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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black Swan Costume Controversy

Sometimes Twitter is great.  It is excellent for getting news as it happens, but it's also excellent for drowning in a sea of ill-informed statements.  It's like watching Jeremy Kyle if he could only shout in 140 characters at a time.

Case in point; the news that the Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte would not be credited if the film was nominated for Best Costumes (which... it wasn't).  People mass tweeted that Rodarte had been snubbed and that they hoped that costume designer Amy Westcott would hand over the Oscar to the Mulleaveys when Black Swan won (er, pre-emptive much?).

One of Westcott's original designs for Nina, via Clothes on Film

What I don't know about costume design in film could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. I do know, however, that it takes an army to do good costuming, which Black Swan has in spades.  Designer Amy Westcott gave a very insightful interview to Clothes on Film (read it!), which not only explores the process of designing for a film, but also details exactly how Rodarte made their contribution.

With all the negative press that Westcott has received, she's understandably a bit defensive when it comes to Rodarte, saying that "Controversy is too complimentary a word for two people using their considerable self-publicising resources to loudly complain about their credit once they realise how good the film is".

I might be missing something here, but since when did the Mulleavy's come out and complain about their credit?  Did they release a statement or quote that they were angry or felt snubbed?  I haven't seen a single article concerning the supposed snubs that involved a reporter or blogger talking to a Rodarte rep? It would seem that the media have created this controversy all by themselves.  Westcott is totally justified in defending herself and her work, but an unsupported attack on Rodarte's motivations only serves to diminish her.

The story is still evolving, so what do you think?  Is this a storm in a teacup or are Rodarte secretly PR evil geniuses?