MANIFESTO

#63

CHANGE OF SPACE

How Directors Dress

2024.06.20

Text by Francesca Fontanesi

How Directors Dress uses clothing to tell exciting new stories about directors, their lives, their movies, and the times in which they were made.

Sofia Coppola always wears the same Charvet shirt with a collar (sometimes layered over a tank top, sometimes buttoned) when working on her films. On the Studio Ghibli set, Hayao Miyazaki was known to wear white aprons over whatever outfit he had chosen for the day: a gray blazer, a wool vest. And Spike Lee has practically made the sports cap his signature while directing his most iconic works (some examples? Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X). As detailed in A24’s new publication, How Directors Dress, there is a clear connection between how directors dress and the roles they play both on and off set.

IMAGE FROM THE BOOK HOW DIRECTORS DRESS BY A24. IN THE TOP: IMAGE FROM THE BOOK HOW DIRECTORS DRESS BY A24.

“By talking about garments, we can cut through the usual Hollywood language of legends and icons. The clothing worn by a director is so personal and holds such an intimate physical space, that it has a great deal to tells us, if we let the clothes themselves do the talking”.

– Charlie Porter

If the popular stereotype paints the director as an auteur figure who smokes cigarettes and sits beside the camera, the reality couldn’t be more different: most are dressed according to the mental and physical demands of the film. This is narrated in the book through five chapters – covering themes from workwear to louche – and considered by some of the world’s most renowned fashion journalists, such as Rachel Tashjian and Lauren Sherman. As Yohji Yamamoto, a favorite designer among directors who created a special jacket and pants suit with 15 pockets for Wim Wenders, says, “The first thing directors think about is shooting their film. Not how to dress. But how to work.”

IMAGE FROM THE BOOK HOW DIRECTORS DRESS BY A24.
IMAGE FROM THE BOOK HOW DIRECTORS DRESS BY A24.

The common thread among all of them is the need to be somewhat invisible on set. Many dress to work as efficiently as possible within their surroundings: Adam Wray recalls Kathryn Bigelow wearing a keffiyeh, motorcycle gloves, and ski goggles while filming The Hurt Locker (2008) in the Jordanian desert, while others adopt a more characteristic appearance, such as Ron Howard spending four hours getting makeup exactly like Jim Carrey did every day for his starring role in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). However, this sense of discretion and practicality in a director’s wardrobe does not always come at the expense of a deeply personal style. As noted by Healy in Buttoned Up, delving into the lives of directors like Federico Fellini and David Lynch – who adopted the timeless buttoned-up shirt as their distinctive style – “a uniform becomes increasingly necessary, when cinema becomes a life“.

IMAGE FROM THE BOOK HOW DIRECTORS DRESS BY A24.

“I feel too vulnerable with the top button open. Especially with the wind on my collarbone. This is something that bothered me a lot…I like that tightness around the neck.”

– David Lynch

The book features over two hundred archival images, a foreword by director Joanna Hogg, and an introduction by Charlie Portered.
It is now available at shop.a24films.com starting today.

Zoë CONFIDENTIAL

2024.07.15

Zoë is the new book dedicated to Zoë Kravitz through the lens of Henrik Purienne, a collaboration with Anthony Vaccarello as a tribute to his muse.

EXHIBITION

The joy of photography

2024.07.11

Photographed over the span of thirteen years, Jamie Hawkesworth’s series The British Isles documents the entirety of the places, architecture, and inhabitants of his homeland.

CULTURE

LET'S PLAY AGAIN

2024.07.05

PLAY is a collaborative work that combines the perspectives of three participants—a photographer, a performer, and a stylist—who merge to generate new and unexpected forms of the body in motion. Liberated from fixed roles, these forms evolve page after page.

HORIZON

2024.07.04

Kevin Costner returns to cinema. Imagined for the first time in 1988, this film is an emotional pilgrimage through the long and complex period of expansion and settlement of the American West, before and after the Civil War.

NEWS

PRADA CHOOSES ETERNITY

2024.07.02

Chains are reinvented in unprecedented thicknesses, weights, and combinations in the new jewelry of the Prada Fine Jewelry Eternal Gold collection: entirely sustainable, integrating responsible materials and practices with traditional manufacturing techniques.