The Story Behind Phantom Thread’s Majestic Couture Dresses

Photo: Focus Features

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock, a persnickety couturier who adores — and butts heads with — his stubborn troubadour Alma (Vicky Krieps) and his fiercely protecting sister (Lesley Manville). The film was during slightest partly desirous by a genuine life of engineer Charles James, a British-born couture expert famously possessive of his dresses. But a House of Woodcock’s designs don’t steal many from James’s sartorial aesthetic; instead, Woodcock’s pleasing garments were designed by dress engineer Mark Bridges. Anderson tasked Bridges with formulating a whole universe of a House of Woodcock, mapping out a influences, impact, and clientele, that was no tiny feat: The garments are, arguably, a film’s categorical character. They some-more than make Phantom Thread’s male — they spasmodic remove him, as well.

Anderson pitched Bridges on a film in a early stages, seeking him if he’d ever listened of James. He had — and was excited, nonetheless cautious: “I said, ‘Yeah, we went to a uncover final year during a Met,’” recalls Bridges. “[Anderson] was a small sly about it. we was substantially violation out in a sweat or something thinking, Why are we seeking me this?” Bridges, who’s worked with a executive on all of his films, wasn’t utterly certain what he was teasing. “You usually never know what you’re going to get with him,” laughs Bridges. “Sometimes it’s usually porn in a Valley, or it’s oil derricks in Texas or ’70s hippies, and now we’ve got ’50s couture.”

The designer’s group — that enclosed genuine couture seamstresses, and a “cutter,” Cecile Van Dyke — assembled a couture garments made-to-measure and with as few seams as possible. But Bridges wasn’t intimidated by a charge of formulating such luxurious, perplexing designs: “A lot of a investigate concerned unequivocally meaningful what was going on in a enlightenment universe in London during that time, meaningful who a designers were, what they were producing, who their clients were, and where could Reynolds fit into that world,” Bridges says. “The plea is always branch a pattern into a real, bearable mantle that will dramatically tell a story.”

Below, Bridges breaks down a story behind 4 of a film’s many noted looks.

Photo: Focus Features

Burgundy Velvet Dress With Cape
Phantom Thread introduces a House of Woodcock with one of a many lush designs: A customer (Gina McKee) arrives for a fitting, and she’s slipped into a pretentious burgundy dress with a abounding velvet cape. It hits all of a House’s records — and was recognised by Day-Lewis himself. The actor did a stick-figure sketch, and Bridges was charged with bringing it to life. “Paul unequivocally wanted him to feel like he had some authorship since of a approach he clearly prepares,” Bridges says.

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Working from Day-Lewis’s pattern took some editing: “Cecile and we done decisions and choices along a approach that done a blueprint some-more practical. The strange substantially had about 30 pounds of velvet on it, so a mantle is shorter, and we still had to make it seem 1950s high fashion,” Bridges says. The outcome is a show-stopping gown, a pattern that’s a ideal entrance indicate into a House’s aesthetic: “It’s lace, abounding fabrics, abounding colors, a small curtsy to chronological references,” he adds.

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Alma’s Red Dress
“What’s good about it is it’s vaguely awkward,” Bridges says of a flush blanket dress Alma designs for herself. In a stage where she’s wearing it, she’s usually discharged Reynolds’s staff to lift off a date night for a dual of them. (This does not work out, partially due to some feeble designed asparagus.) When Alma walks down a stairs, it’s an worried moment; Reynolds eyes her adult and down, reduction than gratified with her handiwork.

“It’s not a excellent design,” Bridges says of a dress. “It’s suspicion about and it serves a purpose for a scene, nonetheless there’s something vaguely homemade and ungainly about it.” Throughout a movie, Alma fiddles with embroidery, and it was critical to Krieps that we see that reflected in a dress her impression designs: Bridges had his group supplement some flowers to a shoulders of a infrequently structured garment. “Again, it was another thing that done it not a couture garment, nonetheless a smashing attempt, a ardent attempt, a little amatory hands during home,” Bridges says, laughing.

Photo: Photo : Laurie Sparham / Focus F/2017 Focus Features, LLC.

Alma’s Spring Collection Dress
For all a eyefuls we get of Reynolds’s designs, we usually get a glance of his full open collection during a conform show. In a stage where this dress appears, Reynolds watches by a peephole as dozens of models wobble in and out of a showroom, clients pursing their lips and behest on his designs. Alma is, of course, a many beautiful, displaying a flush dress with buttons down a front and a edging pattern on a dress that looks like a daintiest of aprons.

