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Tag Archives: Sammy Sheldon

Nominees Announced for the 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards

8 Jan

The Costume Designers Guild 17th Award nominations have been announced and we are now fully into award season. The awards will take place Tuesday, February  17 and celebrate excellence in costume design across a variety of television, film and commercial categories. The division of categories means it isn’t just period costume that is given a place to shine (as it tends to be with the Oscars or BAFTAs) and some of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s most talked about and revered shows are on the list below.

Cersei Game of Thrones

Here is the full list of nominees:

OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY TELEVISION SERIES 
House of Cards – Johanna Argan
Ray Donovan – Christopher Lawrence
Saturday Night Live – Tom Broecker, Eric Justian
Scandal – Lyn Paolo
True Detective – Jenny Eagan

OUTSTANDING PERIOD/FANTASY TELEVISION SERIES
Boardwalk Empire – John Dunn
Game of Thrones – Michele Clapton
The Knick – Ellen Mirojnick
Mad Men – Janie Bryant
Masters of Sex – Ane Crabtree

OUTSTANDING MADE FOR TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES 
American Horror Story: Freak Show – Lou Eyrich
Houdini – Birgit Hutter
The Normal Heart – Daniel Orlandi
Olive Kitteridge – Jenny Eagan
Sherlock – Sarah Arthur

EXCELLENCE IN CONTEMPORARY FILM
Birdman – Albert Wolsky
Boyhood – Kari Perkins
Gone Girl – Trish Summerville
Interstellar – Mary Zophres
Wild – Melissa Bruning

EXCELLENCE IN PERIOD FILM
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
The Imitation Game – Sammy Sheldon Differ
Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
Selma – Ruth E. Carter
The Theory of Everything – Steven Noble

EXCELLENCE IN FANTASY FILM
Guardians of the Galaxy – Alexandra Byrne
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – Kurt and Bart
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard, Jane Clive

EXCELLENCE IN COMMERCIAL COSTUME DESIGN 
Army ‘Defy Expectations, Villagers’ – Christopher Lawrence
Direct TV ‘Less Attractive’, with Rob Lowe – Mindy Le Brock, Jessica Albertson
Dos Equis ‘Most Interesting Man in the World Walks on Fire’ – Julie Vogel
Kia Soul Hamster Commercial Featuring ‘Animals’ – Anette Cseri
Smirnoff ‘The Mixologist’ – Laura Jean Shannon

The fantasy/period television category leaps out at me because every single one is outstanding when it comes to costume design (among other things) and the intricate detail that is delivered by these costume designers helps transport the viewer to worlds that have existed in the past or previously on the page. The main disappointment here for me is the absence of The Americans as Jenny Gering creates various personas for Elizabeth and Philip to adopt in their spy disguises while grounding them in their regular American family attire all without screaming “It’s the 80s!”

In terms of the contemporary TV offerings it is Lyn Paolo’s work on Scandal that has not only impacted the way we think about how powerful women dress, but there has even been an affordable clothing line featured on the show and available at The Limited so the audience can have a little bit of Olivia Pope’s style in their life. For this very reason I am disappointed to see Daniel Lawson’s work on The Good Wife missing from the nominees as Alicia Florrick’s work wear is just as striking and Lawson also has his own line (which albeit is not quite as affordable, more splurge levels of purchase).

Salvador Perez’s is the costume designer on a show which features another successful career woman, but Mindy Lahiri’s style is nothing like Olivia Pope or Alicia Florrick; however The Mindy Project is no less deserving and this is another huge omission for me. The same goes for the incredible costumes on The Honourable Woman and Ed Gibbon would be one of my choices for the TV movie/mini-series category. And there is no show that does serial killer tailoring quite like Hannibal; three piece suits and plastic bespoke kill suits shouldn’t go this well together but Christopher Hargadon has done just that. Plus he also does the lady power dressing well from Alana’s bold patterns, Freddie’s court attire to Bedelia’s silk blouses.

Congratulations to Jenny Eagan for the double nomination for True Detective and Olive Kitteridge. If only I could wear Zoe Kazan’s giant frames from the latter and pull them off.

Movie wise I don’t have too much to grumble about and The Imitation Game inspired TV Ate My Wardrobe to dip my toes into film costume design analysis; I have yet to see Inherent Vice and Selma (they are both on my list) but this is a strong category. Yesterday I watched The Theory of Everything and it covers all my 60s/70s dress and knitwear coveting areas and The Grand Budapest Hotel is striking in its heightened realism.

