Saturday, March 14, 2009

~Bewitching Causal

I love the funking mix of vintage & new in the movie Bewitched. To me this is a great Sunday Spring afternoon causal outfit. Perfect of checking out the bookstores & putting a spell on everyone you see.

Bewitched costume designer Mary Zophres disparate influences for the wardrobe in Bewitched were a mixture of historical and current.
“Of course, I watched a lot of episodes from the original series and pored through research books, says Zophres. “I re-watched some of my favorite movies like Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s because I wanted Nicole’s character to look classic, beautiful, timeless and some of my references were Audrey Hepburn, Jean Shrimpton and Jean Seberg. I also perused tons of contemporary fashion magazines because, after all, it isn’t a period piece and we wanted the clothes to appear modern and fresh. But, in its own way, it acknowledges a TV show from the 1960s. By looking at past and present motifs, we melded the two.”

Part of the challenge was not just to create a wardrobe that evoked Isabel’s quest for normalcy, but also to adapt it for Kidman, one of the film world’s most famous fashion icons. Also, Isabel’s wardrobe had to contrast with what she wore as the character of Samantha on the TV show within the movie.

“Nicole has become a fashion icon because she is statuesque and everything she wears looks unbelievable,” Zophres explains. “In this movie, we tried to counter that somewhat. Basically, we wanted her to look fabulous, but not in the fashion runway/red carpet sense. The very first thing I said to Nora when we talked about Nicole was, “I think she should look adorable, and I mean that with a capital A. Like you just want to go and give her a hug.”

“Often, because of her silhouette, the way she moves and the couture clothes, the first adjective that comes to mind about Nicole is sophisticated,” Zophres continues. “A lot of that also is because of the darker colors and deeper tones she wears, which seem very urban everything Isabel is not. So we decided to keep her in a lighter color palette, not just pastels, but softer hues, often a neutral paired with a lighter color. We also added feminine touches, like embroidery and beading or a fuller skirt. There is also a tomboyish, unselfconscious, thrown-together quality to Isabel’s wardrobe - a pair of Levi jeans and a sweater from Express, a vintage-style cardigan and Capri pants and sneakers. I was always happy when the girls in the office said that whatever Nicole was wearing that day was cute and asked where they could buy it, even if we’d made it ourselves.”

When Isabel is playing Samantha, on the TV show, Zophres chose to coordinate her wardrobe. “Everything was a little bit more matched, more perfect. She wore proper shoes, not sneakers, or if she wore sneakers, they were Keds. Towards the end of the movie, as reality and fantasy start to blend, the two styles also merge.”

With Ferrell, Zophres’ challenge was to transform his famous comic persona into that of a romantic lead. “Our goal with Will was to dress him as a leading man. Whenever we were in a wardrobe fitting and the clothes looked like they could be funny, we got rid of them. He doesn’t need the clothes to make him funny. To make him more of a romantic lead, the clothes we chose were more urban, a darker palette. And as he becomes aware of his feelings for Isabel and becomes a happier man, we interjected more color.”

Ferrell’s look in the movie, Zophres adds, evolved as the production moved forward. “Will was a total trouper. We brought in a lot of clothing because we knew there were certain times he would wear suits and others when he’d be casual, but we always wanted him to look effortlessly stylish. Luckily, we found the best suit on the first try. Still, we went through two or three other racks just to be sure. But the silhouette of Dolce & Gabbana fit him very well and the look was perfect for Jack, because it’s fashion-forward and hip. Then we tried to find the perfect jeans and, again, the winner was the first pair he tried on, a pair of Lucky Brand jeans. We also used some Prada pants and some nice Autumn cashmere pullover sweaters.”

Appropriately enough, the most outrageous outfits were for Shirley MacLaine, as both Iris (the actress) and Endora (the role she plays in the TV series), which evidence a flair for the dramatic.

“Shirley’s costumes really pushed the envelope,” says Zophres. “Nora wanted her wardrobe to be as flattering as possible and we all wanted to pay homage to Agnes Moorehead as Endora on the original show. So, we tried to make her pieces over-the-top yet flattering and attractive. She mostly wore bright, jewel tones, lots of chiffon, lots of feathers, - basically, a lot of drama including high or pleated collars, fanned sleeves, bustles and trains. While Nicole’s character spends the movie trying to blend in, Shirley’s wants to stand out, to always be the center of attention. We achieved that mostly through style, color, beading and fabric.”

While MacLaine’s outfits appear complicated and ornate, they were all “jerry-rigged,” says Zophres, because she liked to get dressed quickly. “It’s almost as if we were quick-change dressing someone backstage in the theater because Shirley doesn’t like a lot of fuss. We relied a great deal on Velcro.”

MacLaine, who began her career on stage and still has the bearing of a professional dancer, made the most of her costumes, wafting her feathers and twirling her long sleeves and capes with a theatrical flair.

Michael Caine’s costumes were classic, very British Saville Row. “With Michael, I had this image of men you see in Europe who no matter what their economic status, possess amazing grace and style,” notes Zophres. “I remember my uncle and his friends in Italy who all wore their jackets over their shoulders, walking down the Via Venetto with such panache. That stuck with me, and when I read this script and saw that Michael Caine would have several walk and talks with Shirley, that image returned. Nora loved the idea and since he’d be wearing his coat off the shoulder, we also got to see the linings sometimes. We found this amazing lining fabric from Sulka in New York and from that we were able to piece together the rest of the wardrobe quite effortlessly. All of it was custom-made here in Los Angeles with fabrics from England and Italy. I was able to pre-plan every change according to the intent of the scene. Michael is such a courteous and elegant man. He has a great spirit, so it was a real pleasure to dress him.”

Bewitched is Zophres’ first collaboration with Nora Ephron, who became an immediate fan.

“Mary is a costume designer who can really do an amazing range of projects,” says Ephron. “Everyone remembers her clothes from Something About Mary, and if you saw Intolerable Cruelty, you remember everything Catherine Zeta-Jones wore. Those are very contemporary costumes and in many ways they’re harder to do than period clothes. The wardrobe at the end of The Ladykillers is one of the great costume episodes I’ve ever seen, so real and so charming. She cannot only do contemporary and for a wide variety of characters, but she can also be very witty without being jokey. “


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