Since 1949, when the first statuettes were awarded, lovers of fashion and style have more than a good reason to follow the famous Oscar night.
We do not speak of the expected red carpet or clothes chosen by the candidate to the best actresses prize (and failed) to oversee the event, but the Oscar for best costumes, or the prize to the costume designer’s ability to define the style of costumes a movie, choose fabrics and patterns depending on the time of setting, the profile of the character and the scene needs.
This year, the candidates for the Oscar Award 2016 are: Sandy Powell for Carol, and Cinderella; Jenny Beavan for Mad Max: Fury Road; Paco Delgado for The Danish Girl; Jacqueline West for The Revenant – Revenant.
No Italian, then, but our costume designers have distinguished themselves over the years for nominations and awards won, just think of the last year’s victory of the talented Milena Canonero. Who are the others?
1962; La dolce vita
Born in Poppi, Tuscany, Piero Gherardi began his artistic collaboration with Fellini during the 1953 production of I vitelloni. The director recognized his talent for scouting locations and extras and his deep knowledge of the region of Lazio. Gherardi soon proved his skills in set design by building Cabiria’s shack in Fellini’s Le notti di Cabiria (1957). Before his death in Rome in 1971, Gherardi had mastered numerous roles as Costume Designer, Production Designer, Art Director, and Set Decorator.
Vittorio Nino Novarese
1964; Cleopatra (with Irene Sharaff and Renie Conley)
1971; Cromwell – Nel suo pugno la forza di un popolo (Cromwell)
Born in Rome, Italy, was an Italian costume designer who found great success in Hollywood after decamping there in 1949. In his first year there he scored an Oscar nomination for his work on the film Prince of Foxes, winning the Academy Award 14 years later for the grandiose epic Cleopatra. He was also nominated twice in 1965 for both The Agony and the Ecstasy and The Greatest Story Ever Told, and won a second Oscar in 1970 for Cromwell. Novarese was trained as a militarist, but contrary to what one might think from the name, this only gave him the classical training to know how soldiers of different ranks were dressed and armed throughout history. His daughter is the actress Leticia Roman who starred with John Saxon in The Girl Who Knew Too Much and with Elvis Presley in G.I Blues.
1969; Romeo and Juliet
1977; Casanova by Federico Fellini
Danilo Donati won the Academy Award for Costume Design twice. In addition, he received numerous David di Donatello and Nastro d’Argento awards for his costume and production designs in various films. Among the film directors with whom Donati had worked were Federico Fellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini.
1991; Cyrano de Bergerac
Franca Squarciapino spent much of her career designing costumes for major theatres and opera houses, including the Burgtheater in Vienna, Royal Opera at Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and Zurich Opera among others. She frequently collaborates with Ezio Frigerio, who is also her partner in life.
1994; Film: The Age of Innocence (L’età dell’innocenza)
Gabriella Pescucci has worked with directors Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Terry Gilliam, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton and Neil Jordan.
1976; Barry Lyndon (with Ulla-Britt Soderlund)
1982; Chariots of Fire (Momenti di gloria)
2007; Marie Antoinette
2015; Grand Budapest Hotel
Born in Turin, Italy, Canonero studied art, design history and costume design in Genoa. She then moved to England, where she began working in small theatre and film productions. While designing for commercials in London, she met many film directors. Her first major film work as a costume designer was in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) after having met Kubrick on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). She worked with Kubrick again on Barry Lyndon (1975), for which she won her first Oscar with Ulla-Britt Söderlund, and The Shining (1980). Her second Oscar win was for Chariots of Fire (1981), directed by Hugh Hudson. Canonero has also designed the costumes for several stagings directed by Otto Schenk, such as Il trittico (Puccini, Vienna State Opera 1979), As You Like It (Shakespeare, Salzburg Festival 1980), Die Fledermaus (Strauss, Vienna State Opera 1980), Andrea Chénier (Giordano, Vienna State Opera 1981), and Arabella (Strauss, Metropolitan Opera 1983). For director Luc Bondy she created the costumes for new productions of Puccini’s Tosca (Metropolitan Opera, 2009), and of Euripides’ Helena (Burgtheater, Vienna, 2010). In 1986, Canonero became the costume designer for the television series Miami Vice. In 2001, Canonero received the Career Achievement Award in Film from the Costume Designers Guild. In 2005, Canonero won the guild’s award for excellence in contemporary film for her work on Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). She won her third Oscar for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006). Canonero reteamed with Anderson in 2014 on The Grand Budapest Hotel, for which she received her ninth nomination and fourth win at the 87th Academy Awards. She also won a BAFTA award for her work on the film.
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