Celluloid Style: Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread took away an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Costume Design this year; we find out what makes it so deserving.
Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock wearing a bespoke raglan sleeve overcoat with large patch pockets in a herringbone wool by W. Bill, and made by Anderson & Sheppard.

Phantom Threadwas released on Christmas Day, 2017. Reportedly Sir Daniel Day-Lewis’ parting gift to the world of cinema, it came wrapped in swathes of silk and lengths of ribbon and hand-delivered by director Paul Thomas Anderson. The trailer tantalised with intimate close-ups of a couturier’s handiwork, electric tension between characters and the promise of a dangerous liaison. Alongside Vicky Krieps, who plays waitress-turned-muse-turned-lover Alma, Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock. A renowned couturier in post-war London with a personality that sets one’s teeth on edge, he’s a flawed genius whose manner swings from particular to petulant to cruel. But, like many of the most unpleasant men in cinema –American Psycho’sPatrick Bateman orA Streetcar Named Desire’sStanley Kowalski – he is also one of the best dressed. Unlike Bateman’s rigid Wall Street uniform and Kowalski’s barely-there workwear, Woodcock’s carefully selected wardrobe is quietly elegant and pointedly British.

Method actor Day-Lewis is famous for becoming intensely involved with his roles, so it was no surprise that he worked closely with costume designer Mark Bridges on Woodcock’s wardrobe. Instrumental in the process was Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard, who Bridges and Day-Lewis visited on several occasions. Together, they created seven bespoke looks for the film. “It evolved very naturally,” Martin Crawford, the store’s Front of House manager, toldThe Rake. “Mark and Daniel both had strong ideas, but initially the priority was to make the looks period-correct. For that, we cut the trousers with a higher, pleated waist and wider leg, and used much heavier cloths than you would today. There’s a dinner suit in 19oz barathea, which is practically overcoat weight.”


March 2018


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