BY AMBER KELLY-ANDERSON
My husband has a rule when we see a movie together: I cannot begin to dissect it until at least 30 minutes after the final credit rolls. He is under the impression that all my responses to film are intellectual and critical (both positive and negative). I let him believe that, but I will admit that under the layers of analysis rests a little girl who loves the movies and sometimes is only thinking, “It’s so pretty!” In that spirit, my selections for the Best Style Films of 2012.
3) Anna Karenina
If one is going to be an adulterous, tragic, Russian heroine, one might as well do it in style. A Joe Wright-directed project starring Keira Knightly, as dressed by Jacqueline Durran, is going to be a gorgeous affair (see Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, the latter of which features a green dress that might be one of the best in recent cinema). Anna Karenina does not disappoint with its period costumes and rich colour palette. Durran captures the turn of the century with opulent flair: the furs, jewels, and oh-so-coyly tilted hats are enough for the ticket price. Add in some low cut gowns that scream tortured love and let the visual feast commence.
2) Snow White and the Huntsman
Charlize Theron made her name as a serious actress by downplaying her looks (think Monster and North Country). Colleen Atwood then must have relished accentuating rather than camouflaging the stunning blonde in Snow White and the Huntsman. Oscar may elect to tip its hat to another Snow White film’s costumer with a posthumous nod for the immensely talented Eiko Ishioka; however, Atwood’s colour and texture story are stunning and should not be overlooked. Theron’s Ravenna is the most entertaining aspect of the film, in part because both she and Atwood are unleashed. Bejewelled, befeathered, and bedecked in beautiful yet terrifying pieces, she is both sinister and stunning, at one point wearing a dress trimmed in bird skulls. Now that’s fashion forward.
1) The Hunger Games
Think The Hunger Games is about kids killing each other for sick entertainment? That’s only part of the story. Aside from the aesthetics, fashion is its own theme in The Hunger Games: Katniss, after all, becomes a person of interest in the games only after Cinna remakes her The Girl on Fire. Throughout the novels, many plot points are built around fashion and particular garments (think of the interview dress which reads red carpet one minute and whirling dervish of danger the next). Costume designer Judianna Makovsky manages to stay true to the book’s style narrative while creating a complex visual world that is both alien and familiar, such the depression era style of District 12 in contrast with the colourful frippery of the Capital (like Elizabeth Banks’ disgustingly chic Effie). Bonus points for dandifying drunken Haymitch and making Cinna even cooler.