Our latest Guest Curator of shoescribe.com is Steven Noble, costume designer for one of the most anticipated films of the summer, The Two Faces of January. Set in Greece in the 1960s, the film, an adaptation of the novel by Patricia Highsmith, portrays Kirsten Dunst in a very elegant character.
We’re delighted to have Steven, who designed costumes for films such as Wuthering Heights, Trainspotting and The Beach as our very first male Guest Curator for shoescribe.com. We were particularly inspired by his lavish vintage creations for The Two Faces of January; in fact, Steven’s top picks for shoescribe.com evoke a 1960s-elegance flair yet still appeal to a contemporary audience.
Sandals by René Caovilla Lace-ups by Robert Clergerie Pumps by L.K.Bennett
What was your creative process like when putting together the wardrobe?
I designed and styled the costumes for The Two Faces of January. The costumes for the three main characters (Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, and Oscar Isaac) were specially made. I had an extensive research and preparation period reviewing original fashion magazines, films, Internet resources, etc. of the period, which was the early 1960s – a very exciting and directional period in fashion coming out of a repressed economic climate into a new and exciting decade.
How did you go about choosing the shoes for Kirsten Dunst’s looks?
All of Kirsten’s shoes were custom made. They were based on original designs which were adapted, and materials and colors which were chosen to compliment her outfits.
How closely did you work with the actors for the wardrobe?
I always enjoy meeting the actors as soon as possible to engage in brainstorming sessions together – we toss ideas around about the characters, and they inform me of what they might see as important considerations for me to understand. Designs are sketched, fabrics are sourced, fittings are scheduled and from there we develop what works and what doesn’t. What you finally see on screen is the result of a long collaborative process.
The most stimulating challenge of your career?
All of my films have had their own challenges, which have stretched me creatively in their own unique ways. I was particularly inspired by 24 Hour Party People; it spanned over 3 decades and was set in the past, but still recent enough for people to remember (Manchester, 1976-1997), so accuracy was important. For Never Let Me Go we had to design the whole film timelessly; i.e., without reference to any particular era. For Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson only had two costumes; these had to have a “high street” look to be practical and sexy while the main costume she wears for most of the film absolutely had to be iconic and still look so in years to come. In Two Faces it was down to authenticity while still making it look fashionable, sexy and appealing to a contemporary audience.
You are our very first male Guest Curator – in your opinion, why do women love shoes so much?
It was a great honor to be asked to be your first male Guest Curator. I think even when a woman isn’t feeling her best, a good pair of shoes can make her feel infinitely better. This raising of esteem of course has historical roots: while it was easier in the past to make your own clothes and look good, shoes had to be bought and were therefore a sign of affluence and status. High heels can create the sense of having longer legs, elegant stature, poise and grace. All shoes can make or break any outfit.
Do you ever notice a woman’s shoes? Do you feel they say something about a person?
Of course I notice women’s shoes – it’s my job. Like all items of clothing, shoes as part of a wardrobe tell a story about a person. They can be classic, quirky, eccentric, etc.; we can tell if someone is playful, seductive or conventional – or prefers practicality over creating an impression. Likewise we are hardwired, in a very sophisticated way, to subliminally “read” and make assumptions about people according to how we interpret the “message” they are creating through their wardrobe.
Most memorable shoes in a film?
I would have to say Judy Garland’s ruby slippers!
Best shoe care tip you’ve ever come across?
While on holiday in Italy, I accidentally left a pair of very uncomfortable new shoes out in the garden overnight. When I found them the next morning, they had softened in the morning dew and were a dream to wear forever after – I’ve done this on several occasions since.
DISCOVER OUR SELECTION OF SHOES INSPIRED BY THE FILM