COSTUME BALL — In a recent article in Variety, I learned a very discouraging thing. Costume designers, who create the iconic looks we all associate with our favorite movies and characters, don't get the attribution or the money for anything beyond their work on the actual screen.
The article points out that the industry is made up mostly of women, and none of them are compensated or credited for things like dolls, costumes or licensed gear. That's right. Not even the official stuff you buy at Hot Topic is trickling any residuals into the bank accounts of the brilliant people creating the looks your cheap imitation is inspired by.
If you saw "Cruella," you know that amidst strong performances and a clever story, the clothes were the standout. It was a movie about designers that actually showed incredible clothes (looking at you through narrowed eyes, Phantom Thread) — and they were made by a brilliant designer you've definitely loved for a long time.
"Jenny Beavan is an English costume designer. She has won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in 1986 for A Room With A View. She also won another Academy Award and the BAFTA Award for Costume Design for Mad Max: Fury Road, and has been nominated 10 times for the Academy Award. Beavan also received a Tony Award nomination for Best Costume Design for the play Private Lives." -Wikipedia
Yeah. This lady, who wore the entirely OUT of dress code ensemble when she won for everyone's favorite feminist action movie Mad Max: Fury Road, also made the clothes in Cruella.
The Variety article details the situation like this: "During production of “Cruella,” Beavan recalls there had been some talk of working with Disney on co-branded products for Target and Singer sewing machines. There was also discussion about a possible fashion collection. Beavan, who says she didn’t hear anything more from Disney about merchandise or licensing, promptly forgot all about it. Then, last month, a friend sent her an Instagram post from fashion brand Rag & Bone, advertising their new, officially licensed “Cruella”-inspired collection and asking if she was involved. It was the first she had heard of it."
I don't know about you, but I was absolutely horrified to learn that these women were not being credited or paid by companies like Her Universe, which claims to be incredibly female friendly.
"A licensed “Birds of Prey” collection by Her Universe, which was released last year, drew heavily from Harley Quinn and co.’s costumes but didn’t involve Erin Benach, the costume designer who created them," the article continued.
Janie Bryant (my hero), the costume designer from Mad Men, was involved in the Banana Republic tie-in that featured her vintage-inspired silhouettes, and other designers have had similar collaborations with retailers selling clothes that represent the styles of various TV shows and movies. But the chances that your official merch had the official sign-off from the original designer is fairly slim.
There goes my fervor for buying all the Cruella stuff they're selling on the official Disney store.