Arianne Phillips, the Oscar-nominated costume designer for "W.E.," is one of the fashion industry's most beloved figures. Arianne and I first met in 2000 when I was working at ELLE and she was styling Madonna for the February 2001 cover. My first mistake was calling her at 9AM EST...she was fast asleep in L.A. She graciously pointed out the time difference, and then we proceeded to discuss what she wanted for the shoot. When I asked her how she got her start she chuckled and said, "Let's get coffee some time, it's a long story."
A long story indeed. Phillips has 18 films and countless music videos under her belt. She is most well-known for her costume design in "Walk The Line" and "A Single Man" as well as her work with Madonna over the past 15 years (she is responsible for everything from the tawny looks in "Ray Of Light," to her turn as a disco queen for her 2006 "Confessions" tour). Phillips started her career working with the likes of Lenny Kravitz and Courtney Love, whom she transformed from a slip-dress wearing rocker to a Galliano-clad star.
Photo Credits: Getty Images
Art Courtesy of Bobby Doherty
The Oscars are fast approaching and the spotlight is planted firmly on Phillips and her costume design in Madonna's directorial debut "W.E." She took a quick timeout to answer some questions for us, including giving advice to aspiring stylists and costume designers, and who she thinks should helm Christian Dior. Scroll down to see a gallery of Phillips' body of work, which is nothing less than impressive.
After years of working with Madonna, we guess you've learned a lot from the pop icon. What do you think she has learned from you?
That fittings are a pain in the ass.
What would you say to young people who want to get into costume design?
Study everything: art history, photography, geography, history, politics, writing, music, art, film -- everything applies.
Travel and read alot. Be flexible, be hungry, listen and research.
Your quote about the "one-year-rule" in the piece Stylelist did on you last year is one to live by (anything you haven't worn in the past year must go). Are there any pieces that you don't wear but can't bear to part with?
My Rick Owens jackets from his first collections before he moved to Paris and my original Dr.Martens boots I brought back from London in 1985.
In your opinion, who would be the perfect designer to helm Dior?
What is your dream project? Do you ever think of becoming a designer yourself?
As far as becoming a designer...I am driven by story, narrative and illusion that is costume design and styling for film, performance and print. However, I am soaking up lots of information consulting for various fashion brands and do think I have something to offer. I am not willing to give up my day job just yet, and I just haven't had the time to develop...someday,maybe.
My dream project would be a great script with great characters, great directors, great actors with character transformation and takes over a vast span of time both historical to futuristic...something like "Orlando." I loved that film, and the costumes were divine.
What are your thoughts on the adage, "Dress your age"?
I don't limit myself to thinking in a such a way.
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