In standing up for Sunday's non-Oscar winning movie costume designers, the Guardian's Tim Walker speaks to the challenge of their stage counterparts as well. The dirty little secret being that the most challenging and costuming assignments are often the contemporary stories--not the attention getting period pieces, or "costume dramas."
File this under the old adage popular among all "behind the scenes" artists, both designers and directors-- "if the audience can see your work or becomes too conscious of it, you're not doing it right."The job of dressing contemporary characters has its advantages, but it has its challenges, too. In a period drama, let alone a fantasy, it's far easier to convince the average viewer of a costume's plausibility. Most will have no idea when the ruff went out of fashion, or when pantyhose first went on sale. They can spot, however, when someone is too old for a hoodie, or too posh for trainers.
The Costume Designer's Guild has its own awards each year, with one prize for contemporary costume design, another for period design, and a third for fantasy. Far be it from me to suggest the ceremony go on any longer than it already does, but surely the Academy ought to acknowledge the same distinctions?
Actually, I personally don't mind some intrusive style myself sometimes. But not a bad mantra.
What think you, costumers?