Organized by the IndieWire Crafts team, Craft Considerations is a platform for filmmakers to talk about recent work that we think deserves accolades. In partnership with United Artists Releasing, for this edition we take a look at how House of Gucci costume designer Janty Yates went behind the scenes at one of fashion’s biggest brands.
Costume designer Janty Yates has been one of director Ridley Scott’s most trusted collaborators for more than 20 years — they’ve made 14 films together since Yates’ Oscar-winning work on ‘Gladiator’ in 2000 — but Yates never takes the partnership for granted. acquired. “I’m always incredibly grateful to be asked,” Yates told IndieWire in a recent interview. “I never, ever assume that I’m going to do the next one.” Yates and Scott’s most recent project, “House of Gucci,” had been on Yates’ radar for decades thanks to his close relationship with Scott and his wife Giannina Facio, who produced the film. “Giannina had it for 20 years and I used to hear them talking about it,” Yates recalled. “It went to Wong Kar-Wai at one point, and it went to Jordan, Ridley’s daughter… I would always raise my hand and say, ‘Don’t forget me,’ and then it would go away.”
When Scott finally decided to run “House of Gucci” himself, Yates was the obvious choice for a pop epic in the fashion world, and she had what she described as her usual reaction to being approached. “I’m always thrilled and I’m always terrified,” she said, adding that one source of dread was the prospect of working with Lady Gaga, a fashion icon who she feared would react negatively to the Scott’s conception of his character. “Ridley came in and said he wanted Lady Gaga to be pretty conservative,” Yates recalled. “He didn’t use the word conservative, but he didn’t want her to be like Joan Collins or wear a meat dress or something.” Luckily, during their first Zoom meeting, Yates discovered that Gaga’s character vision aligned with Scott’s. “She said she wanted to dress like her mother, and her mother is 100% Italian and a woman of a certain age, so it was wonderful – I wouldn’t have to talk her out of doing crazy things .”
Costumer Gaga proved to be one of Yates’ biggest challenges on “House of Gucci” due to the sheer number of outfits: 54, including new shoes, bags and accessories for each outfit. Luckily for Yates, the actress’ intense process of becoming Patrizia Reggiani’s character was just as rigorous when it came to determining her wardrobe. “Normally we just make sure the costumes are fitted properly and the jewelry is done on the day,” Yates explained, but the costume designer’s early and extensive collaboration with Gaga, through countless hours of fittings, allowed Yates to plot Patrizia’s ascent and descent arc. in incredible detail — as you’ll see in the video below:
Gaga’s costumes and props also drove many decisions made by other departments; cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and production designer Arthur Max had to follow his lead in coming up with a color palette for the film. Yates added that coordinating with Scott, Wolski and Max was “terribly important, because you don’t want someone wearing a red dress against red walls and disappearing into the background.”
The complexity of the job was made a little more manageable by the fact that “House of Gucci” was shot largely in sequence, which made it easier for Yates and the actors to follow the character arcs and make the necessary adjustments throughout production. “Anything in order is glorious,” she raved. “Absolutely glorious. You know, it never happens that way. Yates noted that his communication with the cast is still a key part of his job; she feels that making actors feel comfortable is as much her job as the director’s. “That’s a big part of it, because very often you see the actors before Ridley sits down with them and discusses their character,” Yates said. “And so they very often get a hook from the costumes and then can develop the character from that hook. You want to make sure they’re happy because a happy actor gives a happy performance.
Indeed, one of the greatest pleasures of “House of Gucci” is the exuberant and offbeat work of Jared Leto, unrecognizable beneath prosthetic makeup and clashing fashions as the family’s black sheep, Paolo. As with Gaga, Yates was concerned about Leto’s pre-existing status as a style icon when considering how to approach the character. “Jared really is a fashionista,” she observed, “and I thought, ‘What are we going to do that would work for a vintage look? I contacted the tailors of ‘The Great Beauty’, which is a beautifully adapted movie, and asked, ‘Would you be interested in doing Jared Leto?’ They said yes, which was fantastic. The result of Yates’ discussions with the Attolini family (the master tailors from Naples whom she brought on board) was a vision of Paolo as “a dandy’s dandy.” We picked the biggest window panes, the horizontal and vertical striped shirts, the loudest ties, anything loud.
Another “House of Gucci” performer went in the opposite direction one would expect for a film focused on fashion and style. As Gaga’s psychic advisor, Salma Hayek opted for the least flattering wardrobe possible. “She’s absolutely crazy in a lovely way,” Yates laughed. “She came into the fitting room and said, ‘There’s nothing here for me, there’s nothing serious enough. So we had to run out and find awful dressing gowns and things like that. Basically, we just provided her with the worst costumes we could and she loved it.
For Yates, costumes are key to expressing character, which made his association with Scott particularly fruitful. “He comes up with the most wonderful ideas and he loves the costume and he loves the change it can bring to a character,” she said. “Plus, we have a shortcut now. He says, “I don’t want it like that, but I want it like that,” and I’ll know exactly what he means immediately, whereas anyone listening would have no idea. Yates added, “Every work is different and every work is terrifying, whether it’s sci-fi, contemporary or 3000 BC,” making Scott’s knowledge and passion for designing suits a valuable trait. “It’s pretty unique among directors I’ve worked with,” Yates concluded.