durran and Paco Delgado at THR's First Costume Designer Roundtable
'Anna Karenina' and 'Les Miserables' costume designers spill secrets during The Hollywood Reporters's first annual roundtable video and costume shoot.
Jacqueline Durran was nominated for a Best Costume Design Oscar for her work in Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, both directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley. So it will be no surprise if she is again nominated for her work in Wright’s latest film, Anna Karenina, again starring Knightley.
To make the film more accessible to a contemporary audience, Durran created an amalgam of the period Russian silhouette with a 1950s French couture silhouette.
The black ball gown Knightley’s Anna wears in the scandalous ballroom scene has a fitted (not boned) bodice with elastic sleeves to allow for the arm movement required. But the skirt is full with tulle aubergine taffeta underskirts and a bustle effect in the back. She added a touch of vintage lace at the bodice and used synthetic tulle because it is not as heavy as silk.
“The gown had to be light because the dance sequence is so strenuous," Durran told THR. "It's physically exhausting when you do it once but they filmed it for three days and the actors did weeks of rehearsals with real dancers. “
Knightley wears a mirror image of the black gown – in white – for the opera scene, the moment of her social suicide. "Joe and I had a long discussion about the color. We felt it would be more intriguing if she wore the black at her moment of triumph and the white for her public humiliation.”
Spanish costume designer Paco Delgado is new to the Hollywood scene. But his work in Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper's (The King's Speech) much anticipated film adaptation of the Broadway musical Les Miserables has already placed him at the top of many Oscar prediction lists
He told THR about always keeping true to the period for all the characters. Specifically discussing Eddie Redmayne's romantic hero, Marius: “There were amazing prints in that period but you would almost think they were twentieth century. For Marius’s weskit [waistcoat], we found this old fabric in a London flea market. And those in favor of the revolution wore rosettes, the colors of the French flag. We wanted to show that Marius was a member of the student uprising against the oppression of the state."
Marius’s high-waisted trousers also featured a very period specific, wide, drop-down buttoned fly . According to Delgado, ”From the 1840s onward, men’s pants began to have a normal fly, similar to our modern fly, but with buttons, not a zipper.”
The color of Eddie Redmayne’s eyes even influenced the hue of his trousers. “It took a really long time to get the color right, a lot of tests and dying to get this teal with shades of blue and grey in it.," Delgado recalls. "It matches Eddie’s eyes.”