by Staci Layne Wilson @StaciWilson
Tilda Swinton is a performance artist, model, and fashion icon, and an actress known for both arthouse and mainstream films. Her latest, A Bigger Splash, definitely falls into the arthouse category – and its artistry is everywhere right down to the clothes on her back.
Here’s the skinny: While vacationing on a Sicilian island with her boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), a rock star named Marianne (Tilda Swinton) receives an unexpected visit from her old flame Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and his seductive daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson). Even though there are a lot of nude scenes and bikinis, A Bigger Splash is still one of the most fashion-forward flicks we’ve seen in ages.
A creative collaboration between the legendary fashion house Dior and Guadagnino, Tilda’s character has a variety of stunning looks throughout the film. In the flashback sequences she alternates between a black zip-up jumpsuit and DiorSoReal sunglasses to a striped jumpsuit embroidered in ecru and gold sequin that happens to be an homage to her playing a David Bowie-like figure.
Once on the island, she settles into a more pared down design with minimalistic outfits such as a white Corolla skirt with a black top or a white backless evening gown. In other scenes, she can be found strolling through the Mediterranean landscape in a shirtdress with thin blue stripes, a breezy scarf dress, a dress in black and white check or a simple poplin dress with a beautifully twisted bow in the back.
The rest of the characters laid back looks were fashioned by costume designer Giulia Piersanti to compliment Marianne’s casual style, as well as their own intentions. Harry, for instance, has an eccentric mix of city and holiday clothing. “I imagined that he didn’t necessarily plan this trip and that he’s being there was a spur of the moment decision to go mess things up for Marianne and Paul.” Piersanti says.
Penelope has a similar starting point as she’s basically been dragged along on her father’s unexpected adventure. Piersanti wanted her to have a “city girl” vibe to her look at the beginning, but her relative youth is a constant undercurrent as she finds herself swimming in her underwear because she hasn’t bought a swimsuit yet.
Piersanti suggests viewers pay attention to the very subtle moments when one character wears the other character’s clothing items to show their true motivations. For instance, Penelope putting on Marianne’s espadrille shoes to go hiking with Paul or Marianne wearing Harry’s shirt while cutting his hair as a reminder of their shared history together.
“The most important thing was the state of mind the characters were in,” Piersanti says. “They are in a beautiful seaside place, but none of them are in a state of actual vacation and peace.”
Images: Fox Searchlight
Fashion Fling – A Bigger Splash, Starring Tilda Swinton & Dior
By Staci Layne Wilson