Spencer – The Art of Costume Blogcast

Spencer – S2 Episode 25

Today is the day! The Art of Costume Blogcast is back with the first episode of season two! In this week’s episode, our co-hosts Elizabeth and Spencer reunite and talk about their holiday breaks! Then, it’s time for more brilliant costuming. We are watching the new Princess Diana film, Spencer 👑 Listen along as our co-hosts discuss Kristen Stewart’s wardrobe, pearls, a dress that looks like soup, the mischievous Timothy Spall, and Academy-Award Winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran’s many collaborations with Chanel.⁠s. here

The Art of Costume Blogcast

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Show Notes: Spencer

Summary: In December 1991, the British royal spent the Christmas holiday at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. Diana, Princess of Wales, is at the lowest point of her troublesome relationship with her no-good husband, Prince Charles, who is openly cheating on her with Camilla Parker Bowles. This historical fiction follows Diana as she tries to survive perhaps the most painful, awkward family gathering ever to happen.

Behind the Wardrobe:

Director: Pablo Larraín

Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran

Notable Work: 2005 Pride & Prejudice(ON), Atonement(ON), The Soloist, Nanny McPhee Returns, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Anna Karenina(OW), Mr. Turner(ON), (2015) Macbeth, Black Mirror (Nosedive 2016), 2017 Beauty and the Beast(ON), Darkest(ON) Hour, 1917, 2019 Little Women(OW)

Upcoming Work: 2022 Batman

“There is just a picture that tells you exactly what she wore on each day,” Durran tells Refinery29. “It’s quite overwhelming that there is that much information about her.”

Jacqueline Durran, Refinery 29

“I’d never really done a film that was set in the ‘80s before,” says Durran. “I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed looking at something I could kind of remember but I had never really been interested in.” – Jacqueline Durran, Nylon

“The brief Pablo gave me at the beginning was, we weren’t working in a specific date,” – “Our period was roughly [from] 1988 to 1992. So we created a wardrobe [without] replicating anything. Because her costumes are [extensively] photographed, somebody somewhere would pinpoint the date quite easily if [we] were to replicate. And whether that [matches] the date in the movie would [have become] a thing.” – Jacqueline Durran, Indie Wire

“I went through hundreds, possibly thousands, of images of her and put them into groups, like colors, geometric prints, plaids, and got an idea of the kind of things she did repeatedly in the time period. When I first met Pablo I had these big boards, like montage boards, to show him all these things, offering up things he could respond to and tell me that he liked. I had this fantasy that somewhere there must be a book, a Royal ledger, that wrote down every single outfit she wore and the designer, and the combination she put together. I thought it must exist somewhere, but obviously I couldn’t ask the palace for that kind of access.” – Jacqueline Durran, Nylon

Kristen Stewart by Suzie Riemer

“Every step of the way, it was a total collaboration,” shared Stewart via email. “We were all in this together: me, Pablo, Jacqueline, and Chanel. It was so intimate.” 

Kristen Stewart, Vouge

“I was honored to work with a fantastic character actress,” said Durran.”I had limited access to Kristen, so we had an extremely long [first] fitting. I put together provisional costumes for each scene [that] we had to examine and work out. It was really focused work.” – Jacqueline Durran, Indie Wire

“We pretty much prepped a costume for each of the scenes of the film and had a long nine-hour fitting with Kristen. We put the costumes in order and we more or less stayed on track. We had the bare bones done, and we didn’t deviate too much.” – Jacqueline Durran, Variety

Spencer was a small film, but we wanted to establish a world that in many ways was the dream world of a princess. The luxury that Chanel represents was very much part of the story we were telling—we wanted the audience to understand the privilege of the world that Princess Diana was part of, and the Chanel brand was a great way of communicating that.” – Jacqueline Durran, Tatler

Kristen Stewart by Suzie Riemer

 “In terms of style and glamour, the collaboration gave the movie something we wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she says. “The Chanel pieces added to that aura Diana had as a princess, so it was an incredible match in that sense.”

