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Costume Round Up: Villains

This week we published Bonnie Radcliffe’s excellent article about the costume design clues in No Country for Old Men (2007), including a breakdown of psychotic hit man Anton Chigurh’s (Javier Bardem) sparse but never black attire among a sea of check shirts and cowboy hats. Chigurh stands out as much as he needs to (note the snakeskin boots) but really he dresses to fit in. Like all the best villains he is not aware he is the bad guy; to Chigurh he is just doing a job.

So in honour of Chigurh’s distinctive western jacket and polyester trousers, we have a round up of some of the best villain related costume posts at Clothes on Film. Don’t judge a book by its cover, but if you do meet a man in pinstripe resort wear with a boater, perhaps avoid staying for dinner.

Click the image to read the post.

The Dark Knight Rises_Tom Hardy coat full_Image credit Warner Bros.Pictures

Costume designer Lindy Hemming chats to us about designing Bane’s outfit for Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). That distinctive mask keeps Bane alive (well, anaesthetised enough to stay alive), but the most interesting parts of his costume come from its ‘cobbled together’ styling. The Swedish army shearling coat, the padded vest made from old tents and webbing, the military cargo pants – it all suggests a well travelled man with a potentially nasty past.


Part 2 of our essay on the costumes of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). Costume designer Jenny Beavan brings fiendish Prof. James Moriarty to the big screen via Jared Harris, “It was a sort of nutty professor type idea” she notes of Moriarty’s rather scruffy lecturer’s attire.

We Need to Talk About Kevin_Ezra Miller tee_Tilda Swinton_Image credit Artificial Eye

Mass murder comes in the shape of ironic tiny tees, skinny jeans and immaculate plain white sneakers. If nothing else We Need to Talk About About Kevin (2011) teaches us never trust a hipster.

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Further evidence that villains do not always wear black; Sharon Stone as knicker-less novelist Catherine Tramell. Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick tells us about the white wool crepe dress Catherine wears for THAT scene in the police station. This classic ensemble was featured at the V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibition and looked even more beautiful in real life.

Kind Hearts and Coronets_Dennis Price_resort wear minus boater.bmp

Sator from The Tailor and Cutter forum walks us through every single outfit Dennis Price wears as Louis Mazzini, the distant heir with murderous eyes on a dukedom in Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949). This is Edwardian period attire from a bygone age; every single costume is a masterpiece.

Live and Let Die_Yaphet Kotto_suede coat_front full length.bmp

“Names is for tombstones, baby!” – Yaphet Kotto as ‘Mr Big’ in Live and Let Die (1973). If there was ever a cooler suede trench coat on film, we don’t know about it. If you find one of these in a lovelies in a vintage shop, buy it and live in it.

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Costume designer Janty Yates discusses dressing Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Gucci and Armani threads for Hannibal (2001). “It was imperative to indicate Lecter was at the top of his game” she explains. Incidentally this was the first interview we ever conducted at Clothes on Film way back in June 2009. Thanks, Janty.

The Borune Supremacy_Karl Urban_linen shirt front top.bmp

“It looks wrong” notes Jason Bourne of hit man Kirill’s (Karl Urban) linen tunic shirt in The Bourne Supremacy (2007). Kirill is wearing what he thinks locals in Goa would choose, but actually he’s gone too ‘ethnic’. Costume designer Dinah Collin made Kirill stand out intentionally so Bourne could find him. It’s just a pity he didn’t spot him sooner…

© 2013 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.