“There was a tradition of hostesses engaging during home unequivocally elegantly, so we suspicion that would be that pleasing silk-faille skirt, a wool-jersey sweater tip — that is unequivocally gentle and unequivocally during home and vaguely spontaneous for a couture universe — and that edging seemed to have a lot of tooth to it,” explains Bridges. “Then, of course, there’s pockets in a dress for that spontaneous feeling of a sweater, and a lace.” The dress has another tip meaning: Anderson asked that it bear a visible likeness to another demeanour in a film, nonetheless Bridges won’t contend which. “I will not contend anything else about this — someone has to find it — nonetheless it connects to a dress that Alma wore during another time in a film.”

As for a rest of a open collection? “Even nonetheless it’s spring, it feels English, since there are a lot of woolens and things, since it’s cold in open in England,” says Bridges. “Meanwhile, in France, their open collection could be printed pastel.”

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Royal Wedding Gown
There are dual marriage gowns in Phantom Thread: The first, seen in a arrange of flashback, is a dress Reynolds designed for his mother’s wedding. The second is a robe designed for Belgian royalty, seen in a benefaction day. It’s a simple, superb design: high-collar, buttons, prolonged sleeves, with edging and a ideal bodice. Its fabric catches a light unequivocally smoothly — Bridges found a thick zibeline in London. “It’s a unequivocally surprising kind of fabric that has this a sheen, nonetheless it’s unequivocally stiff,” he says. “It’s unequivocally many a fabric we don’t see a lot, nonetheless it substantially is used in marriage dresses. It seemed unequivocally ’50s to me, and unequivocally regal. The usually thing we pronounced to Cecile was, ‘Let’s try and have a fewest volume of seams,’ since that was kind of an revelation with couture. You were crafty if we used a slightest volume of seams in your sculpture, so to speak.”

The stately marriage robe also connects to a dress Alma wears to a grill with Reynolds and Cyril. The dress is black, with edging designs on a shoulders. Bridges was taken with that pointed smoothness in a House’s styling. “There’s kind of a Woodcock sensibility there,” he says, “and that was unequivocally standard in a ’50s. [The bodice was] such a approach to be alluring, nonetheless staid, so it kind of seemed unequivocally good and English.”

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Green Silk Gown on Phantom Thread’s poster
During a wise with Krieps, Bridges let it trip that he unequivocally wanted to pattern a strapless gown. It fit with a period, he told her, nonetheless Day-Lewis wasn’t into a idea. “I unequivocally felt a film was blank a strapless gown, since that was so standard in that period,” says Bridges. “It could be unequivocally have a good substructure and be unequivocally controlled, nonetheless still have a allure of a unclothed shoulders,” he explains. Krieps suggested she suspicion a same thing, until Day-Lewis corrected her: Only Alma could rouse a strapless dress to something some-more refined. (“Not on you,” Day-Lewis told his co-star, according to Bridges.)

With a green-light from his Reynolds, Bridges designed a peridot-green robe that looks mossy and golden all during once. A stage where Reynolds and Alma quarrel during a ritzy cooking celebration seemed like a ideal fit: “That stage takes place in a big, drafty estate house. That good velvet chuck to go with your unclothed shoulders would be unsentimental and appealing and arrange of English, with their indeterminate heating systems in a ’50s.”

Photo: Focus Features

And now, a few difference about Reynolds’s socks
For his possess wardrobe, Reynolds prefers something streamlined over peep — solely when it comes to his socks, that are high and splendid pink. That was quite a Day-Lewis touch, Bridges confirms. “He was always perplexing to find ways to promulgate eccentricities or a artistic focussed of a man, and during some indicate we got a content observant like, ‘Pink hosiery from Gammarelli’s in Rome,’ and we was like, ‘Great!’” (For 6 generations, Gammarelli’s has been a central tailor of a pope.) “I found it ideally right for a character, since there is a lady form in London that wears all bespoke wardrobe nonetheless afterwards adds his possess turn to it to make it his own,” Bridges says. “That was a ideal way, between a pinkish hosiery and a vaguely lavender crawl ties. It usually churned it adult adequate to be unequivocally interesting.”

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