You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Masters of the craft

Eye on the Oscars: Art Direction, Costume & Makeup

Three costume designers who made a difference on three very different films:

Mark Bridges

Even after 17 years, costume designer Mark Bridges still finds working with Paul Thomas Anderson

“a new, fresh challenge.” “The Master,” their sixth movie together, is a parable on faith and religion set in the post-World War II world and across a range of geographic locations that “run the gamut of a Bakersfield farm, English pub, Navy men on leave, and Phoenix,” says Bridges, whose sartorial designs reflect the financial and emotional ups and downs of the characters, in addition to complementing Anderson’s adherence to the color palettes used in mid-century films.

Bridges has maintained a high profile on the awards-contenders circuit. He won an Oscar last year for “The Artist.” This year another film he worked on, “Silver Linings Playbook,” helmed by another longtime collaborator, David O. Russell, is also in the awards conversation.


Sharen Davis

Initially shocked to get a call from Quentin Tarantino to work on “Django Unchained,” a “spaghetti southern” set in the slave-owning American South, costume designer Sharen Davis quickly embraced the cult movie director’s genre-twisting sensibility.

“The roles are so big and the characters are so big, I could go ahead and make my costumes big,” says Davis, adding that there is an intentional “voyage of color” throughout.

Having designed mostly for realistic characters and stories, notably for “The Help” and “The Pursuit of Happyness,” this science- fiction fan’s work also appears in the time-traveling “Looper.” “I really enjoyed the switch up,” she says.


Eiko Ishioka

A joyful and light-hearted side of multi-talented costume designer and artist Eiko Ishioka, who died in January, is on display in the more than 300 costumes adorning the actors and extras of “Mirror Mirror,” Tarsem Singh’s retelling of the Snow White fairy tale.

A respected art director prior to entering the film world, Ishioka forsook her trademark sculptural and at times unforgiving avant-garde approach for an equally inventive, nature-inspired re-imagining of European period looks from the 16th through 19th centuries.

Swans, peacocks and other birds inspired her whimsical creations, as did other types of flora and fauna.

“She never pulled from fashion, or clothes. It was always completely from a different place, from architecture … from the bark of a tree to show you textures,” says Singh. Ishioka was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer while working on “Mirror Mirror” and never saw the final movie.

The stage-like set, which Singh described as “Ivan the Terrible, Eisenstein movie meets gaudy architecture,” served as a backdrop and tribute to Ishioka’s wildly imaginative vision and was designed “very much with her sensibility in mind.”

Eye on the Oscars: Art Direction, Costume & Makeup
All the film’s a stage | Shopping meets showbiz at the Grove | Prosthetics shape up ‘Cloud Atlas’ | Re-creating the ’50s on a budget | Masters of the craft

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • 71st Emmys Governors Ball

    Why the Television Academy Plans to Donate Furnishings From the 71st Emmys Governors Ball

    The Emmys’ official after party is set to impress — and to leave a permanent impression. At the annual press preview of the 71st Emmys Governors Ball, the Television Academy announced a partnership with Living Spaces, Habitat for Humanity and the Hollywood Community Housing Project that will provide more than 80 custom sofas, chairs and [...]

  • Gaby Hoffmann, Albert Cheng, Alexandra Billings,

    'Transparent' Team Reflects on Series Finale Without Jeffrey Tambor

    Friday night’s premiere of the series finale of “Transparent” at L.A. Live’s Regal theater felt like a family reunion for the Pfefferman clan. Matriarch Judith Light embraced each one of her TV children (Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass) and guest stars from previous seasons (Cherry Jones, Melora Hardin, Bradley Whitford) who also turned [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Pom Klementieff poses at the launch

    Marvel Cinematic Universe Star Pom Klementieff Talks Disney-Fox Merger, X-Men Dreams

    Pom Klementieff may have entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing Mantis in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” followed by appearances in the last two “Avengers” movies, but that wasn’t her original superhero plan. “My dream was to be in X-Men,” she told Variety on Thursday at the Chanel dinner for its new fragrance Gabrielle [...]

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    Gwyneth Paltrow to Be Honored at amfAR Gala Los Angeles

    Gwyneth Paltrow and art dealer Larry Gagosian are set to be honored at the 2019 amfAR Gala Los Angeles. The American Foundation for AIDS Research announced that the two honorees will receive the Award of Courage for their commitment in the fight against HIV and AIDS as well as for their other humanitarian efforts. Christina [...]

  • David Mandel Sam Richardson

    'The Handmaid's Tale,' 'Veep,' 'When They See Us' Writers Honored at Emmy Nominees Reception

    Ava DuVernay (“When They See Us”), David Mandel (“Veep”) and Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) were among those honored at the Television Academy’s Emmy nominees writers reception on Tuesday night in North Hollywood. There, ceremony hosts, “Escape at Dannemora” star Eric Lange and “Veep’s” Sam Richardson, kept the show moving by tossing in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content