Jacqueline Durran, Vouge

“She wore a lot of those long, slender column dresses in our period, and so I riffed on the idea of a couple of them and combined them together,” Durran explained. “The color green looks like it was planned, because it was the same color as the soup, but maybe when the production designer saw the dress, he made the soup [the same color].” – Jacqueline Durran, Vulture 

“Most of the clothes you see Diana in are formal clothes, the ones that are set by the family and her dresser, more presentational clothes,” Durran explains. “She has far less chance to be the more relaxed version of Diana that we are also very familiar with. There’s a kind of dual nature to her costumes, in the sense that there are the ones that she’s chosen as her own wardrobe and the ones there to represent her as Princess of Wales.” – Jacqueline Durran, Nylon 

“We asked Chanel for replicas of any clothes Diana had worn from them, and in the early period it wasn’t many, but there was a coat she wore to visit the president of France in 1988,” Durran said. Stewart tried on the coat, but it was too big to be worn on its own; Durran decided to use it as an overcoat for the church scene instead. Diana did wear a red coat to church in Sandringham in 1993 with a black hat and veil, but the two coats differ. “We mixed the two things up,” Durran said. “It was all about taking pieces that said ‘Diana’ and mixing them up for the purposes of our movie.” – Jacqueline Durran, Vulture

“ I looked back through pictures of Diana for images of her wearing Chanel. Most that I found were later than 1992, but there was one significant Chanel outfit that she wore when visiting Paris in 1988 – The blue cardigan/jacket fit very well with the style that she was wearing in our period, so I felt that it would fit in seamlessly. The Chanel costume jewellery we used was also perfect for our date, and for Diana’s style.” – Jacqueline Durran, Tatler

Spencer sets itself well within Diana’s double-breasted era, and this blue top is a Chanel piece she wore while visiting Great Ormond Street in 1992. “I said to Chanel, ‘Do you have that?’ and they made it for us,” Durran said. “It’s something that she actually wore, but in the context we’ve put it, but we’re still there in her world.” – Jacqueline Durran, Vulture

Kristen Stewart as Diana, Neon(Left) Anne Fiona in Look 82 for the Chanel Spring-Summer 1988 Haute Couture Show (Right)

“I don’t know that Diana ever wore a Chanel evening dress in our period,” Durran said. “[But] I [wanted] to see what they had from that period that could be appropriate for her style. They sent over things from the archive and we liked the cream dress with the gold embroidery and the full skirt at the hem best — that’s the one in the poster — and they replicated that for us.”  – Jacqueline Durran, Indie Wire

“The dress was an original dress designed by Karl in the 1980s and was too precious to be worn repeatedly, for all the days needed for shooting including exterior night shoots—there was too great a danger of damage.”- Jacqueline Durran, Tatler

“Look n ° 82 from the spring-summer 1988 haute couture show, the dress was entirely recreated in the Chanel workshops for the film. The embroidery is done by Lesage.” – Vouge Italy

“When it comes to pleating, the dress owes this wonderful volume to the house of Lognon , one of Chanel’s Métiers d’art since 2013. These technical gestures combined with the miraculous hands of the five seamstresses made it possible to achieve this masterpiece . In total, there are no less than 1034 hours of work, including 700 only for embroidery.” – Vouge Italy

“The pearls are from a jewelry house called Mouawad, which supplied all the film’s fine jewels (Chanel provided the costume jewelry). “They’re real,” Durran said, “and I think the slightly large size works well in telling that story.” – Jacqueline Durran, Vulture 

“I hadn’t originally imagined it to be a waxed coat, but that was what worked best for the art department, and Pablo wanted the color. I wanted it to be believably a British aristocrat’s coat from the past. I took onboard what everyone said about how a wool coat wouldn’t have lasted for that amount of time, so I went back to a Barbour-style coat. It was good that it wasn’t a green coat, because you never would have been able to see it as different from all the other coats that were being worn in the movie.”  – Jacqueline Durran, Vulture 

“That was based roughly on something Diana wore. She went to review the Navy, I think, in Portsmouth. Pablo and Kristen loved the idea of her wearing a pirate hat, so we made the pirate hat and we made it in yellow and it was a sort of floating costume because we weren’t really sure where it was going to fit, but it had to go in somewhere. And then I think it found its place. [Laughs]” – Jacqueline Durran, Entertainment Weekly 

“I [bought] an ‘80s wedding dress and adapted it to have what I think as the most important details of [Diana’s] wedding dress: the sleeves, the neckline,” she said. “Because we’re not ‘The Crown,’ it’s really about practical filmmaking as much as keeping with the whole ethos of the design. I just made the clothes in the way that I felt we were talking about the character. And I let them run their course.” – Jacqueline Durran, Indie Wire

“The wedding gown! It didn’t feature in the main movie, it’s [only] in the montage. And we just didn’t have the money to make a Diana wedding gown for something that wasn’t even part of the main story. So we just adapted a wedding dress to be an approximation of it. I’m under no illusion that there were differences between Diana’s dress and the dress that we made. But it was a kind of the spirit of the dress, rather than an exact replica. If you are not making The Crown, and if you are making artistic decisions on what you can and can’t achieve, I think you just have to do those things sometimes.” – Jacqueline Durran, Entertainment Weekly

“She’s shaking hands with some nurses wearing exactly the same jacket,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that I found it. I was beside myself, and Kristen loved it, and we just thought, ‘That can be the jacket for the beach.’” – Jacqueline Durran, Vulture

Serendipitous finds also came into play, such as the preppy, varsity-style bomber jacket Durran supplied from a vintage store. “I was really pleased to find it, as I also found a picture of Princess Diana wearing the exact same jacket. Kristen loved it. Part of the idea of our design was to create this aura of her: Occasionally go in really accurately, but then pull out and be less accurate. So there was a mixture, which makes the whole thing a bit more uncertain. You can gain a lot by having a contrast [in] the way things might rub [against] each other.”– Jacqueline Durran, Indie Wire

Want to know more? Check out our sources.

