In the days leading up until the Oscars, I'll be featuring the nominees in the various visual categories. This week, I'll be looking at the nominees for Best Costume Design. We've looked at the costumes in Across the Universe and Atonement, now let's examine those in La Vie en Rose.
Though it's hard to take your eyes off Marion Cotillard channeling Edith Piaf long enough to look at the costumes, I can easily see why this film was nominated. It's not that the clothing is outrageously ornate or complicated, but that the designers so thoroughly recreated the time period of Piaf's life. Similar to the Best Costumes nomination for The Queen last year, this nomination honors the accurate depiction of an actual person's life.
The costumes aid Cotillard's disappearance into Piaf's character by conveying her ascent from impoverished teenage street urchin to glamorous adult chanteuse. Although Piaf was always physically frail and slender (hence her nickname "The Sparrow"), the '40s-style dresses she wears in her triumphant stage performances help express both her strength and vulnerability. When this tiny woman belts out such songs as "Je ne regrette rien" ("I Have No Regrets"), her black dress with delicate lace detailing combined with strong shoulders echoes this dichotomy.
To check out a gallery of images from La Vie en Rose, read more