Trish Summerville created some of my favorite costumes in 2013 with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and her work was no less striking for a contemporary drama for Gone Girl as I’m still thinking about Amy’s black and white collar dress. Kurt and Bart took over from Trish Summerville on The Hunger Games and they showed how Effie can still be super stylish when all she has is drab grey and no wigs to work with.

Congratulations to all the nominees and I look forward to February 17 to see who picks up the awards.

For the nominees and winners from the TV categories at last year’s 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards head here.

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The Imitation Game’s Costume Design: What do Code Breakers Wear?

18 Nov

Film costume design analysis is a rare venture for this site (TV is in the title for a reason) and it is not because film doesn’t offer up plenty of talking points; The Imitation Game takes me into my first foray into movie costuming with a look at Sammy Sheldon’s excellent work. The muted tones we come to expect from a production that is set in World War II* are present, however there is actually a lot of color and pattern throughout showing this period as far more than the sepia/earth tones it is often portrayed as featuring an endless stream of. Austerity doesn’t mean a strict uniform of clothes and there are plenty of outfits worn by the women in The Imitation Game that would not look out of place today (someone start an Etsy store for the cardigans featured in this movie please). Some spoilers ahead.

*I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I have yet to see the TV show Bletchley Park (it’s on my list) and when I do I would love to do a comparison piece between the two.

The Imitation Game Alan TuringAlan Turing’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) introduction to Bletchley is in stark contrast to the man we see in the latter years of his life. A well put together and somewhat clashing tweed suit, Prince of Wales check shirt and Prince of Wales tie complete his interview look when we first meet Alan. The man we see during the later period is not interview ready as a bathrobe is part of his everyday attire and even when he is out in public his clothing is on the rumpled side; he is a broken man and as the narrative weaves between the three time periods (Alan’s schooldays, Bletchely and Manchester in the early 1950s) costuming is an indicator of his mental state and how barbarically he has been treated.

The Imitation GameWhen the first Imitation Game trailer was released the piece most coveted was Joan Clarke’s (Keira Knightley) cardigan, which looks like a code in itself.  This vintage item is one of the many patterns we see throughout the film and it is something Joan wears on more than one occasion (I can’t tell you how much I love it when costumes are repeated). Suit wise the guys all have their own distinctive style and levels of dishevelment are at varying points depending on how futile the code breaking task is at that point. There are a lot of long sleepless nights as they try to crack Enigma and Alan’s lack of tie/jacket/rumpled shirt are all indicators for how terribly it is going.

Imitation GameAlternately Matthew Goode’s Hugh is the most put together of the team, even when things have reached peak awful; the waistcoat and dark blue color sets him apart emphasizing his confident demeanor and alpha status (and as Joan points out that he’s a bit of a cad). Clashing tie/shirt patterns (sometimes in a three-way pattern off with suspenders) is part of the code breaker look with Peter’s (Matthew Beard) sweater vest looking much like Joan’s cardigan as a code of its own making. While some of Joan’s attire would look perfectly fine if worn today and not at all like 1940s dress up, the high waisted trousers and shorter ties worn by the men are very much of this time. Unless Her has predicted the future of male pants fashion. Tweed is very much Alan’s staple jacket choice and they all look like the academics that they are; chosen to be part of this very important top secret mission for their intellect.

The Imitation Game Keira knightleyOne person who isn’t from the academic field is Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong) and the double breasted pinstripe suit jacket has a way of demonstrating that he is a powerful man for a not yet know about organization and one of the key figures in this overall operation. Charles Dance is another commanding office and his military prowess is easy to convey through his uniform, plus he’s Charles Dance so it’s not a hard thing to sell.

The Imitation Game JoanBack to Joan and the main injection of femininity into the film and just because her clothing has a slight frivolous edge (polka dots and later Peter Pan collars) she is still a vital part of the team and Alan’s closest friend at Bletchley. The picnic scene (which I sadly don’t have a photo of) is another strong blue outfit for Joan and it is one you can see on display at Bletchley Park along with various other costumes and props from The Imitation Game. It’s also worth noting that most of Joan and Alan’s emotionally charged scenes occur when Joan is in blue; this is visual reminder of their bond. Joan’s hat game is strong and I’m wondering if this is something that can be pulled off in 2014.

Come award season (which we are currently dipping our toes into) Sammy Sheldon will hopefully be recognized for her excellent work as she has created not just one but three timelines worth of pieces (I haven’t mentioned Alan’s school uniform, but it does an excellent job of showing his traditional education and formative years). As I have already mentioned the pleasant surprise comes from how colorful Joan’s wardrobe is without detracting anything from her intellect or value to the Enigma breaking team. You can wear pretty clothes and still be a genius.

Julie Hammerle

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