FN Spy: Special Oscar Preview

Costume Party
The race to the Academy Awards is on. The 84th annual star-studded event is expected to feature some standout footwear moments, both on-screen and off. This year, “The Artist,” “Hugo,” “Anonymous,” “Jane Eyre” and “W.E.” will battle for the Best Costume Design honor. So who deserves the award? Here, Mark Bridges of “The Artist” and Sandy Powell of “Hugo” offer their pitch for your consideration.

Mark Bridges, “The Artist”
Styles featured
: “For the women, Capezio and Champion ballroom dancing shoes. For the men, Brooks Brothers, Alden, Allen Edmonds and Stacy Adams.”

Design strategy: “I did a lot of research to see what was typical footwear for the period. For the lead actresses’ shoes, I custom-painted some deco shapes onto the styles.”

Challenges of finding period specific shoes: “There absolutely was a challenge of doing the research and then duplicating [the looks]. [In one case], we bought a satin dance shoe with a T-strap and then we added hand stones to duplicate a pair of French shoes that I found at a costume store in North Hollywood.”

Best footwear moments: “There is definitely a footwear scene where people are walking over a newspaper with George’s [Jean Dujardin] face on it in the rain. Also, once Peppy [Bérénice Bejo] is a star, she has boxes of shoes around her and her maid is putting a shoe on her foot.”

Sandy Powell, “Hugo”
Styles featured: “The period is set in 1931, so we found a flea market in Paris that had a supply of original 1920s shoes. For the men, we could use contemporary shoes, including laceups or broques.”

Design strategy: “I thought that designing for 3-D would be difficult, but we used a lot of worn-looking things on original costumes and it made the [outfits] look more interesting. It gave them a richer color.”

Challenges of finding period specific shoes: “It’s always a challenge trying to find the footwear, so we did make custom shoes. For Hugo [Asa Butterfield], he actually wore a contemporary fashion boot made in Italy for women, but it looked old-school.”

Best footwear moments: “There is a specific shoe moment when George’s [Ben Kingsley] [film reels] were melted down to turn into the heels on the shoes. There is a close-up of the shoe, the shape of the heel and the molten liquid.”

The Right Pair
FN editors and stylist Robert Verdi sound off on the best footwear looks for the Best Actress nominees.

Glenn Close

Past looks: Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo

Verdi’s pick: Alexander McQueen. “She will wear something classic. She’s not the fashion victim who wears the platform and high heel that scares the crap out of everyone.”

Our pick: Christian Louboutin’s black ankle-strap sandal with crystal-embellished heel. Since Close (nominated for “Albert Nobbs”) typically favors classic and understated, this style offers simplicity with an amped-up finish.


Meryl Streep
Past looks: Salvatore Ferragamo

Verdi’s pick: Dr. Martens. “Meryl Streep will wear a pair of Dr. Martens underneath a long gown, but who cares because she is Meryl Streep and we all love her.”

Our pick: Diego Dolcini’s sparkly silver pump with metal heel. While Streep (“The Iron Lady”) tends to play it safe under long gowns, this updated pump would be worth a peek.

Viola Davis
Past looks: Jimmy Choo

Verdi’s pick: Brian Atwood. “She will wear something that is fabulous. Plus, she’ll look for something with height to make her look more svelte.

Our pick: Jimmy Choo’s pre-fall ’12 nude suede sandal with crystals. Donning the brand’s red-carpet-ready styles for almost every appearance, Davis (“The Help”) is ready to rock this rhinestone look.

Michelle Williams
Past looks: Nicholas Kirkwood, Roger Vivier

Verdi’s pick: Vionnet. “She takes risks. She is more fashion-forward and ahead of the trends than most women.”

Our pick: Nicholas Kirkwood’s pre-fall ’12 fuchsia glitter sandal. A daring — and tall — choice for the red carpet, but the perfect match for Williams (“My Week With Marilyn”) and her one-of-a-kind style.

Rooney Mara
Past looks: Brian Atwood, Christian Louboutin

Verdi’s pick: Alejandro Ingelmo. “She will do something futuristic. She has defined her style as ‘other,’ like Tilda Swinton did.”

Our pick: Jerome C. Rousseau’s fall ’12 sandal with black-and-gold swirl. These sculptural stunners play to Mara’s (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) flair for drama, but up the glam factor.

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