October and November have arguably been the busiest months for movie theaters since the start of the pandemic. One of the films that has captured the hearts of moviegoers is Edgar Wright’s new horror venture Last Night in Soho. The movie, which was an extremely fun and frightening time-traveling ghost story about the dangers of glorifying nostalgia just hit digital on Friday, and arguably one of the film’s strongest aspects is its endlessly stylish aesthetic. To celebrate, Focus Features released a video on their YouTube channel to show off the insane amount of effort that went into each costume.
The featurette hosted by fashion expert Joe Zee starts off with actress Anya Taylor-Joy who plays Sandie in the film reflecting on her experience saying:
One of my favorite memories of Last Night in Soho was Matt, Thomasin, and I all doing the dance sequence. That was so much fun. I’m wearing this insane pink dress which is quite amazing as it's made of flowing Chiffon, but it was beautiful and made me feel classy. As an actor it is all in your head until you put on your costume. It helps you believe, it helps you leave the outside world behind. It’s magical.
The video then highlights some of the most iconic costumes of the film. Zee first starts off simple with the gray sweatshirt jacket that Thomasin McKenzie’s Eloise wears the first night she travels back to the past. He joked saying:
I’m going to highlight this and I know you are all looking at me saying ‘Joe that’s not a costume, that’s a hoodie’. You’re wrong. This is a costume because a costume tells a story and the first time we see Eloise walking in London in the 60s she’s wearing this hoodie, but someone at the ball slides it off her shoulders like it was a feathered cape. That really showed the contrast of the two eras and also the two characters.
Then Zee discusses the white “Mac” trench coat worn by both Taylor-Joy and McKenzie. “Everything about this is emblematic of today and of the 60s. The white, the patent leather, the structure. Inspired by a lot of the 60s designers like Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin, but also incredibly modern in the way that many kids would be able to wear it today.”
This leads Zee to talk about the main outfit of the film worn by Taylor-Joy, the peach dress. “The very first time we see Anya Taylor-Joy cascade down the stairs she is wearing this wisp of a dress that is beautiful and coral and chiffon that flowed behind her almost like a dream.” That moment is one of the highlights of the film and Taylor-Joy in that moment transports you into the past through her effortless demeanor/timeless look. He continued by saying:
It looks so simple, but it is incredibly well designed. If you look at it there are tiny pin tucks around the neck, the silver beading detail, even the tiny bow all true to the era. Every little tuck and detail that is done around this neckline is what gave it it’s movement and the movement is what became that character.
Zee then interviewed Odile Dicks-Mireaux, the costume designer of the film, who added:
I was very worried about how much Chiffon I would need to do. I did not want to have too little, but not too much. And to do that dress is not as easy as you think. When she went on the dance floor and did what she did with it I just thought ‘you’re my dream’. You’ve made the dress work and she was always up for that. Always making the clothes work. Wonderfully collaborative in that sense once you gave her the costume she went ‘yeah I can do this’
They then also talked about how it is harder to design contemporary costumes when compared to period-piece attire which makes you rethink films set in the modern day. “When you see a good contemporary film I’m always full of admiration. I have a very good young assistant who was just out of college,” Dicks-Mireaux said. “She pretended that I was her aunt and we went into the art colleges and I used to sit there and we would literally look at what they were wearing and see the variety of looks. And then we would go out and shop and buy a combination of clothing and put some looks together to then show Edgar.”
We, as the audience always think it is harder to nail down a past time period when it comes to clothes, but just like how a person who was alive in the 80s can point out inaccuracies in a film set in that era, young people of today's world can do the very same thing with films set in modern times. She went on to talk about McKenzie’s Eloise saying:
“You got to believe that she is this young fashion student. So we did decide that she should be quite neutrally colored when she dreamt herself back into the 60s, but when she went to fashion school I had to contrast her with the four other girls.”
This brought the conversation to the striking colors of the film where Dicks-Mireaux stated, “Edgar is not afraid of color which was very exciting so I looked at … a lot of Julie Christie, a lot of films of the period, you know that Edgar wanted us to look at. I think we were very much trying to get color into the scenes without distracting from Anya.” This led Dicks-Mireaux to joke saying, “nobody else was allowed to wear peach.”
One of the last costumes to be discussed was the memorable newspaper dress worn by McKenzie at the very start of the film. “Edgar wrote the newspaper dress so that was it. It was Edgar's idea. I had a fantastic maker on board. Once we went for an idea and Edgar went ‘go with it’ she created some little maquette.” Dicks-Mireaux said. “Once he chose the style he liked we then made it for Thomasin so she could move in it and see how it worked and really visualize it.” She ended by saying, “ that was interesting finding out that newspaper is actually a very good material to make a dress out of.”
Zee ends the video by saying Last Night in Soho is, “the perfect example of how you take something in a movie, make it about the costume, but make also really about the character.” Costumes can become their own characters if done well enough and add so many new compelling layers to a character that were not there already. This film’s attention to detail reminds us that we can tell so much about a person's character just by the way they dress and the costumes in this horrific ghost story only adds to the pure terror of its dark themes. Like a photo, clothing reflects the past and influences us towards our futures.
Whether it is Taylor-Joy’s peach dress or something as basic as McKenzie’s gray zip-up sweatshirt, this film’s intricately woven fabrics tell a rich unforgettable tale. It makes fashion a living nightmare. The video goes into many more costumes in great detail, like the sharp suits of Matt Smith’s Jack and Taylor-Joy’s red dress, but for insight into those deadly designs, you can watch the full video down below:
From 'Da 5 Bloods' to blood-suckers.
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