Fabulous Costume Movie Madness Tournament of Champions: Voting Round One

14 Mar

Erg! I’m so sorry this is a day late. I spent most of yesterday wrestling with PollDaddy and WordPress, only to discover that the issue appears to be with Chrome. From my end, polls are displaying just fine in Firefox, so if you want to vote and can’t see anything, give Firefox a shot. I can only assume this is because Google is mad at me for not switching over from Facebook.

Anyway! Assuming you can see the polls, go forth, argue for your favorites in the comments, and vote vote vote!

Warning: this post is a monster, with tons of pictures and video. Future posts will be shorter as competitors are viciously annihilated upon the field of battle.

Voting will continue through midnight on 3/15. Enjoy!

I. Award-Heavy Tearjerking Historical Drama Division

The Young Victoria VS Titanic

A brutal matchup to start us off. On the one hand:

The Young Victoria
Costumes by Sandy Powell (you will see her name a great deal)
CDG won, Oscar won, Bafta won
IMDB user rating: 7.2

victoria coronation victoria yellow

On the other hand:

Costumes by Deborah Lynn Scot
Oscar won, Bafta nom
IMDB user rating: 7.6

titanic kate leo titanic

If you live in the world you’ve probably seen both of these films, so I really don’t think I need to talk about them that much. Good luck.

Memoirs of a Geisha VS Rome

Memoirs of a Geisha
Costumes by Colleen Atwood
CDG won, Oscar won, Bafta won
IMDB user rating: 7.1

Memoirs has a built-in advantage, being a movie about ladies who are in the business of dressing very well. It doesn’t disappoint:

memoirs trio memoirs strollingmemoirs firememoirs snow

Costumes by  April Ferry and Augusto Grassi
CDG (2 won, 1 nom), Emmy (1 won, 1 nom)
IMDB user rating: 9

Then again, Rome doesn’t disappoint either. On the contrary, it destroyed my previous assumptions about how one should costume an ancient epic:

rome caesar triumph rome cleopatra rome atia blue rome atia fur rome niboe vorenus rome triumph rome vorenus and pullo rome soldiers rome antony rome niobe

If it seems like I’m favoring Rome, it’s for two reasons: 1) I think more people are familar with Memoirs, and 2) I am favoring it. Je ne regrette rien.

II Pirates and Paniers are an Unfair Advantage Division

The Duchess VS Muppet Treasure Island

The Duchess
Costumes by Michael O’Connor
CDG won, Oscar won, Bafta won
IMDB user rating: 6.8

Another unfair advantage: this movie is about an enormously wealthy woman who was also a fashion plate of her time. It doesn’t disappoint. While the movie itself was kinda boring (except the scene where that beautiful man from Mama Mia is standing in the foyer in his shirtsleeves screaming “GEORGIANNA!” at the top of his lungs, and the scene where Georgianna gets drunk and sets her hair on fire), the costuming was stunning (Googling “The Duchess” brings you lots of pictures of The Duchess of Cambridge, who is also stunning, but don’t let that sway your vote).

duchess fur 2 duchess preggo duchess table duchess wedding duchess dudleys duchess closeup duchess trio

Muppet Treasure Island
Costumes by Polly Smith
IMDB user rating: 6.7

The best pirate movie ever, but does it have the best costumes? You have to admit, they’re pretty fantastic:

MTI Cabin feverMTI crewMTI Cpt Smollet

benjamina smolley benjamina

Marie Antoinette VS Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Marie Antoinette

Costumes by  Milena Canonero
CDG nom, Oscar won, Bafta nom
IMDB user rating: 6.3

This movie is one of my very favorite sewing movies, and also one of my very favorite “eating petit fours” movies. The costuming is sumptuous and varied, and if not all entirely historically accurate, it serves and uplifts the story being told, and that’s really what’s important.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Costumes by Penny Rose
CDG nom, Bafta nom
IMDB user rating: 8

You may be wondering why I’m only covering Curse of the Black Pearl when Lord of the Rings gets the whole trilogy. I will tell you: because I didn’t like any of the other Pirates movies. That being said, Black Pearl was a gem of a movie (hah!) with some really delicious costumes–including wigs! I love wigs. Well, I love wigs on other people.

potc potc gov nor potc lizPOTC JackPOTC some nonsensePOTC Dreamboat Will And the award for Villian I'd Rather Have Lead My Crew goes to...POTC will liz jack barbossa norrington

III Fantasy Division

The Lord of the Rings VS Mirrormask

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Costumes by Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor
CDG (1 won, 1 nom), Oscar (1 won, 1 nom), Bafta (1 won, 2 nom)
IMDB user rating: 8.8

You’ve seen this movie. I mean…you have, haven’t you? Didn’t everyone in the world see these movies? I really don’t know where to begin with the scale of the costuming done here. Each race–humans, orcs, goblins, elves–had their own style of arrow, and there 10,000 of said arrows were produced for the first movie alone. TEN THOUSAND ARROWS. WETA made so much chainmail over the three years leading up to shooting that a couple of the artists rubbed their fingerprints clean off. There is care and attention to detail that I can’t sum up in a few pictures; we would be here all day. Instead, here’s a feature from the DVDs:


Costumes by Robert Lever
IMDB user rating: 6.8

A fabulous movie, but it suffers, initially, in being up against The Lord of the Rings. What movie wouldn’t, though? What Mirrormask lacks in scale, it makes up in imagination. Like the family-owned circus that its protagonist wants to escape, the costuming is gorgeous, stylistic, dark, twisted, and whimsical, and it has its own epicness.

mirrirmask mirrormask dark queen mirrormask white queen mirrormask puppets mirrormask mirrormark

Hero VS The Fall

Costumes by Emi Wada
Hong Kong Film Awards (won)
IMDB user rating: 7.9

I put this in “fantasy” rather than a historical division because I’m not sure the clothing is historical. Also, I don’t have any historical divisions where it would fit. The story is a mixture of myth, legend, and fantastic history, and the costume reflects that: richly saturated, but non-specific in detailing. A lot of the story is told through color–a change in the same outfits, from solid red to blue to green to white. When you break it down it’s actually very simple, but that clean simplicity makes it very powerful.

hero green fight hero white hero blue hero green hero collage hero red sword hero sky red

The Fall
Costumes by Eiko Ishioka
IMDB user rating: 7.8

There are two very distinct parts of this film: the fantasy world of the story Roy is telling, which exists in a child’s imagination, and the real world. The costumes in the former are fantastical, vivid, full of color, and also rather simple (until they’re suddenly detailed); the costumes in the latter are clothing appropriate to a hospital in the period, largely white or beige, washed out, anemic. It’s perfect and it works perfectly, and I cry every single time.

the fall alexander the fall purple dress the fall priest the fall bandits the fall band of five the fall red dress the fall bed the fall hospital the fall guards

Another choice I’m glad I don’t have to make.

IV Glitter Division!

Priscilla VS Labyrinth

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Costumes by Lizzy Gardiner, Tim Chappel
Oscar won, Bafta won, AFI won
IMDB user rating: 7.3

A movie about drag queens! How can it fail to do well in a costume tournament? I don’t know either.

priscilla going out priscilla undone priscilla carmen priscilla blye priscilla muppets priscilla bus priscilla half done


Costumes by Brian Froud, Ellis Flyte
IMDB user rating: 7.3

Thanks to David Bowie’s presence in this movie, and the costumer’s decision to put him in grey tights, millions of young girls and boys felt things we were too young to understand.

labyrinth baby labyrinth jareth labyrinth ball labyrinth sarah jareth

Moulin Rouge! VS Velvet Goldmine

Moulin Rouge!

Costumes by Catherine Martin, Angus Strathie
Oscar won, Bafta nom
IMDB user rating: 7.6

Similar to Dangerous Beauty and Memoirs of a Geisha, in that this movie is about a woman whose job it is to be extraordinarily well-dressed. My God, there are SO MANY SPARKLES.

mr skirt wall mr indian mr dancers mr headdress mr diamonds mr corset

Velvet Goldmine

Costumes by Sandy Powell
Oscar nom, Bafta won
IMDB user rating: 6.8

Heartbreaking, sexy, messy, elegant, and generally glorious, it named this division. Sandy Powell knocked it out of the park in this.

velvet goldmine mandy velvet goldmine gold velvet goldmine couple velvet goldmine orchid velvet goldmine band velvet goldmine alien velvet goldmine closeup velvet goldmine death of glitter velvet goldmine group

V Ye Ren Faire Divisione

Shakespeare in Love VS Dangerous Beauty

Shakespeare in Love

Costumes by Sandy Powell
Oscar won, Bafta nom
IMDB user rating: 7.2

sil end sil dance sil groups sil boy sil burbage sil group sil green sil peacock sil duke sil pearls

Dangerous Beauty

Costumes by Gabriella Pescucci
IMDB user rating: 7

As I said, I haven’t seen this one. That being said, it looks lovely! Not…super historical, but lovely!

DB collage db red db couple db sword db boat db trio

Elizabeth R VS The Virgin Queen

Elizabeth R

Costumes by Elizabeth Waller
Emmy won
IMDB user rating: 8.8

Confession: I didn’t get through much of this show. It was badly acted and badly written, and just so very 70s. That being said, look at the costumes! They’re divine, and they look pretty damn accurate to my eye.

er pair er group er flag er ruff er scary er group

The Virgin Queen

Costumes by Amy Roberts
Bafta won
IMDB user rating: 7.5

When I first saw this movie, I was younger and less tutored in the ways of Tudor costuming, and was completely blown away. I’m still impressed, but less so, frankly. Still, some great makeup work here, and some good corseting, right? Right.

The-Virgin-Queen-1_0 the-virgin-queen-20 vq horse vq makeup vq pox vq shouting

VI She Makes Her Own Clothes Division
Note: I got the text order of this division a little mixed up upon first posting. It’s fixed now. The polls have always been correct, so if you already voted, don’t panic!

