We’ve been crazy about the costumes for Anna Karenina since the first stills were released, and it looks like we’re not the only ones: They’ve been nominated for this year’s Best Costume Design Oscar.
Costume designer Jacqueline Durran is behind the amazing wardrobe that brilliantly mixed Russian aristocracy with 1950s Dior couture. But this isn’t her first time at the rodeo; Durran has been nominated twice before, for Atonement and Pride and Prejudice–both of which, like Anna Karenina, she worked on with director Joe Wright and actress Keira Knightley. Hopefully the third time’s a charm!
We caught up with Durran to ask her about how it feels to be nominated and if she gets excited about red carpet prep:
Fashionista: What does it feel like to be nominated again?
Durran: It’s amazing. Someone has asked me if it becomes less extraordinary–it doesn’t; if anything, it becomes moreso. It really is about the honor, whether you win or not, when your costumes have been nominated among the best of the year–it really is incredible. We [all the nominated costume designers] met at the Hollywood Reporter round table, which is nice because when we meet again it won’t be for the first time.
How do you feel going into an awards show like the Oscars?
Nerves. Really incredibly nervous, like I’d rather be anywhere else apart from there! [laughs]
If you had to be judged based on just one look from the film, which would you choose and why?
The opening dress when she’s getting dressed with the maid and then goes off to see her husband. It’s grape colored, and I like how simple it is.
Out of the three films you’ve been nominated for, which has been your favorite to work on?
In a sense it feels like a progression. Pride and Prejudice was the first period film I’d worked on and it was a huge learning curve. Atonement had the whole army part, and the second World War in London part; it was challenging to have those different parts. Anna Karenina was an enormous amount of work to do on one film. Each one has been a challenge and I don’t really know whether I prefer one over the other. But it has been a progression and we’ve been refining what we do, which I’ve really enjoyed.
You once said you wouldn’t be interested in doing scifi, but one of the first films you worked on was Star Wars: Episode II…
I didn’t have to generate the ideas [for Star Wars], I was just the assistant so I was looking for fabrics to help make the costumes. I didn’t have to think up the costumes. My imagination just doesn’t really work in the direction of science fiction or superheros because it’s not really anything I watch.
Is there any style of film you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
Not really. I’m really interested in work where there’s reference for what people really wore. The further you go back in time, the more imagination is required. I like seeing what people did wear and stylizing it but I like to know how it was at the time first. Logically, there’s not real time for science fiction so I wouldn’t like it.
Do you ever get excited looking at someone else’s designs?
I love looking at other people’s designs. I love when they’ve done something so great, I think Colleen [Atwood] did fantastic work on Snow White and the Huntsman, with the medieval designs that look modern and beautiful–so often things like that don’t.
You have experience dressing Keira–would you ever design something for her wedding day?
No, I think that she always looks fantastic in Valentino. I would never take on the responsibility of designing someone’s wedding dress, it’s too important! [laughs]
There’s always so much prep put into getting actresses red carpet ready–have you started planning?
I’m having something made to wear to the Oscars. I hadn’t seen anything around that I wanted to wear so that’s why I have to make it… But sometimes the things you make don’t turn out the way you hope, so hopefully it turns out!