Colleen Atwood: First Costume Designer to Receive CFDA Award

Colleen Atwood accepts the Board of Director's Tribute at the 2013 CFDA Awards

Colleen Atwood accepts the Board of Director’s Tribute at the 2013 CFDA Awards

For the first time in its history, the CFDA honored a costume designer at their annual awards ceremony. The honoree? One of the biggest names in Hollywood: Colleen Atwood. And though you won’t ever see her get top billing on a blockbuster ad anytime soon, her work, which spans decades and genres alike, is almost instantly recognizable.

Every year, the CFDA chooses an individual to receive the Board of Director’s Tribute, a special award that has been given to the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama (2009), Tom Ford (2004) and posthumously awarded to Alexander McQueen (2010). Previously, awards were given for Lifetime Tribute, Industry Tribute and more, but the awards roster was cleaned up and the first Board of Director’s Tribute Award was handed out in 2003.

Atwood is the first costume designer to receive the award, but even before she clutched Trova, the CFDA Award statuette, her resumé already bore the marks of a movie industry veteran. She’s earned three Oscars for her work on Alice in WonderlandChicago and Memoirs of a Geisha; numerous BAFTA Awards, many Costume Designers Guild Awards, Emmy awards and more.

Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands

Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha

 

Atwood’s body of work is marked by complex, layered costuming — she’s had a longstanding relationship with Tim Burton, known as one of the movie industry’s most meticulous directors. From her work on Edward Scissorhands to Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland, she’s shown that she can go goth, but gaily. But it’s not just the world of Tim Burton that has her stretching her creative muscles. Period pieces, such as Chicago and even Memoirs of a Geisha required Atwood to work within certain boundaries, whether she was glamming up Roxy Hart’s fantasy dance sequences while still retaining the film’s historical accuracy or delving into the near-impenetrable world of Japanese geisha.

Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago

Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago

Renee Zellweger in Chicago

Renee Zellweger in Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For her next act, Atwood moved away from the silver screen — though we know she won’t be gone for too long — and onto the Big White Way with the Broadway debut of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Truman Capote’s beloved novella took the stage, with Emilia Clarke — better known as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones — playing the role of Holly Golightly. And Atwood took the responsibility of outfitting one of the most iconic women in showbusiness.

Emilia Clarke as Holly Golightly

Emilia Clarke as Holly Golightly

Atwood didn’t remix the famous Hubert de Givenchy evening gown, however, because the play took Holly back to the ’40s, where the novella is originally set, instead of the swinging ’60s of the Hepburn film. Instead, Atwood focused the attention away from the fashion to the play’s slightly edgier take on Golightly.

“Holly herself has more of an edge, I think. She’s much sexier in a less sleek fashion-y way,” said Atwood. And by less fashion, she means that instead of big designers such as Givenchy, Atwood is putting the focus on Holly’s character — she who parties and entertains gentlemen, not the Hollywood Holly with her glam getups and perfectly coifed hair.

Colleen Atwood sketches for Breakfast at Tiffany's

Colleen Atwood sketches for Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“I really wanted to capture the youth of the time and how the energy of the young people all coming to New York to make their way during the war years,” Atwood said in an interview. “Girls going shopping for a dress for the night and entertaining men in ways that weren’t really spoken about. It’s just got a little more of an edge to it.”

And while the play ended its run, Atwood is also splitting her time  between a ballet in San Francisco and, of course, working on feature films and television shows — and getting more and more award nominations in the mean time.

Images courtesy CFDA, Sony Pictures, Miramax, 20th Century Fox, NYDN and BroadwayWorld 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.