The film industry’s annual award season is in session. To learn more about the art and business of making movies, check out a book from the Loop Library’s rich film studies collection. Highlighted below are three recent arrivals to the collection.
Fashion is often considered to be frivolous and superficial. But the essays in Fashion in Film, written by literature and film scholars, easily reveal the meaningful work that costumes perform in movies. In the opening essay, Drake Stutesman illustrates this by meticulously describing how the details of the simple undershirt that Marlon Brando wore in A Streetcar Named Desire work to support his character’s image of a sensual, working-class man. Several essays address the corresponding influence that movies have on the fashion industry. Diana Diamond gives us a 21st century example of this in her essay about Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. The 2006 film generated new products and couture collections, not the least of which was Dior’s Guillotine Chic. Loop Library, Call Number: 791.43 F248
Michelle Tolini Finamore used a diverse collection of primary sources to research the tandem development of the fledgling film and fashion industries in the U.S. during the early 20th century. In 1905, fashion was nearly absent from film: actors were even required to wear their own clothing in movies. As the film industry evolved and expanded its audience base, so too did their approach to costumes. In addition, WWI created conditions for both industries to make considerable strides in establishing their influence relative to their European counterparts. American talent was cultivated and the studio system emerged which carefully controlled the images of their stars, including their clothing. Hollywood Before Glamour: Fashion in American Silent Film tells the story of the early days of the film industry and how it evolved to be synonymous with beauty and style. Loop Library, Call Number: 791.436564 F4914h
The third book in this post provides an intimate view of costume designers currently working in the industry, as well as several who achieved legendary status before exiting the stage. The goal of costume designers and actors is the same: to create authentic characters. The vision, art, and craftsmanship that align for designers to achieve this goal are apparent in the interviews included in FilmCraft: Costume Design. Not only do these profiles include photos, costume sketches, and an informal filmography that tracks the designer’s career, the personal commentaries about their work brings their valuable contributions out of the background to a well-deserved position of importance. Loop Library, Call Number: 791.43026 L2573C