London – Todd Field’s third film, “Tar,” shouldn’t be about fashion.
Protagonist Lydia Tarr, played by Cate Blanchett, is at the height of her career as the first female director of the Berlin Philharmonic and recipient of an EGOT. At the beginning of the film, she is being fitted for clothes by German tailor Egon Branstetter, who designs Blanchett’s intellectually handsome character.
“I wanted to make clothes that no one would look at. I just wanted to support the wardrobe, the mood and the emotion written in the script,” costume designer Bina Daigeler told WWD. She says she was surprised that so many viewers walked away from the film thinking about Blanchett’s monochrome uniform.
Daigeler took her costume cues from the script, which contained accurate descriptions. She began the film’s shopping process in London – snagging pieces from Lemaire, Studio Nicholson and Max Mara.
“With my purchases, I went into the store and put together things that we thought had the right feel,” adds Daigeler, who designed three outfits for Blanchett to wear as a complete collection.
Blanchett’s character is a politician who never looks out of uniform. She wears a vintage Rolex inside and high-waisted pants with flared backs, some custom-made and others from Dreis Van Noten and Studio Nicholson armor — not once is she seen wearing a dress or skirt.
In every scene, she stands tall like a pole pose, which Daigeler explained to a director as “important” because “it’s all about core strength, so the pants helped her with this image.”
“Having lived in Berlin for years, her inspiration is somehow this intellectual gray city of Berlin, with its American baseball cap look. Her outfits give her a lot of power, but they’re also very comfortable to lead. She’s not someone who stands out and takes an hour to make herself look beautiful, but she still carries a lot of authority with her outfits. Daigeler wanted to create a uniform that represented Blanchett’s outward image — steeped in German sensibilities, urban graffiti, and summer skies — while still embodying the inner essence of American comfort.
Blanchett wore masculine, monochrome footwear – loafers and sneakers with no socks, a pair of Daigellers on the set.
Daigler’s mind-blowing wardrobe features the Celine era of Phoebe Philo and German designer Jil Sander, whose minimal uniforms could be mistaken for the curator. She explains that her mood board isn’t limited to just any one muse, and that during her weeks of preparation with Blanchett, she exchanged many texts on male and female, young and old, and was very fluid. There were many people watching in the streets. “
Blanchett’s carefully curated wardrobe in the film consists of elegant black cashmere coats from The Red and Jil Sander shirts—neither trying to steal the spotlight nor overpower the script. “We are not fashion designers, we create around all these resources that we find and we create for the director and the actors. We look closely at the production design and the lighting,” says Daigeler.
The German fashion designer gained notoriety after designing colorful collections for Pedro Almodovar, laundry rooms in 1999’s “All About My Mother,” and “Volver” in 2006. She has collaborated with Blanchett on a few occasions, including “Manifesto” and ” Mrs. America”, she received a Pretime Creative Arts Emmy Award nomination for costume design and an Academy Award nomination for Disney’s live-action film “Mulan”.
Daigeler also completed another project with Disney on Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, which will be released in the fall, focusing on the designer’s rise to fashion and his career in Paris from the 30s to his end.
The series has received support from Balenciaga – giving Daigeler full access to their archives and previous museum exhibitions.
“The shapes are very complex and interesting, especially when you’re trying to recreate pieces like a maillot,” said Daigeler, who replicated all the pieces with her team.
The idea started in February and the shooting started in May and ended in October last year.
Daigeler is in talks for another commission she’ll keep close to her heart. “I’m going to be working with a very interesting director soon, who’s working a lot with costumes,” she said.