Costume Design as a Marketing Tool

  • According to an entry in FashionEncyclopedia, the American silent film era (1920s through 1930s) was the first time in the American fashion world where a different medium trumped the influence of European fashion houses in the creation of American contemporary fashion trends. This influence was the fashions worn by movie stars during films. A person who was particularly responsible for numerous fashion crazes from the ’20s until the ’40s was Gilbert Adrian. A costume designer for Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Adrian designed countless American costuming classics, like Dorothy’s gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • Kristin Koga for ClothesonFilm notes that many highly acclaimed traditional runway fashion designers, ranging from Coco Chanel to Jean Paul Gaultier, have made forays into the costume design world. Many have proved to be unsuccessful in the crossing of mediums because of artistic differences, but a notable exception is the fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy. Givenchy tailored iconic pieces for Audrey Hepburn in classic films including Sabrina (1954) and Breakfast at Tiffanys (1961).
  • Hollywood Reporter writes that the producers of shows with popular costume designers are happy for the designers’ commercial successes because it brings mention of the show for which they are popular. For example, even when Janie Bryant does an interview about her upcoming personal clothing line or her ambassadorship for Hearts on Fire, it is always made known that her success is in large part contributed to Mad Men. These tie-ins are great examples of earned media for the shows involved. 

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