30 January 2011

The Black Swan

It seems like everyone is talking about "Black Swan," the recently released film that has already snagged Natalie Portman a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of a ballerina going through a breakdown. (The film goes nationwide this weekend.)
Aside from the riveting plot of the Darren Aronofsky-directed flick, the elaborate outfits by costume designer Amy Westcott and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte are also attracting much attention.

was lucky enough to get an exclusive sneak peek of a video that documents the thought process behind the costumes and gives some mouthwatering glimpses at the tulle-packed backstage dressing area.

"The job that we had was to reconceptualize and design ballet costumes for 'Swan Lake,' which is a very classical ballet, but to do it so that it would fit the world of the film," Kate Mulleavy says in the clip.

"Amy's stuff with the Rodarte was fluid and well blended," Portman says, before Westcott explains her costume ideas for Portman's character.

"It's sort of keeping her in that childlike state," says Westcott. "Her basic colors were really white, gray and pink. We were heavy on the pink and squeezing it out by the end. There's one time where she wears black tights instead of pink tights, and that's that one snap when she's sort of on the other side of the fence."

In addition to the costumes, we also got detailed information about the stunning makeup direction from the film's makeup department head, Margie Durand, and makeup designer Judy Chin.


As to how they achieved the Black Swan's signature look, it seems a whole lot of M.A.C products were involved. Beauty junkies, take note.

"We applied a pale ivory foundation with a white cream highlight on the forehead and cheekbones," explains Durand. "To create the swan eyes, we used M.A.C Chromaline in Black Black. Using M.A.C Pigment in silver combined with Mixing Medium, we applied feathery brushstrokes over the Black Swan's eyes. The lips were lined with M.A.C Lip Pencil in Vino and topped with M.A.C lipstick in Dubonnet. We then lined the under-eye with a thin line using M.A.C Chromaline in red."

"We used Mehron pancake makeup with a spray sealant to ensure that it wouldn't rub off on the costumes," Chin says about the super-durable makeup that had to hold up during hours of dancing. "We also used M.A.C Paint Pots, M.A.C Powerpoint Eye Pencils and M.A.C Pigments. In addition, we applied the Illustrator Palettes by Premier Products, which are alcohol-based pigments that are virtually waterproof and rub proof. On the fingertips, we used tattoo inks by Skin Illustrator by Premier Products."

For those who want to try the Black Swan look at home, Durand suggests, "Think 1920s vamp makeup." She adds, "Create the smoky Black Swan eyes with slender, silver eyeliner applied under black wingtip liner and add thin wisps of silver liner over the eyelid, too. Rim the waterline with black liner and top it off with full, feathery false eyelashes. Apply a very matte foundation with contoured cheekbones and a hint of shimmery blush on apple of cheeks. Lips can be matte or glossy in dark eggplant, wine and even black colors!"

Meanwhile, check out this roundup of the top 10 ballerina-themed editorials.

This article was written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano on stylelist.com

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