We just put the nail on the coffin of the awful movie that was Nine yesterday. The musical movie sucked royally. More royally than the agent who forced Dame Judi Dench to take a part in this movie so that he could get a big paycheck. But who cares, because the costumes were amazing, dahhling! The only thing that can make up for the big waste of time spent watching this movie is the glitz and glamour of the costumes, so we decided make up for a our thumbs down review with a Fashion Meets Film devoted to the stylish flick!
Nine takes place in 1960’s Italy and is based on the Broadway show of the same name, which is based on the character Guido Contini of Fellini’s famous 8 1/2. Costume designer Colleen Atwood recreated looks that were reminiscent of both Italian daywear and streetwear of the period, as well as more dramatic pieces plucked straight from the stage. With one-of-a-kind constructed pieces such as corsets and dresses, as well as vintage furs and suits, Atwood outfitted the stars in high-glamour pieces designed to shine on the screen. Each of the film’s starlets– Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Dame Judi Dench, Marion Cotilliard, and Fergie–were given a unique look that represents a certain female archetype of the period, from the loving wife (Cotilliard) to the promiscuous seduce (Fergie). The result is a plethora of intricate looks that capture the 60’s from a variety of perspectives, which is great since the actual movie itself fails to do so.
The sensual, sophisticated look embodied by Penelope Cruz’s character Carla screams of “mistress”– indeed, her character is Contini’s other woman. Carla’s look hinges on sexy, form fitting and over-the-top pieces in lush fabrics. A head-to-toe red pencil skirt suit set emphasizes her character’s curvaceous appeal, while a rich broacade Oriental-esque fabric, matching gloves, and red fur capelet (a piece custom made for Atwood by furrier Dennis Basso) speak to her character’s flare for the dramatic. A tumultuous love affair, botched suicide attempt, and general “va-va-voominess” appear in each stitch of her attention-seeking wardrobe. Indeed, going as far over the top as possible, her royal sexiness donns an antique-lace, hand constructed corset in her musical number. With thigh highs and airy, feminine lace touches, the lingerie look toes the line between bold and coy, much like a lady desperately seeking love from Contini.
(Side note: I nominate “va-va-voominess” for Urban Dictionary word-of-the-year–just sayin’!)
While Cruz’s character is busy being an old-world, antique laced mistress, Kate Hudson’s American fashion journalist Stephanie is a modern woman of 1960s future. Her style, a mix of mod and 1920s, is flirty and fun. For Hudson’s “Cinema Italiano” dance number, Atwood designed a dress complete with vintage Swarovski crystals from the 20s complete with flapper-layers of fringe. The dress, a handmade custom piece, weighed over 10 lbs! Paired with mod accessories including big black shades and knee-high silver kitten heel shaft boots, Hudson’s Stephanie embodies the flirty nature of an independent woman trying to have fun!
While Nine features a host of dancing and singing sexy ladies, the link between them all is the dashing Guido Contini, played by Daniel Day Lewis. As the director who breaks social conventions, Lewis’ Contini is the image of Italian elegance. Typical of the Italiano men, Contini’s suits are incredibly slim cut, impeccably starched, and tailored to perfect. Atwood used rich gray and black wools and other fabrics for the suits, some of which were vintage as well. A tan, lightly checked topcoat finished the look, providing a fashionable alternative to black for the stylish man. Accessories like leather gloves, a wide-brimmed muted fedora, and ever-present dark shades completed the look of a suave man in control of his appearance, but not his surroundings. Contini may look good to those around him, but that only went as far as his exterior side.
While the movie falls flat, the costumes in Nine are anything but. They pop with color and excitement, drawing from Italian culture and cultural movements such as Neo Realism to portray a culture that was fast and entertaining. Atwood’s intricate costumes meld history with contemporary influences and styles, making Nine a diverse and engaging historical reference of a film, at least when it comes to fashion!
Check out the trailer below, which includes Hudson and Cruz in all their sexy glory!
- For Your Viewing Pleasure: Nine
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