Article

Costume and Fashion

Nancy Friedland

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online October 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0020
Costume and Fashion

Preview

Costume is an essential element of the overall design of a film. Working within the director’s vision for the film, costume designers try to replicate clothing by investigating the dress and fashion of the time, or historical period, and essentially dress actors to look (or more fully become) their characters. A costume can be tailor made, purchased, or rented. In the earliest days of cinema, actors wore their own clothing, but this would change with the advent of feature-length narrative films. The costume designer soon became an important part of the production design team. During the studio era in Hollywood, the costume designer helped to establish a symbiotic relationship with the fashion world, and helped to galvanize cinema’s influence on fashion trends and interest around the world. Costume design research can be challenging. During the silent era, there were no screen credits. In the United States, by the 1950s, the studios disposed of many of the records related to costume design. Preservation of film and related documents was not much better elsewhere in the world. Beginning in the 1970s, several interesting histories of Hollywood helped to define the work of the costume designer and the importance of costume to the film. Much less has been written on costume design in the international film world. In the last several decades, scholarly discussion of costume and fashion in relation to film has emerged from multiple disciplines, including the study of costume, fashion and dress, gender and feminist theories, cultural studies, and the longer history of the study of clothing and material culture.

Article.  8417 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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