April 29, 2012

Fashion In The Films of Pedro Almodóvar: A Director's Creative Visionary

One of the most successful and genius artistic collaborations between a director and an actor of all times is Pedro Almodovar and Pelenlope Cruz.
Last week I've attended a rather interesting - [and, a fascinating for me] - lecture-presentation at the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) dedicated to the fashion in the films of Pedro Almodóvar.
The event featured Spanish designer Davidelfin and CUNY professor Paul Julian Smith as they discussed fashion in the films of Pedro Almodóvar. 

Davidelfin spoke as one of Almodóvar’s close friends, while Smith, author of the book Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar, contextualized the director’s work. This event was organized in collaboration with the Consulate General of Spain in New York and the Association of Spanish Fashion Designers (ACME).

During the presentation of the film clips from each of the Pedro Almodóvar films, which I'm a huge fan of and have seen all of them - [as a matter of fact, my next big purchase on Amazon will be a collection of all of his films, just as I once bought a full collection of all of Woody Allen films! It's one of those directors, who, by the way, is regarded as the Spanish 'Woody Allen' as he chooses his projects very carefully and writes and directs his movies himself...] - the speakers commented on how the director approached the costumes for the main characters.

These women from the film Women On The Verge of Nervous Breakdown, as explained by Smith and Davidelfin, if you look at them closely, are not dressed in the same 'era', but rather their costumes are from very different eras, but, surprisingly, it all comes together harmoniously as if they all belong in one place, one time. And this is what is called - the creative vision that is timeless - belongs to no particular era, but still, looks as if it does.
What the clips I made during the lecture, explaining the fashion in some of Pedro Almodóvar's films. For more, go to my YouTube channel.

Here's a thing, why I think these kind of lectures are important for both the fashion crowd and for the serious film lovers is because no matter how well you watch a film, most likely hardly ever you notice the costumes and make up of the characters, because most often, if a film director is a creative genius, these aspects harmoniously blend-in in the plot and only later you might notice that you actually were a witness of some very well thought-through creative choices for the characters' costumes and make-up. But when you go to the events where the experts break it down to you and explain the creative idea and vision behind the costume/make-up choices, all of the sudden you get that 'eurika' moment when you say "Oh, my god, how did I not see it in the first place?!! It's genius!"

For example, did you know that in most of Pedro Almodóvar films, the director is, actually, using the clothes and accessories by the most prominent fashion designers? For example, those interesting outfits, and especially those intriguing bodysuits that fascinated me when I watched Pedro Almodóvar's Skin I Live In (La piel que habito, 2011), have been, actually, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana - did you know it? I didn't! Not to mention the fab corsets in The Dark Habits (Entre Tinieblas, 1983) and the asbolute fashionable mismatch on the verge of being genius in the film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios, 1988) and Bad Education (La mala educación 2004), All About My Mother ((Todo sobre mi madre, 1999), and Volver (2006). I can pretty much name all of his films, which feature creative choices of the costumes and I won't be wrong.

Bad Education


All About My Mother

There's an absolute pleasure to see the works of some of the film directors, because besides a good storyline, cinematography and actors' work, there's more to a film - there's inspiring creativity in the overall design and feel of the films, reflected in the unique use of the costumes, make-up, decor and exterior environment. So, the next time you watch a film, take a note of the visual aspects of the film to see if they complement/add and/or distract from the overall feel of a film, whether the director's choices play for or against the plot. You might discover some interesting details. And as for me - I have another good excuse to re-watch Almodóvar's films all over again... 

P.S. The next collaboration between Pedro Almodóvar and fashion, you can see in the latest Missoni campaign, where the director stars himself...

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