Just as Penélope Cruz’s wardrobe in Vicky Cristina Barcelona is the perfect embodiment of her bohemian soul (as I wrote a couple of weeks ago), Scarlett Johansson’s costumes are a great representation of her free spirit. But while María Elena brings on screen a tumultuous, somptuously disheveled style, Cristina is more practical. Her clothing has a worldly flair, yet retains a down-to-earth, even classic vibe. She doesn’t like to live by rules either, she is still wandering and aimless and she is willing to let life kind of happen in front of her. But, eventually, she stills feels the need of belonging (somewhere and to someone).
She wears flowy and breezy sleeveless blouses, but also fitted t-shirts and tank tops. She likes jeans, but also wide-leg linen pants. She carries a canvas messenger bag, because it is practical – she is a tourist, but she also pursues her passion for photography. Neutral, casual and carefree, Cristina’s clothing is a realistic portrayal of today’s comfortable, streamlined style, but also of travel style – the simplistic ease, no-fuss of summer dressing – in summer, the more natural, relaxed, easy-going, ‘seize the day’ version of oneself comes to life. I like how relatable and basic her entire wardrobe is, but I may have a soft spot for her all-American look pictured above – in fact, it is a look of such universal appeal that one might argue that America can no longer claim it, but rather the very person wearing some kind of version of it, thus giving it singularity, its present and its future. That’s the beauty of it.
We, as viewers, often have the tendency to overlook a present-day wardrobe in a present-day movie. The times that are close to our memory are the most difficult to re-create on screen. But it’s exactly when you don’t necessarily notice the costumes that you can be sure that that’s the way it should be, because the clothes should seemlessly blend with the character. Because however common it may look, in a good movie, a wardrobe is not merely “street clothing”, but a narrative medium.
photos: movie stills captured by me | Weinstein Company/The Mediapro /Gravier Productions | cinematographer: Javier Aguirresarobe