Costume designer Ann Roth’s template for Working Girl (1988, directed by Mike Nichols) is especially astute with regards to the social and geographical make up of its characters. Protagonist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) is a homely girl raised and living in Staten Island, New York. Currently working as a secretary in Manhattan (not ‘executive assistant’, reflecting vernacular of the time), as is her best friend Cynthia (Joan Cusack). Tess, however, has gained a degree through night school and harbours ambitions to use it for more constructive tasks than answering the telephone and fetching toilet paper for bawdy stockbrokers. After being set up for a ‘date’ that turned out to be…
Editor Chris Laverty explains how to ‘read’ costume on film. From an article originally published in Moviescope magazine.