CDG - The Costume Designer

Summer 2018

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36 The Costume Designer Spring 2018 Strong is the New Sexy By Alexandra Welker A sea change is happening in Hollywood's depiction of women. It may be slow, but it is steady and gain- ing momentum. For years, women both in front of and behind the camera have been marginalized, stereotyped, and underrepresented, but 2017 marked a turning point. While the numbers are still dispirit- ing—just 24 percent of protagonists in the 100 top- grossing films were women—the three top US films of the year had female leads, and movies helmed by female directors pulled in an impressive $1.2 bil- lion at the global box office. In television, women's roles remained mostly stagnant, although streaming services had the highest number of programs with major female characters and a higher percentage of women as show creators (47 percent and 26 per- cent, respectively). The global movements of #MeToo and Time's Up, in shining a light on the ongoing biases, harassment, and barriers to advancement in Hollywood and other industries, have empowered women and their stories, bringing them into the public eye. Although there is still a long way to go in address- ing representation and pay disparity based on gender, it is exciting and encouraging to see female- centric projects offering complicated, compelling and multilayered characters who happen to be women. As Costume Designers, our work is to visually tell the story of our characters, encapsulated in the clothing that they wear. The Costume Designer had the chance to speak with four of our members about their experiences creating indelible portraits of powerful women on screen, sexy in their complexity. Illustration by Xander Smith

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