From Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette to the latest film of Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel, the Oscar-winning costume designer Milena Canonero depicts her life and career through her favorite shoes.
The 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 The Darjeeling Ltd., shot in India and then by The Grand Budapest Hotel shot in Germany. I enjoyed and appreciated working with Wes 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, as well as 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 that you are tied to or that evoke a particular memory?
A pair of high-heeled burgundy leather boots by Francois Villon. In Paris. Walking along the streets of Paris in love with my then-future husband 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.
Riding boots inspired by Meryl Streep’s style in Out of Africa, “aristocratic” flats in the style of Marie Antoinette and scarlet pumps a là Wes Anderson: discover the shoes inspired by three masterpiece films for which our Guest Curator Milena Canonero was the costume designer.
Heels by René Caovilla Boots by Alberto Fasciani Flats by Duccio Venturi Bottier