Always pushing her creativity, Arianne Phillips often takes breaks from film to design theater, music videos, and concert tours, as well as styling print work and cover shoots for fashion magazines like Vogue Italia. “It’s kind of a path cleanser,” she explains. “I’ve gone out of my way to work across genres, so I can be choosy with the films I do.” The breadth and scope of her career is astonishing. “One project leads to another, leads to another,” says Phillips. This versatility has not gone unrecognized. She has garnered eight nominations and a win from the Costume Designers Guild Awards, in addition to nominations for three Academy Awards, two BAFTAs, and a Tony. She will be honored at the upcoming Venice Film Festival with the Campari Passion for Film Award, which celebrates important artists who contribute significantly to the success of a film. Phillips also wrote and directed a short fashion film for Prada and styled a brand film for Gucci. She started out styling Lenny Kravitz and collaborated with Madonna for over two decades. She’s quite the superstar herself.
Phillips used color and silhouette as her entry point to create the film’s utopian community set in the late ’50s to early ’60s. “When I design a period film, I always love a mixture of made-to-order and the real thing. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of originals from this time period that are in great shape.” Shooting during the pandemic proved to be challenging. Not many vendors were open and with borders closed, garments could not be purchased from overseas. “Luckily, we were working at Western Costume Company. Eddie Marks and his assistant Kristen Ann were fantastic. We built many costumes in the workroom. We also had an incredible pattern-maker/fitter Joanne Mills from Local 705 building in-house.” A large portion of Harry’s and Florence’s wardrobes was custom made. For vintage garments, Phillips used rentals, online sources, and vendors who set up racks outside Western’s bungalows. “It looked like a flea market outside,” she laughs. The costume department included assistant costume designers Rudy Mance and Monica Chamberlain, and supervisor Susie Freeman. “Rudy taught me how to use Keynote. The ability to make mood boards digitally gave me a new way to express and create depth of character.”