Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread is the widely anticipated new film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as fictional 1950's British fashion designer, Reynolds Woodcock . The film has been nominated for a raft of awards and everyone is talking about sumptuous original costumery realised by Mark Bridges, Oscar-winning costume designer.

Bridges and Anderson credit legendary fashion designers Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hardy Amies, Edward Molyneux, and Victor Stiebel as the inspirations behind Woodcock and his creations, and the details and authenticity of the costumes sound impressive.

Apparently, Day-Lewis apprenticed himself to the New York City Ballet’s costume director to learn the skills and mindset of a couturier. By the end of his training, he was able to make a perfect recreation of a mid-century Balenciaga…

Bridges’s research took him to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. “We were really fortunate to be able to go into the museum’s archives, to look inside garments, to see how they were made, to see what fabrics were used.”

Two of the guides who oversaw Bridges’s research in the V&A had, in previous lives, worked at London couture houses. Not only did they share useful details about how a mid-century British couture house functioned (you did not socialise; you got the work done), but Anderson also cast them in the film. Look out for Sue Clark and Joan Brown as they appear as Biddy and Nana, two of Woodcock’s more senior employees.

I love the sound of the costumes, the detail and period setting but … Anderson’s previous films  Boogie Nights, There will be Blood and Magnolia boast  a swathe of misogyny wide enough to make a couture gown from so, I’ll go and see the film, but with shields up…