Top positive review
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Not the only book you should buy about costume design, but probably the best.
on 25 July 2012
As costume designer for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Coming to America, Burke and Hare, plus many other well known titles, in addition to former two-term president of the CDG, academic scholar and now museum curator, Deborah Nadoolman Landis is ideally placed to write FilmCraft: Costume Design. She has created an essential reference guide for students, aficionados, and really anyone with an interest in the world of costume design.
The introduction itself is gold. Six pages of describing the role, responsibilities and misconceptions of costume, also delving into the relationship between costume designers and their directors. Several filmmakers collaborate with the same designers over and over again, e.g. Ridley Scott and Janty Yates, Paul Thomas Anderson and Mark Bridges, and the Coen Brothers and Mary Zophres. Beyond the introduction, FilmCraft: Costume Design is compromised of 16 interviews with present day costume designers and 5 legacy retrospectives. The interviews are a thorough analysis of each designer's way into the craft, their process, thoughts on the industry and feature some fascinating anecdotes. Yvonne Blake's tales of costuming Christopher Reeve for the first Superman film for example. Apparently Reeve got so warm in the hero suit that sweat patches formed under his arms; she had to constantly dry the skin-tight fabric with hairdryers.
There is plenty of coverage for contemporary costume designers too (more than period) and films currently in production. Sharen Davis talks about her work on Quentin Tarantino's western Django Unchained. Also how she built her own website for director Rian Johnson so he could view costumes for upcoming sci-fi thriller Looper on his iPhone.
I cannot recommend this publication enough. It functions as both a way into cinematic costume and fan reference for anyone who already knows the craft. This is certainly not the only book you should buy about costume design, but it is probably the best.