It was the 9th nomination and 4th award for the extraordinary costume designer Milena Canonero, winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Costume Design for The Grand Budapest Hotel. “Thanks to the Academy and thanks to Wes,” she said on the stage of the Dolby Theater.
In honor of our former Guest Curator (a special guest of shoescribe.com in September 2014) we’re re-publishing the interview we conducted with Ms. Canonero, in which she recounts her life and career.
Grand Budapest Hotel marks your third collaboration with director Wes Anderson. How has your relationship evolved professionally?
Our first artistic meeting was when Wes asked me to design the costumes for The Life Aquatic, shot in Italy. This was followed by Darjeeling, shot in India and then by The Grand Budapest Hotel shot in Germany. I enjoyed and appreciated working with Wes Anderson because he is wonderfully stimulating and creative.
In a recent interview you affirmed that the “style of any character must have its own ‘raison d’être’”. This is particularly relevant for the characters of Wes Anderson, strongly characterized by their looks, but also for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and the main character of Out of Africa. Which was the most difficult character to dress of your entire career?
To arrive at the essence of a character through his look is never easy because it is a gradual work-in-progress; a process starting with the concept of the movie. It is very gratifying when one succeeds to create an unforgettable look that is also in harmony with the rest of the movie.
A past film that you particularly enjoyed designing costumes for?
Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. First of all because I love working with Francis and also because I was passionate about the subject of the movie.
Sadly when Francis had asked me, I was already committed to another project.
A director you would like to work with?
A director who has a vision.
How do you define your personal style?
What does your shoe collection reveal about you?
A passion that creates harmony not only aesthetically but also physically and psychologically.
Is there a pair of shoes to which you are tied to or which evoke a particular memory?
A pair of high-heeled burgundy leather boots by Francois Villon. In Paris. I was in love with my then-future husband and I felt tall and sexy.
Your most memorable “cinema-chic” shoes?
Any of the shoes that Ginger Rogers wore when she so lightly and elegantly danced with Fred Astaire in their memorable films.
Your “Oscar shoes”?
I did not attend the event for my first Oscar as I was traveling through India. My shoes for the second Oscar for Hugh Hudson’s movie Chariots of Fire were by Manolo Blahnik. And for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette they were by Prada.
A word of advice on shoe care?
Keep them in shape.