The Lists: Top 10 film wardrobes designed by Colleen Atwood
"As a designer, you have to solve a lot of problems. Even though people are wearing clothes that are supposed to look beautiful, they'll have to do all kinds of things." So says leading Hollywood costume designer Colleen Atwood, and she knows whereof she speaks: among the many things her overachieving clothes have done over the years, they've won her three Academy Awards, three BAFTAs and an unmatched six Costume Designers' Guild Awards. Whatever the problem facing a designer may be, she appears to have solved it. And we get to see her in action in two of this summer's releases: Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" and Rupert Sanders's "Snow White and the Huntsman," for which Kris interviewed her a couple of weeks ago.
Even at their most lavishly decorative -- the busily printed, crinoline-molded Red Queen ensembles in "Alice in Wonderland," for example, or the copious ruffles and bows of "Little Women" -- Atwood's costumes are almost always active, moving, doing.
Rarely do they hang serenely still upon clotheshorse actors for the camera to admire, though that's partly because she favors such restless filmmakers as collaborators: Jonathan Demme, Rob Marshall and, of course, Tim Burton have required Atwood's costumes not merely to prettily drape their mise-en-scène, but to run with scenes, informing and enabling actors' physicality.
Not for nothing did Atwood get her big break designing stage outfits for a Sting tour in the 1980s -- an arena she returned to for My Chemical Romance a couple of years ago. Atwood understands costumes as performance wear, as she also demonstrated with her flashy-but-unfussy dancers' garb in "Chicago," which won the designer her first Oscar. And much of her best work is infused with a touch of rock-star excess and drama: check out the glam beetle-wing detailing on one of Charlize Theron's "Snow White" outfits, as revealed in the gallery accompanying Kris' interview.
With Atwood's creativity so prominently on our screens this month, it seemed appropriate to make it the focus of this week's Top 10 list, as we round up some of the greatest film wardrobes from a career spanning four decades. It turned out to be more difficult to narrow down than I had anticipated: I was surprised to find myself leaving out some of her most ornate (and awards-honored) work in favour of subtler ensembles that serve their films in equally exciting ways. Atwood's contemporary costuming is particularly underappreciated: amid her sundry period and fantasy explosions, not everyone remembers that, between "Manhunter" and "The Silence of the Lambs," she created the indelible first impression of Hannibal Lecter for film audiences.
Another unexpected outcome of the list: while Atwood is most famed for her many wild collaborations with Tim Burton, which naturally occupy more than one spot on the list below, her partnership with another filmmaker scored even more prominently. Meanwhile, the most regular of all Atwood's partners in crime is Johnny Depp, whom the designer has dressed not only for Tim Burton, but in "Public Enemies," "The Rum Diary" and "The Tourist" too -- so the actor scores as many spots on the list as any director.
Check out the list in the gallery below and feel free to rate the selections as you go. Be sure to share your own thoughts, or even your own list, in the comments below.
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
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