"The Hidden Thread" and the inspirations of costume designer Mark Bridges
A dive into the London haute couture of the Fifties, through a story in images capable of revealing the meticulous work behind the creation of sophisticated cut clothes made with precious fabrics, in some cases unique. There are over 50 original dresses, almost completely handmade, created for "The hidden thread" (2017) a film written, directed and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson which tells the story of a talented and eccentric couturier and his muse, declined through the garments he created.
«Each dress is different: some are cut on the bias, others straight, others still have a train», costume designer Mark Bridges explained in a featurette of the film, who won an Academy Award for best costumes for this film, repeating the 2012 victory for "The Artist". The production also reclaimed an antique Flemish lace from the 17th century, which was used to create the stunning mauve satin gown worn by co-star Alma Elson (Vicky Krieps).
Mark Bridges and P.T. Anderson together created the figure of the whimsical stylist Reynolds Woodcock, played by a masterful Daniel Day-Lewis (who took lessons from Mark Happel, costume director of the New York City Ballet) to learn the art of tailoring), inspired by legendary stylists from fashion including Balenciaga, Hardy Amies, Edward Molyneux and Victor Stiebel. To make it all the more believable, the characters of Nana and Biddy (Sue Clark and Emily Brown), two of Woodcock's senior employees, are played by two consultants from the Victoria & Albert Museum.
The dresses that parade on stage are in fact the result of careful research at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design in London and therefore inspired by real couture dresses from the 1950s. Between flared skirts, meters of lace, clouds of tulle, petticoats and bustiers, the director and costume designer recreated not simple costumes but the elegant setting of the high society of the time, offering a privileged "behind the scenes" view of the high fashion of the times.