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9 Gorgeous Movie Costumes That Deserve an Oscar

Movie costumes are very important because they contribute to the story. They don’t just reflect the era the movie takes place in, but also reveal the characters’ nature, their secrets and intentions. But you should be attentive to not miss the hints left by the costume designers.

At Bright Side, we looked at the costumes shown in the popular movies and series and tried to figure out what hidden meaning they had.

Death on the Nile (2022)

The movie revealed the talent of costume designer Paco Delgado in all its glory. His team spent a year studying the fashion of the 1930s, designing and producing almost 150 movie costumes.

The characters’ costumes are so sophisticated that they convey not only temptation and danger, but also give the audience some clues. For example, Gal Gadot’s character looks like a Hollywood star in her silver dress. Linnet, in a dress with a complex cut and deep cleavage, is cutting through the crowd of dancers and drawing everyone’s attention.

To emphasize Gal Gadot’s contradictory character, Delgado suddenly replaces her dress, which looks like an armor, with a peach-colored dress embroidered with white cranes. Transparent fabrics where you can see the skin demonstrate Linnet’s fragility and vulnerability.

Nightmare Alley (2021)

Costumes play an important role in Guillermo del Toro’s film noir. Luis Sequeira, the costume designer of Nightmare Alley, managed to hide the characters’ dark motivation behind their attractive facade. Dr. Lilith Ritter, a glamorous psychiatrist, is a good example. Her collection of stylish dresses and velvet capes reveal her femme fatale personality. Leather, wool and embroidery speak for her character more than words.

If there’s a conscience to be found among the movie’s ensemble, it’s in Molly, played by Rooney Mara. Her character is not sure about the sinister new world Stan has pulled her into. That hesitation is reflected in her costumes: she wears comfortable and cozy clothes.

Unlike Stan, who gave up his past and dived into the new luxurious life, Molly kept some threads from her old life. Even though her new clothes look expensive, they don’t restrain her movements, letting her remain youthful and naïve in the big-money world.

Spencer (2021)

Jacqueline Durran, who designed the costumes for Kristen Stewart in the movie Spencer, decided to recreate Diana’s aura without copying her outfits. Diana’s movie looks have many references to the clothes Lady Di used to wear. For example, in the scene where Diana pays a Christmas visit to church, she is dressed in a black veiled hat, black top and red coat.

In 1988, Diana really appeared in public wearing this tweed coat by Chanel. But she visited the church in 1993 and had a different coat on. Durran’s team made this change on purpose to use the red coat as a symbol of Diana’s strength and struggle.

And Just Like That... (2021)

The series And Just Like That... is a new chapter of fashionable Sex and the City. The colors of the costumes became more mature and sophisticated compared to the original show. The characters are older than 50, and they don’t let themselves wear anything they want now, they are more focused on their unique style and develop it in line with the situation.

Despite the fact that Carrie’s style has become more mature, it still fuses different fashion trends, just like it did in the 90s. The character still opts for sophisticated colors, unusual silhouettes and accessories. For example, she combines a feminine dress with a rough belt and pearl necklace. She uses this approach to prove that age is not something that limits you, it gives you experience, which is an advantage in fashion.

At the same time, their outfits ignore popular trends and remain timeless. Intense colors and weird shapes, all of this reminds us of former Carrie and her friends. They have changed, but the main thing remains unchanged: Charlotte walks around the Upper East Side in a crisp high-collared dress, Miranda reaches for a power suit, and Carrie is delightful in a sweeping ball gown.

Yellowjackets (2021)

The series tells us a story of a team of high-school girls soccer players who find themselves on a deserted island, take off their good-girl masks and start practicing dark things. Costume designers managed to encode the characters’ personalities, which they tried to hide, in their outfits. The viewers can find the clues in 2 points of time the story takes place: in the 1990s, and in 2021.

In a pilot, for example, Misty doesn’t try to rescue a rat drowning in the pool, but is just watching her prey like a cat. The character’s costumes have a feline motif too. As a teenager, Misty wears dorky kitty and cheetah sweatshirts, and adult Misty has kittens on her nurse scrubs.

West Side Story (2021)

Costume designer Paul Tazewell wanted to create the world which would reflect the 1950s. And he handled this task successfully. West Side Story mixes the grit and chaos of the story’s central conflicts with the right amount of movie-musical spectacle.

Tazewell studied the time period the movie takes place in thoroughly using the photos of 1950s Brooklyn street gangs as a source. There is a lot of dancing in the movie, so costume fabrics were carefully selected to be stretchy enough.

Why Women Kill (2021)

Season 2 of this TV series was distinguished by not only breathtaking detective story but also by the beautiful costumes of the late 40s. All attention is drawn to Rita Castillo, a temperamental brunette, with a huge wardrobe. Couture dresses, Hollywood hair styling, black arrows, and red lipstick make Rita the picture of retro luxury chic.

She loves the color red, symbolizing love, passion, and revenge. She opts for monochromatic flowing satin dresses or models featuring a floral print — a symbol of her chairmanship of the gardening club. The looks are completed by high-heeled open-toe shoes, beautiful jewelry, and accessories, hats, and gloves.

The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

This prequel to the TV series The Sopranos is distinguished by the elegant and stylish wardrobe of the characters. Young Tony Soprano, for example, looks simple yet classy wearing a denim jacket with a classic collar and buttons. The jacket has spacious pockets and a roomy fit through the torso that doesn’t restrict his movements, which is just what active Tony needs. And his striped pants are a reference to the 60s.

Glow (2017–2019)

The story of female wrestlers taking place in the 1980s was a dream job for costume designer Beth Morgan. Morgan spent hundreds of hours working on the costumes so that they were rooted in the real world despite their ostentatious appearance. She used Seventeen magazine and catalogs from J.C. Penney and Sears for inspiration.

At the same time, the series is not about all these neon colors and crazy bright prints which we tend to associate the 80s with. This story is about working-class girls who were trying to make ends meet.

Which costumes impressed you the most? Tell us in the comments below.

Bright Side/Films/9 Gorgeous Movie Costumes That Deserve an Oscar
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