Monday, January 3, 2011

Swan Quarters

Unless you've been living under a rock, or on an extended holiday vacation (in which case, good for you!), then you know that news about "Black Swan" has been breaking left and right.

Natalie Portman already holds a Golden Globe nom, as she darn well should. She rocked it out in the role of protagonist Nina Sayers, fully committing to the role- ballet lessons, weight loss, intense work-outs, etc. As of late, reports have surfaced that she's not only engaged to the film's coreographer but is also pregnant!

But, aiding Portman in her take on Nina, the amazing costumes in "Black Swan" undeniably play a wonderful supporting role.

Rachel Papo

Costume designer Amy Westcott ("The Wrestler," "Entourage") and director Darren Aronofsky ("Requiem for a Dream," "The Wrestler") brought on the talents of Rodarte's Mulleavy sisters to reinvent stale "Swan Lake" costumes. They claimed they wanted a fresh take on the classic ballet look and also needed a little edge to keep in line with the flick's dark side.

The designers' aesthetic fit perfectly. The Mulleavys looked to the Impressionistic artwork of Edgar Degas while adding their own high fashion twist- feathers, corseting and tulle to name a few. Their results are nothing short of fabulous.

NY Magazine

Inspiration from Degas

Inspiration from Degas

White swan/black swan sketches by Mulleavys

Throughout the entire film, and especially when the actors danced on stage, I found myself mesmerized by the wardrobe. Feathers swayed, sequins sparkled and tutus flitted. The virginal white swan appeared so ethereal and innocent while the seductive black swan invoked power and and an edge.

My Disguises

Jewel Box


Some of Rodarte's costumes spilled over off stage as well. Portman wore the most fabulous white Grecian gown I've ever seen during one part of the movie. While there are no still shots of this dress, the sketches below gives you an idea and it can be viewed in action on this reel. Winona Ryder also wore a stunning black Rodarte dress accented by silver lame, reminiscent of Rodarte's famous Hollywood glamour.

Nina sketches by Mulleavys

I cannot leave this post without mentioning the fabulous make-up in this film. All of the stage make-up played out flawlessly, but the black swan's iridescent eye make-up was by far my favorite look. It appeared so dimensional, complicated, stern and glamorous all at the same time.

Psychological thrillers may not be your genre of choice, but the art and elegance of this movie intrigued me from the start. A job well done to Westcott and the Mulleavys, not to mention Portman, Arronofsky and the rest of the cast and crew.

Now off to practice by tour jete...


  1. I literally gasped when I saw that white Rodarte gown you referenced. It is STUNNING...the neckline and the detail on the back were unforgettable!


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