Costume Round Up: Any Colour so long as it’s Black

The international trailer for The Wolverine was released this week. From a costume point of view the most interesting thing in it was Hugh Jackman wearing an awful lot of black. In the context of the story his character travels to Japan and falls in with a Yakuza clan. Black suits, shirts and ties are the unofficial uniform of the Yakuza, a look largely adopted from Hollywood gangster movies. The use of black in costume design denotes mystery, death and for want of a better word, ‘coolness’; it is as obviously symbolic as sexy red or cold blue.

To honour The Wolverine and his tendency to layer black on black (and black on black) we have compiled a list of the most interesting posts centred around this colour at Clothes on Film. As usual click the image to take you to the article.

Malèna_Monica Bellucci_black_hat front

Monica Belluci as Malèna, a woman punished not so much for her beauty as for refusing to deny it. She wears black when in mourning for her husband and it only serves to draw men to her apparent sexual availability.

Breakfast at Tiffanys_Audrey Hepburn holder, George Peapprd_cap

The LBD defined on film as the ultimate in chic. Audrey Hepburn’s black dress, as costumed by Edith Head, is one of the most famous movie outfits of all time. In fact there are two black dresses worn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, for the opening scene and the cocktail party sequence. Both were provided by Hepburn’s go-to fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy.

The Hangover_Justin Bartha_tux.bmp

The cool black suits (tuxedos really) donned by The Hangover boys during the finale of the first movie. Here we have a complete rundown of all the outfits worn in The Hangover including exclusive insight from the film’s costume designer Louise Mingenbach.

Grease_Stockard Channing_Summer Nights Lying Down Black Outfit.bmp

Unofficial leader of the Pink Ladies clique, Rizzo (Stockard Channing), chooses black as her signature colour throughout Grease. In fact she only wears the famous Pink Ladies bomber jacket once, casually slung over her shoulders like a cape. Rizzo’s every act is one of defiance.

Nikita_Anne Parillaud_black dress_side kitchen.bmp

The little black dress and high heels worn by Anne Parillaud in La Femme Nikita redefines the ensemble’s use in cinema. It marks childish Nikita’s transition to adulthood, but more importantly it is literal battle armour – an ironic twist on perhaps the most impractical outfit in any woman’s wardrobe.

Reservoir Dogs_Tim Roth jeans, Harvey Keitel suit mid

The classic gangster uniform for Reservoir Dogs celebrated and parodied by costume designer Betsy Heimann and director Quentin Tarantino. This look was deliberately chosen because, according to Heimann, Tarantino wanted to “pay homage to the French New Wave”. Not all the ‘Dogs’ are in black suits though; both Mr. Pink and Mr. Orange actually wore black jeans.

© 2013 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.