A film talk by Silvia Vacirca
Although period dramas these days are typically criticised if ‘historically inaccurate’, costuming the past in cinema amounts to much more than merely capturing historical dress and styles in exacting detail. In showing the look of the past, films inevitably display our own relationship with it. This talk will closely examine some of cinema’s most extravagant examples of costume drama, including Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) with costumes by Eiko Ishioka, or Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (1962), with costumes by Piero Tosi, and contrast them with the more historically ‘disciplined’ films such as the more recent Jackie (2016), with costumes by Madeline Fontaine, or Carol (2015), with costumes by Sandy Powell. Above all, the talk will address the sometimes conflicting demands for historical accuracy on the one hand, and engaging a contemporary audience on the other.
Silvia Vacirca is a fashion and media scholar at Sapienza University in Rome. She is a contributor to L’Officiel Italia and Rivista Studio.