Friday, April 23, 2010
Film Styles: Chocolat
Costume Designer: Renee Ehrlich Kalfus (other movies include: What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules and Pay It Forward)
If I can quote I Love You, Man... Chocolat... It's a beautiful movie. It's almost impossible to watch this movie and not be craving chocolate before the end credits start rolling. My best friend used to work at See's right next to a movie theater, and she said that when this movie came out they were packed every single night after the movie let out. But what's just as sweet as all the chocolate (cheesy segway, my apologies) is all the amazing costumes.
The movie takes place in a small quiet town in the 1960's full of conservative, church-going people who wear black shoes. Vianne does not. She wears pencil skirts, and off the shoulder tops, with red shoes and belts cinching her waist. There's even a point in the movie where her daughter, Roux asks, "Why can't you wear black shoes like all the other mothers?" Vianne is a strong, independent woman whose confidence shines through her clothes. I love the colors and the silhouettes of the retro 1960's pieces. On the dvd there's a great special feature where Renee, the costume designer, discusses how she came up with the different costumes for each character. She explains that the character Josephine is first introduced as an abused wife wearing frumpy, homely looking clothes. When she finally leaves her abusive relationship and becomes more confident in herself, her clothing starts to reflect that, some outfits even channeling sex symbol, Bridgette Bardot.
It's amazing how much a costume can really make a character and reveal so much of their personality. I secretly want to be Vianne. Own my own chocolaterie in France, stand up for what I believe is right, be strong and courageous... and wear full skirts with cinch waists. Ah, a girl can dream, right?