Monday, 16 October 2017 11:03

The Costumes of Bram Stoker's Dracula

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Japanese visual artist and designer Eiko Ishioka (1938-2012) is best-known for her work on Francis Ford Coppola's film  Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992.

Her amazing work on Coppola's film won her an Oscar. What's interesting about this pairing, is that Tokyo-born Ishioka originally trained in advertising before developing her unique eye for patterns and detail and, she and Coppola met when Ishioka designed the Japanese poster for the film Apocalypse Now (1979). Her work also spans into set design, costumes and promotional materials for operas, album covers, music videos and movies, working with such artists as Miles Davis, Björk and Tarsem Singh.

Remember those other Dracula movies where Bela Lugosi and Christoper Lee were shown wearing the infamous black cape and first-class evening wear? Me too; but Ishioka allowed her imagination to run wild and she brought the Count played by Gary Oldman to life, through wardrobe... and, she really succeeded.

 Check out this crimson suit of armour ...

Amazingly creepy; like flayed muscle with a helmet shaped like a wolf's head. In the show, this character Vlad Tepes  is supposed to have come from a battle against invading hordes from Turkey; so, obviously the suit is not based upon any histoical, but she conjured up such an incredible imaginitive look.

Somehow, in spite of the character looking horrible and ravaged, the robe lends an Old World elegance to the scene. I love the obvious oriental design elements Ishioka uses - especially the silk fabric and gold embroidery.

... or gown, with mysterious symbols and jewels as decoration. Keeping those ritualistic elements that totally give us the creeps.

 And for the woman in his life ...

19th Century gowns are relatively true to the period, but Ishioka is still able to add distict character traits; making sure the neck is nice and open for the count's fangs...

Once bitten ... and laid to rest, only to rise

Sunglasses? Why not?

Ishioka is brave to play with chronology and modernize Dracula - so, the sunglasses make perfect, practical sense. Love the steampunk-flavoured charcoal top coat, waistcoat and matching hat ...

But the holiday fun isn't over just yet, lets tune in for more wardrobe detail ...


Thanks to Joe Sommerlad and The Independent, and Costume Co. If you enjoyed this Blog, current Tutorial, Tips and Tricks or Bloopers,  I invite you to rate it on the ratings bar, after clicking on the Read More cue. The ratings show me the subjects you enjoy the most; providing direction to areas of most interest to you. Thanks for reading, and, Happy Monday. Rae 

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The Costumer's Notebook,

The book The Costumer's Notebook is a 295 page comprehensive handbook for Costumers for stage and film including a full Glossary of stage and film industry terms. Sections include methods and tricks for laundry, dyeing, breakdown, Dresser guidelines and protocols for Stage or Film and various size charts for men and women from shoes to gloves. Other Sections include diagrams showing How to Iron A Shirt, How to Tie a Tie and How to Tie a Bow Tie. Costume fittings, costume lay out and costume storage are also discussed.