Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sweeney Todd Fashion

Well, I'm back from Toronto! Having arrived late last night after a fantastic trip, I've spent the day doing some boring necessities and getting back in the swing of things. As promised, I did make some fun purchases on my trip, but those will have to wait to be shared. Instead, I want to share the remarkable costumes found in Sweeney Todd.

Colleen Atwood was in charge of that particular aspect of the movie, and she did a fantastic job. Of course, since she has designed for Edward Scissorhands, Chicago, and Memoirs of a Geisha, one would expect no less. She especially outdid herself in the scene where Mrs. Lovett, the pie-maker, fantasizes about a life with Sweeney by the sea. It honestly made me gasp in delight and awe!

See how marvelous? That color pallette! Those stripes! Those polkadots and wild hair! I'm not gonna lie - I, too, would love to live on the beach with Johnny Depp and wear fabulous outfits. It's pretty much a given.

I also, of course, adored the darker clothing found in the rest of the movie. Mrs. Lovett's looks were my favorites.

Said Colleen Atwood, "She was somebody who almost was like a crow. She was always picking a bit of this or that up. Everyone is a little grimy in the movie. As she got more money, she got a couple of new dresses. I used a lot of authentic fabrics. Her dresses were a range of color but subtle and controlled. There was always a hint of red peeking out, but very low-key. A lot of her stuff had a sheen or beading. I thought she'd be attracted to a bit of obvious glitter. Underneath she had fantastic underwear you never see — great bloomers and corsets. As for the fingerless gloves — people wore them in the period. They'd been around."

Sweeney Todd's outfits were also quite memorable - sort of a mixture of Edward Scissorhands and Stacy of What Not To Wear (okay, at least the hair reminded me of her.)

Colleen also had some good things to say about Sweeney's look: "He comes off a boat, crusted with salt. He's been through a terrifying time in prison, and he's hardened to life. He enters the world with a shell on, like an insect shell. His jacket has a sheen. As he starts barbering, he becomes part of the world he's living in, a world where people use recycled clothing. (The) jacket he wears to work was influenced by work wear of the period. I really felt he needed some heavy weight to his feet, like he was dragging weight, and his boots are quite heavy and have nails around the outside of the sole on top. You get a kick of silver when he hits the pedal on the barber chair. His costumes are simple. He's not conscious of what he's wearing. "

The costumes were apparently taken from different parts of the Victorian period, with more concern for the characters than historical integrity. Many may describe the look as Goth, but Colleen said,"to me, the influence was the makeup and styling of the old black-and-white movies. The lips and eyes are dark, and the face is light. That's the feeling we were going for, more than a conscious goth look."

For more information on the Oscar-nominated Sweeney Todd costumes, check out some of my sources for this article. There's a great interview in USA Today, as well as some really fantastic videos (Parts 1; 2) about it on YouTube. As always, The Costumer's Guide had some good pictures.

P.S. Doesn't the first big photo in this editorial (the one with the stripey tights) look freakishly like a costume for Mrs. Lovett? Also, it just occurred to me that the red-and-white striped dress from the fantasy sequence reminds me a lot of Mary Poppins' costume at the fair in the chalk drawing. It makes sense, I suppose, seeing as both costumes appear in Victorian era fantasy scenes. . .

14 comments:

susie_bubble said...

Fascinating stuff... I hated the film but the costumes are very very well done...

My Vera Bag said...

I didn't mind the movie, but I think I'll need to rewatch it after the way you (and others quoted) have talked about the costumes. I'll be looking at it from a different perspective this time round.

vanessa said...

so are you going to be an art history major? cuz you always have the best posts about fashion history (like this one, costume design!!) and you could go in that direction!

Kori said...

susie_bubble - I didn't hate the film; in fact, I enjoyed the first 2/3 of it or so, but I have to agree that the costumes were by far the best part.

my vera bag - I didn't actually notice the costumes much until the fantasy scene, so I paid close attention after that.

vanessa - I don't think so (I'm leaning toward something more like English or Journalism), but you never know...

Ashe Mischief said...

When that movie came out, I had so many friends calling me to tell me that her "swimsuit" reminded them of me.

When I finally saw the movie, I think I gasped and wiggled my butt in the seat a bit. The costumes are so amazing (though I think they were crazy to put a preggers Carter in a corset!).

(Also, being an English major was the BEST. I loved it. But I can't say I don't love Art History, too.)

gilda said...

oh my gosh, i was fretting around yesterday for a nautical costume and wish i had seen this post of yours earlier. it gave me so many ideas and that first picture where they looked kinda marine-ish, would have been perfect! well i went out and bought some super cute sailor outfit though, which i'll probably only ever wear again on halloween. :)

Lucie said...

Hi. Please, could you email me, please? (lu.luka@seznam.cz)
I'd love to know where you get those pictures of costume designs for Sweeney. Please!...

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Anonymous said...

I loved this movie and loved the costume designs even more. They are genius! I used to put my hair up like Mrs. Lovett's before my mom made me get it cut lol. I bought the fingerless gloves and everything. I still have to get a leather jacket like Sweeney's though....It's so amazing! I also might get some white streaks in my hair when we get the money...>:D

Anonymous said...

Hey are you a professional journalist? This article is very well written, as compared to most other blogs i saw today….
anyhow thanks for the good read!

Sheena said...

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half apron said...

i curious about the film. what is the movie all about? and what is the title?