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Time to get your Vogue face on, because today we’re looking at the bright and colorful world of costume design. This week the 20th annual Costume Designer Guild Awards were handed out, with flicks such as 'I, Tonya' taking home the prize of Excellence in Contemporary Film.

Phantom Thread: All the past Oscar Best Costume Design wins and snubs

Time to get your Vogue face on, because today we’re looking at the bright and colorful world of costume design. This week the 20th annual Costume Designer Guild Awards were handed out, with flicks such as I, Tonya taking home the prize for Excellence in Contemporary Film, while The Handmaid’s Tale won in the TV category.

Elsewhere, in the 2018 Oscar race the nominations include Beauty and the Beast, Victoria & Abdul, The Shape of Water, Darkest Hour, and (unsurprisingly) Phantom Thread. Who’s in line for nabbing the golden statuette? Who knows? Do you even care? Maybe not! Nevertheless, perhaps you’d like to join us on a journey through the most exciting Best Costume Designs snubs, wins, and WTFs in Oscar history.


Colleen Atwood

Memoirs of a Geisha (2006 Oscars)

For Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha, Atwood had just five months to create hundreds of detailed Japanese costumes. As such, she painstakingly studied books, museum exhibits, and worked with consultants in both the States and Japan to verse herself in the secluded world of the geisha. And by the looks of things, it paid off.

Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1995 Oscars)

This dramedy road movie is an absolute triumph for costume designer Tim Chappel and his co-designer Lizzy Gardiner, who created the iconic frocks worn by actors Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce, and Hugo Weaving. The story of three drag queens travelling through the outback screamed for a wardrobe of creativity, and girl – did they deliver!

Theodor Pistek

Amadeus (1985 Oscars)

From 80s sass to Viennese class, Pistek delivered the most OTT of headpieces for this historical comedy drama about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce). The designer’s attention to detail is what really bagged him the Oscar – he even travelled to Vienna & Salzburg to hand pick the fabrics!

Milena Canonero

Barry Lyndon (1976 Oscars)

Canonero has won four Oscars for her costume design work, including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Chariots of Fire, and the one we’re here to talk about – Stanley Kubrick‘s Barry Lyndon. For this historical drama, Canonero carefully picked out genuine antique clothes, while having others custom-made specially for the film based on clothing represented in period paintings.

Piero Gherardi

La Dolce Vita (1961 Oscars)

In Federico Fellini’s groundbreaking film, Gherardi introduced the world to Italian fashion, style, and elegance. La Dolce Vita is an interesting picture to analyse because of Gherardi’s equal emphasis on the costumes for both female and male leads. As such, every scene could be viewed as a beautifully styled photograph, continuing to this day to influence costume designers & photographers alike around the globe.


Catherine Leterrier

Coco Before Chanel (2010 Oscars)

You would’ve thought that a film detailing the life of a young Coco Chanel (Audrey Tautou) would almost definitely nab an Academy. But alas, Leterrier lost out to Sandy Powell for her work on The Young Victoria. In this case, fashion royalty couldn’t compete with actual royalty.

Chung Man Yee

Curse of the Golden Flower (2007 Oscars)

It’s kind of maddening to think that Yee’s gold-laden costume design – which involved a daily session of three to four hours of hair, makeup, and dressing for each actor – didn’t make the cut back in 2007. Instead, Milena Canonero took the trophy for her work on the Renaissance-themed Marie Antoinette. Fair deal? We think not.

Dante Ferretti

Kundun (1998 Oscars)

In the case of Ferretti’s Best Costume Design nomination for Martin Scorsese’s Tibetan-based drama, unfortunately his efforts were sunk by Deborah Lynn Scott’s work on Titanic. It’s okay though – Ferretti went on to have his golden moment three times over for The Aviator, Sweeney Todd, and Hugo.

Anna Hill Johnstone

The Godfather (1973 Oscars)

The Godfather has been hailed “the greatest movie ever made” many times over, but back in 1973 it wasn’t enough for Johnstone to take home the prize for his presentation of the iconic Italian-American fashions. Instead Anthony Powell took home the gold for his contribution to Travels with My Aunt.

Morton Haack

Planet of the Apes (1969 Oscars)

He might’ve created the iconic ape suits for Franklin J. Schaffner, but Haack still lost out at the 1969 Oscars to Danilo Donati’s creative design for Franco Zeffirelli‘s Romeo and Juliet. It seems you can’t deny that those montagues & capulets rocked some killer threads.

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