American fashion icon Wallis Simpson once said that because of her plain looks “the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.”
That’s exactly what she did.
Today marks the 75th anniversary of King Edward VIII’s abdication of the throne so he could marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite – a decision that shook the British monarchy to its core.
In “W.E.”, the new Madonna-directed film about Ms. Simpson’s life, it was up to costume designer Arianne Phillips to transform actress Andrea Riseborough into a divorcée who, through social and sartorial charisma, caused King Edward VIII to abdicate his throne.
To create the 60-odd looks Ms. Riseborough wore in the film — not to mention the ensembles of all the other characters — Ms. Phillips 48, who has been collaborating with Madonna since her “Ray of Light” moment in 1997, did research at museums, visited vintage stores, culled from prop shops and designed several garments herself…
“You can’t help but feel a lot of responsibility and reverence for a true, real story.
At a certain point you have to research everything, digest it and then kind of spit it out and create this world cinematically.
My philosophy is: Trust the outcome, but really focus on the process. The first time I dressed Madonna, for the Oscars in 1998, not only was it loved and complimented, but also judged. I learned how things are received. If I let people’s opinions influence my work, I would never be able to do my work.”
Next up: creating costumes for Madonna’s coming tour and her new album.
Have a look at W./E. Official UK Trailer including the fantastic music of Abel Korzeniowski and Patrick Wolf’s “Time of my Life”…
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