By Cesar Padilla...
For the second installment of my illuminating, hilarious and sometimes salacious Q&As with costumers (notice the vowels), I caught up with goth mama Arianne Phillips. And let me tell you it was no easy feat, considering she's constantly on the road styling for Madonna, Courtney Love or Lenny Kravitz (her former roommate). Plus she's one of the most sought-after costume designers in Hollywood, with film credits that include Girl, Interrupted
, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
and Walk the Line
, which garnered her an Academy Award nomination in 2005. But caught up with her I did, and I made sure to cover all the bases. We talked candidly about everything from drugs and male idolatry to dressing the Material Girl and (not) doing Guy...You just finished a film last week. Can you tell me about it?
It was the new Tom Ford film. It's his directorial debut and it was awesome. He's a natural director and it was so great to work with someone who has such an amazing vernacular for costumes and clothing. The story is so great. I've been attached to it for a while, since he chose to go for independent funding. It's based on the Christopher Isherwood novel A Single Man. Set in 1962, it stars Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. I guess I'm becoming the mid-century girl.What was your first film and how was the experience?
Bail Jumper, a small indie film in New York that was very patched together. I had absolutely no experience other than the music videos I had styled. I was learning on the fly. It was down and dirty and I wanted more!What's your dream film?
It would be a moody spectacle starring Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet and Tilda Swinton, directed by Bob Fosse, Fellini or Kubrick, with cinematography by John Alcott, Sven Nykvist, Robbie Muller, Chris Doyle or Harris Savides. It would be a period piece on location in London, Paris or the south of France, with music by Bowie, Eno, Stephen Trask and Mozart.What's your worst moment on set?
It was at the beginning of my film career. I was getting my trailer door kicked in by an angry actress who I neglected to get thermals for. The producer told me I should go home and not come back for a few days.What's your worst diva moment?
Me? Diva? Never!Do you sew?
Only in an emergency.What's the first thing you ever sewed?
The holes in my rainbow toe socks circa 1976.I know you're into black. Do you ever wear color?
No. Black, black, black! I'm a tired ol' goth!What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be all my Halloween costumes—a witch, an actress and a princess.Who do you want to be when you grow up?
In all seriousness, my mother. She is an awesome woman.What was on your walls when you were 15?
There is a funny story about that because it was my 15th birthday exactly. I had very liberal hippie parents and I told my mom I wanted to do mushrooms. She said the only way I could take them was under her supervision, which is the same thing she did on my first date. I had to take them in the house and I had to get them myself because she wasn't going to score my drugs. So a few of my girlfriends came over for a sleepover and right as we were peaking my mom walked into the room and sat on the corner of my bed. There wasn't a inch of space on my walls that wasn't covered with a poster of a British rock star—Rod Stewart, The Bay City Rollers, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc. We were listening to rock music and she decided that this was the time for her to give me her feminist dissertation on rock gods and male idolatry. In particular, you may know this poster, Robert Plant in the tightest pair of hip huggers, with the biggest bulge imaginable. My mom was going on about these men I didn't know on my wall and we were just tripping our brains out.Still into rock gods?
Well, just last night I had a moment. [Night Ranger's] Sister Christian came on the radio and, I don't know, I just had a moment and turned it up.What's your biggest fashion faux pas, personally?
A deconstructed hippie grunge plaid baby-doll dress or a collaged/decoupaged pair of wooden platforms that I wore in high school.What's your dream decade?
The future.What's your guiltiest pleasure?
Anything salty followed by a sugar chaser. All of my memories are built around food. Food is my inspiration.Best Courtney Love moment?
We're at an Oscar party and she and Jack Nicholson are smoking cigars in the dark. Too many more to mention. Best Madonna moment?
My first meeting with her and Jean-Paul Gaultier in her apartment in New York, listening to the Ray of Light CD before it was released, planning and discussing the costumes for the Frozen video.Worst Madonna moment?
Being chased by rabid paparazzi in Italy en route to the MTV Europe Music Awards. I thought we were going to die in that car.What was working on Swept Away like?
It was one of the best times I ever had. We were on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean. It was a very intimate crew. I got permission to leave a week early and then I was called back when they decided to add a musical number at the very end. We needed an outfit and I couldn't find one so I ended up at the Versace showroom in Milan. I remember it was truffle season. It was awesome. See, all my memories are tied to food.Madonna in Swept AwayTell me your favorite outfit of this Madge tour.
The sexy robot section, the crystal football shoulders and the Joan of Arc silver armor breastplate in the final section.Any onstage accidents?
In 1989, Lenny Kravitz ripped a pair of vintage bell bottoms onstage and, to my shock and horror, he turned around and out popped the jewels!Your favorite rock band right now?
Wilco, Goldfrapp, Vampire Weekend, The Ting Tings, Duffy.Who taught you air guitar?
Jimmy page, of course!What's your next project?
I'm flying to Rio to shoot the cover of W with Madonna and Steven Klein. It's our third W cover.Last question, and please be honest with me. I really want to bone Guy Ritchie. Do I stand a chance?
No way.That sucks. Thanks, Arianne. See you in L.A. in a few weeks for mango margaritas. Sketch for Hedwig and the Angry Inch / still from Walk the Line / Arianne's Oscar nomination certificate
Labels: Arianne Phillips, Cesar Padilla, Courtney Love, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lenny Kravitz, Madonna, Q+A, Screen Saver, Steven Klein, Tom Ford, Versace