Book Review: FilmCraft: Costume Design

As a costume designer and scholar I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting costume design or history books.  And while books filled with pretty pictures are always fun, I'm especially interested in ones that give a voice to the designers and go "behind the scenes" of their design process.

So, I was really happy when a new book was released earlier this summer.  The book, FilmCraft: Costume Design, is part of the FilmCraft series that highlights different elements of the filmmaking craft.  Written by Deborah Nadoolman Landis, this wonderful book covers a wide range of films through interviews with 16 current designers and 5 tributes to great designers of the past.  Designers such as Jenny Beavan (Sherlock Holmes), Mark Bridges (The Artist) , Lindy Hemming (Casino Royale), Michael Kaplan (Star Trek), Penny Rose (all four Pirates of the Caribbean films), Janty Yates (Prometheus) and more take readers through their careers and and share stories and highlights of films along the way.

FYI, I would list more of their films, but there are too many to mention, so those are just the ones that I'm sure you've at least heard of.  And I think that's what I love so much about this book.  The interviews show just how much effort goes into a production.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in film, even if not specifically in costume design.  Costume design has long been incredibly underrated and under appreciated in academic studies, so it's nice to find such an informative book that's still tons of fun to look through.

Which brings me to the next part.  I was interested in seeing this book ever since Deborah mentioned it to me when she was in town last March to talk for the Arizona Costume Institute. (In case you missed that, check it out here.)  What piqued my interest wasn't just all the interviews and more pictures to pour over but that the book would also be released in electronic format.  So at first chance I downloaded it from Amazon onto my Kindle app for iPad.  The cool part is that you can tap on the pictures and zoom in on any area you want.  Great for being able to see some of the costume details up close.

I'm excited because a few of the designers have connection to the James Bond franchise so their interviews will be helpful in terms of my thesis research and unlike other costume books I own, this one I can actually highlight (I would never go near any of my other books with a highlighter!) and make annotations just like any other e-book.

I would highly recommend this book to any students who are interested in costume design as you can't beat getting information and advice straight from the people who are at the top of their field.

If you check it out, I hope you enjoy it as much as I am. :)

If you're interested, click here for the regular physical version and here for the Kindle version.


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