When a hit movie comes out, the licensed Halloween costumes are quick to follow. This year, costumes from James Cameron’s Avatar and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 are sure to be just as big on the Trick-or-Treat circuit as the films were at the box office. But a lot of great movie costumes don’t make it to the consumer market. Here are a few picks that we’d like to see translated for those of us who don’t have Hollywood costume designers at our beck and call.
1. Zhang Ziyi as Sayuri – Memoirs of a Geisha
I’ll admit it – I’ve never been happy with costume kimonos that are available in the US. They’re pretty, but I’ve been to Japan and they just can’t match the appeal of the real thing. The costumes in Memoir of a Geisha may not be accurate in the strictest sense, but they capture the spirit of the kimono as no US kimono costume I’ve ever seen can. Let’s see some costumes inspired by Colleen Atwood’s beautiful wardrobe for this film!
2. Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine – Casablanca
The 1940s are an era that’s underrepresented in costumes, and that’s really a shame. The styles, silhouettes, and hairstyles exemplified in films like Casablanca are really due for a comeback, at least in costume form. Humphrey Bogart had two great looks in this movie that would translate well as costumes – his white shawl-collared jacket and bow tie as nightclub manager, and his trench coat and hat from the ending.
3. Keira Knightley as Cecilia Tallis – Atonement
Voted the best-loved movie costume only a few months after the movie was released, this green gown is almost a character in its own right. The 1930s tend to get overlooked in the costume department in favor of 1920s flapper costumes, and this is a huge loss for fans of historical fashion. Like the 1940s, the 1930s deserve to be revisited in costume form, and this gorgeous green gown would be a great place to start.
4. Tilda Swinton as the White Witch – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
No other witch is quite as chilling as Jadis, the White Witch from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Her gown with its unique, stand-out neckline, combined with a crown of icicles and a white fur stole, create the perfect personification of unending winter. I know this would be a tough costume to get just right, and to do so, it’d probably have a hefty price tag. But I think it’d be worth it.
5. Clint Eastwood as The Man with No Name – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Western gunslinger never looked better than Clint Eastwood in the Man With No Name Trilogy of westerns from the 1960s. Today’s cowboy costumes could learn a lot from this instantly recognizable costume masterpiece. This costume captures the gritty, black-and-gray morality of the old west in a way that a cowboy hat, Holstein-print vest and a pair of chaps never can.
6. Nicole Kidman as Satine – Moulin Rouge!
I’ll admit that the glittering costumes worn by Nicole Kidman as the courtesan and performer Satine probably wouldn’t flatter my figure, but they capture the imagination none the less. The glitz and glamor of a bygone era come to life in this musical (along with the darker side of the time), and the costumes take center stage. It’s really hard to pick just one to feature here.
7. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy – Pride and Prejudice
The 1995 BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice launched a revival in interest in all things Jane Austen, and the performance of Colin Firth as the hero Mr. Darcy can probably take a great deal of credit for that resurgence. The style of menswear today can be traced back to the Regency period and Beau Brummel, who pioneered the “dandy” style of the early 1800s exemplified here. And if Colin Firth is any indication, this style of costume is still making women swoon 200 years later!
8. Takeshi Kaneshiro as Zhuge Liang – Red Cliff
Zhuge Liang was a legendary strategist during the Three Kingdoms period of China, a turbulent era of warfare when many heroes became legends. The story of one epic battle of this period was told in the film Red Cliff, which features many gorgeous costumes including gowns, imperial robes, and period Chinese armor. I’m not sure if they’re 100% accurate to the era they’re depicting, but the costumes sure do look good! I chose Zhuge Liang for his iconic look, but there are many other great costumes to choose from that provide a nice change from the typical Chinese costume that you’ll find in a costume store this Halloween.
There are a lot of great costumes in film, and I don’t have room to list them all here. Are there any other movies that you’ve seen lately and thought, “I’d love to wear that costume?” Have you ever tried to recreate your favorite costume from a film or TV show?