“It’s a little known fact that the costume designer is the most powerful person on a production,” actor Ike Barinholtz said Tuesday evening as he presented the award for outstanding period/fantasy television series at the 17th Costume Designers Awards at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel. Without missing a beat, his co-star on “The Mindy Project,” Mindy Kaling quipped, “Because they’ve seen us naked and they have the measurements to prove it.”
The jovial and laid back mood of the annual awards show, which gathers and honors costume designers working in film, television and commercials, was fitting for the creative professionals who are used to being behind the scenes as visual storytellers. Their collaborative spirit was apparent, as evidenced by the jokes, camaraderie and celebrity friends who came to honor several standout designers for their work over the last year.
That spirit was most evident when actress Patricia Arquette presented the distinguished collaborator honor to her “Boyhood” director, Richard Linklater, for his support of costume design and creative partnerships with costume designers.
“We often think that we can do everything as directors,” said Linklater. “But I don't know one director who thinks they can be a costume designer. There's no one, next to the actor themselves, you work more closely with to develop a character.”
“Boyhood” was a favorite topic of many of those in attendance.
“[It] was so interesting especially from the costume design point of view,” said Beryl Lacoste-Hamilton, granddaughter of Rene Lacoste. “It’s hard to know the essence of the era and having to do it over all these different eras is quite an amazing feat.”
Despite the chatter about “Boyhood” and its designer, Kari Perkins, it was “Birdman” costume designer Albert Wolsky who won the excellence in contemporary film category. Other notable honors included Milena Canonero for her costumes on “Grand Budapest Hotel,” Michele Clapton for “Game of Thrones” and Colleen Atwood for “Into the Woods.”
Deborah Nadoolman Landis received the inaugural Edith Head Award for the advancement and education of the art of costume design. In addition to creating the costumes for “Animal House” (directed by her husband and award presenter, John Landis), “Coming to America,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Nadoolman, the founding director and chair of the David C. Copley Center for Costume Design at UCLA, most recently curated the “Hollywood Costume” exhibit for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The exhibit has been in Los Angeles at the Wilshire May Company Building, the future home of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, since October of last year and will end its run on March 2.
There was no shortage of illustrious career highlights throughout the evening, but the most heartfelt tribute came from Harrison Ford who presented his longtime friend and costume designer, Aggie Guerard Rodgers, with the career achievement award.
Ford began his work with Rodgers when she designed the costumes for one of his first films, “American Graffiti.”
In addition to George Lucas’ 1973 coming of age film, Rodgers has created costumes for “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest,” “Return of the Jedi,” “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” and “The Color Purple,” for which she received an Oscar nomination.
“That's what you people do, the work that can't be done alone,” Ford said, as he addressed the ballroom filled with hundreds of costume designers. “A picture is worth a thousand words. A costume is everything.”