There is a magical, almost alchemic formula that makes certain cinematic moments unforgettable, and part of that equation involves the costume. Think Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly grazes on her breakfast while gazing in Tiffany’s window, sheathed in an austere black column dress and opera gloves, arrayed in a collar of pearls, a tiny tiara, and dark sunglasses dressed by Edith Head and Givenchy. In The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe relishes the breeze from the subway grate in her pleated white halter designed by costume designer William Travilla. Is this Costume or Fashion?
Costume and fashion are easily confused, sometimes the words are used interchangeably, and often one is mistaken for the other. But despite the overlap, they are actually distinct disciplines that flow naturally into each other because they share the common vocabulary of clothing. This discussion follows their relationship across early film and television to present day.
Anna Wyckoff creates portraits across multiple disciplines and seeks to find the intersection where her passions overlap. As editor in chief of The Costume Designer Magazine, she explores how designers use nuance and detail to flesh out a psychological depiction of a character through clothing. Portraiture allows her to explore the role of physiognomy as an expression of the individual in oil paint. Her writing enables her to more deeply investigate the themes and motivations of her subjects. Anna is producing the Legacy Video Series, which documents the fascinating backstories behind Costume Designers’ Guild members. She also serves as the CDG Communications Director.
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