Kid­man be­hind suc­cess

When it comes to cos­tume de­sign, clothes can make the show

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

EVEN vin­tage-in­spired cos­tume de­sign­ers need a thor­oughly mod­ern muse. For long-time film and TV cos­tume de­signer Ruth My­ers, nom­i­nated this year for an Emmy for her tai­lored 1930s and ’40s-based dress slacks and suits in the HBO movie Hem­ing­way & Gel­horn, that muse came in the form of Ni­cole Kid­man. The Aus­tralian ac­tress – sleek, svelte and al­most 1.78 me­tres tall – had pre­vi­ously worked with My­ers on the 2007 film The Golden Com­pass.

‘‘Ni­cole has the best bum in the world . . . She has the per­fect fig­ure,’’ My­ers says at the re­cent Fash­ion In­sti­tute of De­sign and Mer­chan­dis­ing (FIDM) party for its sixth Out­stand­ing Art of Tele­vi­sion Cos­tume De­sign ex­hi­bi­tion.

My­ers and other Emmy-nom­i­nated cos­tume de­sign­ers are there to cel­e­brate the clothes from many shows and TV movies, in­clud­ing Hem­ing­way & Gel­horn, Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, Down­ton Abbey, Once Upon A Time and Board­walk Em­pire.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, which runs in Los Angeles un­til Oc­to­ber 20, is co­p­re­sented by the Academy of Tele­vi­sion Arts and Sciences.

The Emmy Awards are an­nounced in Los Angeles on Septem­ber 23.

On dis­play are the wide-legged, high­waisted trousers, tex­tured beige cardi­gan and rose-coloured blouse worn by Kid­man in her role as Span­ish Civil War and World War II cor­re­spon­dent Martha Gel­horn, Hem­ing­way’s third wife. My­ers gave the look a con­tem­po­rary twist, us­ing vin­tage fab­rics re­cut and re­designed.

‘‘I wanted to be true to the pe­riod, but also mod­ern,’’ My­ers says.

‘‘The pants are not to­tally ac­cu­rate. In the 1940s, the crotch area was more droopy. These are more flat­ter­ing.’’

Down­ton Abbey may be tak­ing fash­ion the other way, by in­ject­ing some pe­riod flair into mod­ern de­sign. On dis­play are six looks from the show, which last sea­son re­volved around the British aris­to­cratic Craw­ley fam­ily dur­ing World War I.

A long, dark-blue vel­vet dress with sheer pan­elling (worn by Mag­gie Smith in her role as ma­tri­arch Vi­o­let Craw­ley, Dowa­ger Count­ess of Gran­tham) stands near a long-sleeved floor-length brown vel­vet coat paired with an off-white gown dec­o­rated with swirling rows of beads and lace.

An­other stand­out from the ex­hi­bi­tion is a glo­ri­ously bright yel­low hal­ter-neck bathing suit and match­ing yel­low and black striped A-line skirt with black but­tons from the se­ries Magic City , which is set in 1959 Miami.

Then there are a stiff red-and-gold em­broi­dered man­darin-style top worn by Peter Din­klage in the pe­riod fan­tasy Game Of Thrones , and a clas­sic lip­stickred shoul­der-bar­ing cock­tail dress from the soapy drama Re­venge .

Cos­tume de­signer Chrisi Kar­vonides, nom­i­nated for an Emmy for the first sea­son of Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story , was in­spired by sev­eral ac­tresses on the show, in­clud­ing Jes­sica Lange, who played a la­dy­like neigh­bour with a killer edge, and Con­nie Brit­ton, who played a preg­nant wife and mother liv­ing in a man­sion haunted by murder vic­tims of decades past.

The show’s cre­ator, Ryan Mur­phy, didn’t want the au­di­ence to know by the clothes what pe­riod the char­ac­ters were from, or whether they were alive or dead, says Kar­vonides. Lange’s char­ac­ter Con­stance Lang­don wore cinched 1960s and ’70s dresses with a South­ern air rem­i­nis­cent of Blanche DuBois from A Street­car Named De­sire. A red wrap silk knit dress is blood-red to have ‘‘a strange glow’’ in the light. The dress fea­tures in one of the show’s es­pe­cially bloody scenes.

‘‘Jes­sica is the most el­e­gant ac­tress you could hope to work with . . . It was never about choos­ing beau­ti­ful items of cloth­ing. It was al­ways about the char­ac­ter,’’ says Kar­vonides.

‘‘Con­nie has broad shoul­ders, so she could carry loose shapes beau­ti­fully,’’

Ni­cold Kid­man and Clive Owen star in

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