Bright Star VS The Sound of Music

Bright Star
Costumes by Janet Patterson
Oscar nom, Bafta nom
IMDB user rating: 6.9

I don’t mind saying that this movie destroyed me. It’s the story of Fanny Brawne and her love affair with John Keates before his death, and it includes a great deal of his poetry as well as a great number of her glorious pieces of clothing. The costuming, especially of Fanny, is super creative without being glaringly ahistorical. And you guys, this movie is heartbreaking.

bs jacket bs mourning bs sewing br pink bright star letter bs clothing bs hat

The Sound of Music

Costumes by Dorothy Jeakins
Oscar nom
IMDB user rating: 7.9

“When we entered the abbey all our worldly clothes were given to the poor.” “What about this one?” “Oh, the poor didn’t want this one.”

Julie-Andrews-is-trippin-ballz. sombaroness somcurtains somgroup somgroupsong somnun somwedding

Enchanted VS Gone with the Wind


Costumes by Mona May
CDG nom
IMDB user rating: 7.2

“Happy Working Song” has been in my head for hours. It’s interesting to see Giselle’s clothing designs become less cartoony as the movie progresses, without losing their inherent sweetness (exception: that hideous mauve thing she wears at the Kings and Queens ball. Bleck!).

enchanted susan enchanted wedding enchnanted Enchanted movie image Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey enchanted indina enchanted pink enchanted puffy

Gone with the Wind

Costumes by Walter Plunkett
IMDB user rating: 8.2

Another movie I really don’t think I need to spend much time discussing. Includes the famous curtain dress parodied to beautifully on The Carol Burnett Show. Fiddle-dee-diddle-dee-diddle-dee-diddle-dee-dee indeed*.

gone with the wedding scarlet picnic scarletreddress scarlettgreendress



VII Jane Austen Division

Pride and Prejudice VS Clueless

Pride and Prejudice

Costumes by Dinah Collin
Emmy won, Bafta nom
IMDB user rating: 9.1 (the highest of any entry)

The grand pubah of all Jane Austen adaptations, and for good reason–it is exactingly correct to the period and the source material, and wildly successful for it.

group group2 p&p bingleys p&p wedding p&pgroup


Costumes by Mona May
IMDB user rating: 6.6

I was in 6th grade when this movie came out, and am not ashamed to say that Cher is still my idea of a well-dressed woman. The 90s were a different time.

Sense and Sensibility VS Bride and Prejudice

Sense and Sensibility

Costumes by Jenny Beavan, John Bright
Oscar nom, Bafta nom
IMDB user rating: 7.6

The movie the 2005 Pride and Prejudice was trying to be.

SNS2 bitch please bonnett s&s ball s&s couple s&s group s&S pair s&s rain s&s wedding sense-and-sensibility elinor and edward bridge

Bride and Prejudice

Costumes by Ecuardo Castro, Savinder Kmahil, Ralph Wheeler-Holes
IMDB user rating: 6

I didn’t particularly care for this film, but even I can admit that the clothes are damned spectacular.

VIII Dark Horse Division

3:10 to Yuma VS The Three Amigos

3:10 to Yuma

Costumes by Arianne Phillips
CDG nom
IMDB user rating: 7.

Gritty, dirty, sweaty, very subtle, but the costuming is very powerful in this film. And also, enormously sexy, especially for being so dirty.

3:10 To Yuma yuma couple yuma duo yuma group yuma pair yuma trio

The Three Amigos

Costumes by Deborah Nadoolman
IMDB user rating: 6.2

I may have included this movie just for this:

Razzle Dazzle VS Center Stage

Razzle Dazzle: A Journey into Dance

Costumes by Ariane Weiss
Australian Film Institute (nom)
IMDB user rating: 6.3

A mockumentary about children’s competitive dance is bound to have some delightful and horrifying costuming, and Razzle Dazzle does not disappoint. If you haven’t seen this movie and have any experience with dance at al, do yourself a favor and check it out. I’m still laughing.

rd red RazzleDazzle6 rd orange MCDRADA EC024 rd pink rd pink sparkles

Center Stage

Costumes by IMDB user rating: 6.3

I think this movie’s idea of costuming is best summed up by the following scene:


OMG, that took forever. AGain, I apologize for the delay. I hope the pics and videos are helpful, and that you enjoy the process of voting as much as I enjoyed writing the beginning of this monster poll. :D If there’s anything that would make future rounds easier or more fun, let me know!

Voting continues through 11:59 EST on 3/15/13.

*”Fiddle-dee-diddle” etc is from a different parody, I know, but life without mixed references is nothing

One Response to “Fabulous Costume Movie Madness Tournament of Champions: Voting Round One”


  1. Fabulous Costume Movie Madness Tournament of Champions: Results Round One | What Is This I Can't Even - March 16, 2013

    […] results are in! The response to the first round of voting was great, the competition was fierce, the post was long. The results have been tabulated (by […]

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