The Post Trailer Debuts: Ann Roth sets the Tone

Costume designer Ann Roth, arguably one of the greatest of her craft still working in Hollywood, has costumed director Steven Spielberg’s latest The Post, and by the looks of this first trailer we are in for a muted treat:

What we have are gentlemen sporting classic collar points with moderate spread, sometimes short sleeve (always with a chest pocket – a very American touch) and medium breadth neckties. The occasional kipper, but this 1971 is a very different world than, say, The Deuce (costume designer Anna Terrazas).

Most of the male cast are are old school in their style of dress. The 1960s is far from leaving their wardrobes.

As Kay Graham, Meryl Streep gives perhaps the broadest hints as to the film’s era. She is an a position of wealth and power, which would have afforded her the latest fashions – as comparatively conservative as they seem here.

The seventies may have ushered in increasingly wide flared trousers and oversized lapels but it’s doubtful we’ll see much of those in The Post. Suits were purchased to last, so likely several years before, meaning most of the costumes will be rooted in the late 1960s. Consider the same situation with Mad Men (costume designer Janie Bryant) – most of the clothes in the first season looked more like they were from the 1950s rather than 1960, which is when the season was set. Of course they do. Trends do not turn on the decade and they do not turn in different locations all at once.

Blue seems to be a dominant colour for the costumes (and sets) in The Post, which has connotations of contemplation and powerlessness.

Women in the trailer are predominantly wearing subdued colours, befitting status and the tone of the movie. Most era specific fashions are reserved for Meryl Streep as Kay Graham, publisher of The Washington Post. Ann Roth is the master of defining periods – think of her work on Klute (1971) and Working Girl (1988) – a veteran pro who dresses characters, not stars. On this first look alone we are in for costume lesson in how to whisper not scream an era. It’s political 1971; blue and grey toned and devoid of flounce.

The Post is released on 22nd December in the U.S. and 19th January in the UK.

© 2017, Lord Christopher Laverty.