This year they decided to highlight a profession that is often overlooked but is one of the most important aspects in film making. This award has existed since 1982 and this is the first time it has been given to a costume designer, namely one of the most celebrated in her field: Milena Canonero. Born in Turin, Italy, she studied art, design history and costume design in Genoa and quickly moved on to London where she met many directors such as Sydney Pollack, Francis Ford Coppola, Louis Malle, Roman Polanski and Steven Soderbergh.
Her first major work was for Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange in 1971. This movie leaves a lasting impression not only due to the plot but also due to the strange but striking clothing of the characters. Her concept for this film, since it was a loss of innocence, was that the boys should be dressed in white clothing. These white suits with black hats, that the characters wore, leave a lasting impression. Her second film was again a Kubrick film called Barry Lyndon, for which she won an Oscar film in 1975. Her second Oscar was Chariot of Fire in 1982. Her third Oscar was for Sophia Coppola’s Maria Antoinette in 2006 and finally the last film was The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014. She has also won BAFTA awards for the film Chariots of Fire and The Cotton Club in 1984.
She often uses sophisticated concepts to create a new idea. For example, she based the costumes in The Godfather on the Renaissance or she chooses to use only three colors or puts together unusual color combinations such as red and purple in The Grand Budapest Hotel. She has also been nominated for five Oscars as well. She has also designed costumes for stage plays and the opera. Her designs are based on historical research but she always takes the art a step further by creating details that make the characters unique but does it in a very subdued way.
She is a woman of many talents. She has recently directed a commercial and is now working on a documentary on Piero Tost. I personally am waiting to see a documentary on her since she is capable of wearing many hats at one time and could inspire the next generation to come.