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THE 75TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS | SHORT TAKES / Costume
design

The best of the rest

March 24, 2003

"Chicago"

Colleen Atwood

Four-time nominee Colleen Atwood received her first Oscar for designing "Chicago's" distinctive, slinky Jazz Age costumes.

Atwood, who regularly designs costumes for directors Tim Burton ("Ed Wood," "Planet of the Apes") and Jonathan Demme ("Silence of the Lambs," "Beloved"), researched the art and fashion of the '20s, and drew on Art Deco, Bauhaus and Cubist styles in creating the characters' sexy outfits.

She created clothing specific to each number as well as to the characters, contrasting the drab real-world Depression clothing with the vibrant hues of the cabaret scenes.

Velma Kelly's strength and gutsiness suggested black colors and bold styles, while Roxie Hart's dull flesh-toned attire segued to flashy, silver-and-fringe costumes for her fantasy life.

Lawyer Billy Flynn moved from the straw-hat song-and-dance-man outfit to elegant pinstripes for the courtroom.

Sad-sack Amos wore a baggy-pants vaudeville costume for his "Mr. Cellophane" number, and Matron Mama shifted from prison gray to shimmering gold for her show-stopping stage number.

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