Tangcay, Jazz. “How Costumes Captured Princess Diana’s Aura for Kristen Stewart in ‘Spencer’.” Variety, Variety, 8 Nov. 2021, https://variety.com/2021/artisans/awards/kristen-stewart-spencer-costumes-jacqueline-durran-1235105881/.

Solá-Santiago, Frances. “Spencer Costumes Include Reinterpretations of Princess Diana’s Best Looks – & Vintage Chanel.” Spencer Costumes Include Diana’s Best Looks, 4 Nov. 2021, https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2021/11/10737473/spencer-movie-costumes-princess-diana?epik=dj0yJnU9QlNvM3JVN3VOU0pMVmliNFdYSkRnSUo4NkJIZDNpNmomcD0wJm49OWZKS0pYUFRnMmxoMkQ5b19VVF9EQSZ0PUFBQUFBR0hpUXBZ.

Okwodu, Janelle. “Kristen Stewart on How Her Chanel Costumes in ‘Spencer’ Tell Their Own Story.” Vogue, 5 Nov. 2021, https://www.vogue.com/slideshow/spencer-chanel-costumes-kristen-stewart-jacqueline-durran-interview?epik=dj0yJnU9ZmdlMVF5RnVRZElDSzhLYnVwbmExRTNCN0hldjVPdEUmcD0wJm49RUY4VkFQcjZsZTVtZHdFWXZaU2laZyZ0PUFBQUFBR0hpUWhF.

McHenry, Jackson. “How Jacqueline Durran’s Costumes for Spencer Evoke the ‘Aura’ of Princess Diana.” Vulture, 5 Nov. 2021, https://www.vulture.com/2021/11/how-spencers-costumes-evoke-the-aura-of-princess-diana.html.

Mabille, Marthe. “Tous Les Secrets De La Robe Chanel Haute Couture Portée Par Kristen Stewart Sur L’affiche De ‘Spencer.’” Vogue France, Vogue France, 31 Aug. 2021, https://www.vogue.fr/mode/article/chanel-princesse-diana-haute-couture-biopic-spencer.

Laffly, Tomris. “’Spencer’ Costume Design: Capturing Princess Diana’s Dizzying Eclectic Range.” IndieWire, IndieWire, 30 Nov. 2021, https://www.indiewire.com/2021/11/spencer-costume-design-dressing-kristen-stewart-as-princess-diana-1234682079/.

Hall, Amalissa. “In Conversation with: ‘Spencer’ Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran.” Tatler Asia, https://www.tatlerasia.com/style/fashion/in-conversation-with-costume-designer-jacqueline-durran.

Greenblatt , Leah. “’Spencer’ Costume Designer on How She Turned Kristen Stewart into Princess Diana.” EW.com, 7 Oct. 2021, https://ew.com/movies/spencer-princess-diana-kristen-stewart-costume-designer-interview/.

Delap, Leanne. “Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran on Recreating Princess Diana’s Iconic Wardrobe in ‘Spencer’.” Thestar.com, 5 Nov. 2021, https://www.thestar.com/life/fashion_style/2021/11/05/costume-designer-jacqueline-durran-on-recreating-princess-dianas-iconic-wardrobe-in-spencer.html.

Betancourt, Bianca. “How ‘Spencer’s’ Costume Designer Nails the Style of One of Fashion’s Most Beloved Icons.” Harper’s BAZAAR, Harper’s BAZAAR, 2 Nov. 2021, https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/film-tv/a38092483/jacqueline-durran-spencer-costumes-interview/?epik=dj0yJnU9SDhrRjB1UHdobk1VZllJN3VrRGpXR1dGQWpOeWVlblomcD0wJm49RXgtLWpVU09ncVpGSHBKdmVMM20xZyZ0PUFBQUFBR0hpUWc4.

Bender, Abbey. “How ‘Spencer”s Costume Designer Captured Princess Diana’s Style.” Nylon, Nylon, 3 Nov. 2021, https://www.nylon.com/fashion/spencer-costume-designer-princess-diana-kristen-stewart.

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