Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

And the award goes to: 11 style winners (and losers) from this year's Oscar race

From the lavish sets and costuming of The Great Gatsby to American Hustle's madcap Me Decade mise-en-scène, fashion, beauty and design featured prominently on the 2013 silver screen. With the Academy Awards upon us, Globe Style shines a spotlight on the good, the bad and the ugly (not to mention the toothy, smelly, combed-over and overpermed) from this year's nominated flicks.

Party central

Yes, The Great Gatsby’s costuming (which inspired real-life spinoffs by Brooks Brothers) and jewellery (outfitted by Tiffany & Co.) got a lot of buzz, but it’s the ultra-extravagant bash that Jay Gatsby throws in his Long Island mansion at the beginning of the film that really sets the action in motion. Reminiscent at times of a giant Busby Berkeley production, the soiree, at which narrator Nick Carraway and a cast of thousands are introduced to the grandiosity (and elusiveness) of their mysterious host, effectively establishes the tone for all the excess (and empty promises) that follow. Contrasted with Gatsby’s later attempt to woo old flame Daisy with a pretty little tea party, it makes his ultimate failure to do so all the more poignant. – Danny Sinopoli

Viva glam

The feisty transsexual with a heart of gold borders on cliché, but supporting-actor nominee Jared Leto inhabits his role as HIV-positive Rayon in the Reagan-era AIDS-and-drugs drama Dallas Buyers Club so fully – and with such panache – that he breathes fresh life into the stereotype. This is quite an accomplishment considering Rayon’s glam-rock look is also shopworn. Perhaps it’s the wide range of style icons reportedly channelled by Leto and his costume and makeup designers – everyone from Twiggy to the Warhol actress Jane Forth to 1980s rock queen Pat Benatar – that makes it so intriguing. In any case, both the actor and his dressers hit us with their best shot – and won. – D.S.

That's Italian

In The Great Beauty, the spellbinding foreign-language nominee from Italy, aging Roman gadfly Jep Gambardella (played with world-weary élan by Toni Servillo) makes his way from party to art happening to yet another party in a series of sumptuous linen suits and a profound state of ennui. Jep’s wardrobe, peppered liberally with gelato shades like lemon and persimmon, is both whimsical and ridiculous, suggesting his irredeemable slavishness to fashion as well as the sweetness that sets him apart from the cynical grotesques (hello, Fellini!) around him. Against the backdrop of his decaying metropolis, his end-of-life urbanity and his fashion choices are both incredibly sad and, well, greatly beautiful. – D.S.

Scent of a woman

“It smells like flowers, but with garbage!” While this may not sound like an endorsement or, indeed, appealing, American Hustle’s big-haired, loud-mouthed Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) is so intoxicated by the perfume of her exotic nail-polish topcoat that her unbridled enthusiasm had many viewers of the film intrigued as to whether such a product really exists. Leave it to the Internet sleuths: An intrepid blogger at swears the topcoat in question is Colorfix by the Swiss beauty brand Mavala. – Maggie Wrobel

My, what big teeth you have

In a film overrun with scantily clad, perfectly formed female physiques, it’s no small feat that a set of pearly whites were the most memorable body part in The Wolf of Wall Street. For the role of debauched stock broker Donnie Azoff, Jonah Hill was outfitted with a set of disturbingly white, oversized falsies (so large Hill spent several hours a day practising speaking with them) that steal the scene whenever Donnie breaks into a self-satisfied smirk, which is often. And while Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, the titular beast, it’s Donnie who snatches an employee’s goldfish from its bowl, opens his gnashers wide and swallows the poor creature whole. Carley Fortune

Woman on the edge

In Blue Jasmine, a disgraced Manhattan socialite suffers a steep fall from grace after her fraudulent-financier husband is jailed. As Jasmine’s descent into madness deepens, her designer duds remain the only relics of her former life, while endless vodka cocktails (“God, who do I have to sleep with around here to get a Stoli martini with a twist of lemon?!”) become her sole tonic. In this film, product placement isn’t just rife, but relevant to the plot. It’s a testament to Cate Blanchett’s acting that we end up caring about such an entitled, self-deluding character. – D.S.

What freedom looks like

Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave) has it made: He’s living a comfortable life in New York State with his wife and children. His freedom is evident in his wardrobe – velvet jackets, top hats and well-tailored shirts. A violinist, he accepts a short-term job with a travelling carnival, then wakes one morning to find himself in shackles, wearing the clothes from his previous night on the town. After being beaten, he’s offered a scratchy tunic by his kidnapper and removes his shirt – the last vestige of his freedom now in bloody tatters. – C.F.

Room with a viewpoint

Loneliness is a central theme of Spike Jonze’s dystopian comedy Her, about sensitive Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and his love for a digital woman. To convey it visually, the writer-director and his long-time production designer, K.K. Barrett, built sparse sets that hint at emptiness but without the doom and gloom. “This is a pleasant, soft future where everything is designed to everybody’s personal taste,” Barrett told Fast Company. It’s especially evident in Theodore’s apartment, which is dotted with sleek furnishings in soothing pastels – and the odd pop of blood orange. – M.W.

Dressed to kill

William Chang Suk-ping spent four years working to make Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster the stylish kung-fu epic it is. As the costume designer, production designer and editor on the project, Chang (who is from Hong Kong and attended film school in Vancouver) and a team of 30 designers created more than 1,000 costumes, fastidiously collecting historically accurate fabric, lace and notions; they also constructed elaborate facsimiles of China from the 1920s to fifties. Chang’s meticulous attention to detail is perhaps best showcased during the icy train-station fight, for which he constructed a full-sized replica of a Manchurian terminal. In the scene, Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi) wears a stunning cheongsam gown that flies open with every kick and a fur-trimmed coat that ripples with every blow. – C.F.

Best tressed

American Hustle is about a 1970s FBI sting operation that brought down corrupt politicians with the help of a con artist (Christian Bale) and his partner in crime (Amy Adams). It’s also about hair. The film’s hair director, Katherine Gordon, created updos for Jennifer Lawrence’s unhinged housewife that always seem on the verge of coming undone. As duped mayor Carmine Polito, Jeremy Renner’s preposterous pompadour is as solid as his family values. Sydney (Adams) uses her bouncing waves and disco curls to embody her alter ego, Lady Edith Greensly. In the opening scene, Bale fashions his much-talked-about comb-over. And in the film’s best gag, Bradley Cooper sports a set of pink rollers – American Hustle’s version of Cooper’s garbage-bag jacket in Silver Linings Playbook. – C.F.

The two faces of Carey Mulligan

Playing shallow, effervescent Daisy in The Great Gatsby, Carey Mulligan is swathed in French lace, fur stoles and jewels, her hair cropped in a chic 1920s blonde bob. In Inside Llewyn Davis, she plays 1960s Greenwich Village folk singer Jean, who wears next to no makeup, keeps her bangs long enough to hide behind and has a penchant for turtlenecks. You know you’re watching a real movie star when Jean’s understated style is as captivating as Daisy’s extravagance. – C.F.

Page 1 2 3Next

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to