How the Oscar-Nominated ‘American Hustle’ Costumes Swung Onto the Screen
The cast of 'American Hustle' (Sony Pictures)
From the moment we got a first look at the unique wardrobe stylings and coiffure on display in the award season darling "American Hustle," it became a talking point. From Christian Bale's comb-over to Jennifer Lawrence's reality star-inspired look to Bradley Cooper's permed hair to Amy Adams' plunging necklines, people were talking about this film's style then and have been talking about it ever since.
Unsurprisingly, one of the film's 10 Oscar nominations is for Best Costume Design. Yahoo Movies recently caught up with Michael Wilkinson, the film's costume designer and first-time Oscar nominee, to find out the story behind that uniquely swingin' 1970s vibe. Here's what you should know about the electric looks of "American Hustle."
It's all about silk and synthetic fabric. Loads of it.
"Some of the textures we enjoyed on 'American Hustle' were the beautiful silk jerseys and the chiffons of the Halston-inspired clothes that Amy Adams wears, the Ultrasuede as well, very sensual fabrics," Wilkinson explained, aside from the truckloads of polyester. "It was definitely the most contact I've ever had with the polyester fiber, I can say that in all confidence [laughs].
"It was fascinating gathering all of the clothes for this movie. As you can imagine, we had a huge warehouse full of authentic clothes from the '70s in order to dress hundreds of extras and secondary characters, not to mention the principal characters, so we processed and prepared hundreds of costumes. There's something so exuberant and expressive about clothes from the '70s that just really appeals to me, a sense of fun, the prints are loud, the fabrics are stiff, the lines are exaggerated, it was a pleasure to be around them."
So is there a trick to getting polyester to move?
"I don't think there is actually [laughs]," Wilkinson said. "I don't think polyester moves. I think polyester has a mind of its own."
Jennifer Lawrence's first fitting was the quickest, and Amy Adams's the longest, while Christian Bale's involved the least amount of clothing.
"What keeps me fascinated is that every actor has their own process of finding clothes and exploring costumes for their character," Wilkinson said of his first fittings with the principal cast. "So for example for Ms. Lawrence, we had very limited time with her because her schedule is so crazy. But thankfully for me she has this amazing, intuitive relationship to clothes that she can look at three racks of clothes and pull out the two or three things for each scene which is the perfect choice. She's very swift with her choices and it was fun to have this different approach to costuming. It was less, very immediate and energetic and fun."