Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Congratulations, Milena Canonero

People think it must be fun to wear all those beautiful clothes that costume designers provide actresses with. I've always loved working with the costume designer but wearing the clothes is another matter. Milena is a perfectionist and if you work with her you know that your clothes will be authentic to the period, right down to the underwear. Which brings us to Cotton Club, where Milena and I met. Imagine wearing stockings rolled up with wire bands like ladies did in the twenties. Imagine wearing them for up to eighteen hours a day. For a modern woman who loves her jeans and comfort, this takes alot of getting used to. Nevertheless, with Milena in charge, you will look and feel the part and the era day and night, which can give a tremendous boost to an actors performance. So she deserves alot of credit and the Oscar many times over. These awards are highly political. If they were a bit more democratic she would have many more. See her credits for yourself!
This is the dress Milena Canonero designed for me to wear in the scene where I come to the Cotton Club to confront my husband, Dutch Schultz (played by James Remar) about his mistress (played by Diane Lane). This is a bias-cut dress, beautifully executed by John Schneeman. At that time, bias-cut clothes had been out of fashion for many decades and very few people knew how to cut or make them. This was an amazing example of the style. The fabric and the cut gave the dress a kind of liquid movement. It is one of the few costumes I have ever wished I could have kept. You can also see that I am holding new script pages. Changes happened by the minute on that film but I always knew what I was going to be wearing and that it would be perfect for me. The photo is a production Polaroid.

Photograph of Milena Canonero by Lisa Jane Persky. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

M. C. Valada said...

When the announcer listed the designer's credits, I turned to Len and said, "Oh, she must have dressed L.J. in Cotton Club." That's a great dress. My sister (much thinner than I) snagged a bias-cut dress from my mother's closet many years ago. There is nothing quite like the way they fit. You look great in that photograph.

Blog Archive