A film about Manolo Blahnik, Vivienne Westwood, and me

Lifestyle

A film about Manolo Blahnik, Vivienne Westwood, and me

‘You’re such a chameleon, you don’t have a style yet, so you absorb whatever environment that you’re in’

Beth Webb

Designing costumes for a film based upon the life of its director is no light task, especially when reflecting events as complex and devastating as those in The Souvenir.

The film is the semi-autobiography of filmmaker Joanna Hogg. Onscreen she is Julie (played by Honor Swinton Byrne, in her big-screen debut), a film student new to her 20s who strikes up a tempestuous relationship with Anthony (Tom Burke), an elusive, quietly troubled older man. Tilda Swinton (real-life mother to Honor, and Hogg’s close friend) plays Julie’s mother, Rosalind.

Though tethered to a specific point in the early 1980s, the looks that costume designer Grace Snell created for the film seem to transcend era. “It was a conscious decision to go nowhere near the stereotypes of the 1980s,” she explains. “We were working off of Joanna’s personal Polaroids, and what struck me was how they could have been from the 1940s, or they could’ve been modern day. They were timeless, and I knew instantly that I wanted to capture that.”..

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