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The Cool Decadence of Clothes on Film

An interview with founder and editor Chris Laverty

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The Cool Decadence of Clothes on Film

Clothes on Film editor Chris Laverty, whose sumptuous website is truly a must for costume design aficionados and pros alike.

Photo courtesy of Chris Laverty.

Prepare for a treat with Clothes on Film, which is the visual equivalent of a rich and decadent soufflé. The sumptuous images on this website will provide aspiring designers with a wealth of inspiration within seconds of your first mouse click.

Created by Chris Laverty in order to examine "costume and identity in the movies," Clothes on Film offers images as well as examinations and discussions, in some cases, of some of the most gorgeous costumes in film and television, from the cool perfection of Grace Kelly, Bond, or "Mad Men," to the eclectic warmth of The Big Lebowski or The Royal Tenenbaums.

With a spare, elegant yet bare-bones organizational style, Clothes on Film's website can be somewhat confusing to navigate, because the huge amount of information it offers isn’t always apparent at first glance. However, it’s worth the effort to do a little digging, as the sheer wealth of imagery and information on arresting modern film costumes in movies of every conceivable style and budget is sure to bowl you over.

“What fascinates me about costume design is that it can tell a story either integrated or independent of the narrative,” says Laverty. “It can be overt or sub-textual, visible, obscure, purely for display or ripe for analysis. Once you start taking notice of costume design on film, it opens up a whole new world of interpretation.” The site also offers rare interviews with industry A-listers like Colleen Atwood, as well as insightful analyses of iconic costumes ranging from Breakfast at Tiffany’s to the Alien films, to current titles ranging from The Tourist to Tron Legacy.

Laverty’s all-time favorite costume? A plain white t-shirt on James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause: “Masculine, exposed, pure,” he comments. “It is the epitome of male sexuality. Much like Dean himself, in fact.”

From James Dean, to Harry Potter to The Hangover, Clothes on Film provides a sleek and seductive way to while away an hour or two -- and you'll leave with a far greater appreciation for the art and craft of the costume designer.

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