During our recent webcam chat (watch above), “Nocturnal Animals” costume designer Arianne Phillips divulges that director Tom Ford, a man known for his immaculate personal style, “sets the bar really high” in terms of her own work. This Focus Features release stars Amy Adams as Susan, an art gallery owner shaken by her ex-husband’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) violent novel about a man’s (Gyllenhaal) desperate search for the man who killed his wife and daughter. While reading the book, Susan comes to terms with events from her past that led to the breakup of their marriage.
The veteran designer previously worked with Ford on his debut feature, “A Single Man” (2009). While the two films couldn’t be more different in terms of content, she finds they are connected by themes of “isolationism and alienation and self-reflection.” Much like George Falconer (Colin Firth) in “A Single Man,” Susan has “outwardly all the trappings of a successful life” yet on the inside is “fraught with turmoil.”
For Phillips, the idea of costumes is “to inform the character, and to move the story along, and help create tone and texture and mood.” At the same time she believes, “It’s my responsibility to give a tactile experience for the actors,” one that, “can catapult them to a time and a place,” and help them, “aesthetically access their characters.”
Phillips has twice been recognized by the Academy Awards with nominations for “Walk the Line” (2005) and “W.E.” (2011). Will she win her first Oscar this year? Check out our full interview above for more about her work on “Nocturnal Animals.”
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