I always dreamed of having a fashion house one day so I wasn’t going to miss the Phantom Thread with Daniel Day Lewis. It won best costume by Mark Bridges and was about a Brixton couture house in London and it was, allegedly, going to be Daniel Day Lewis’ final film before retirement.
I came a little late to the party and almost missed it at the cinema. After a little research I found that the Curzon Film House in Bloomsbury was the only place in London that was still showing it! It was either 8.30pm Monday night or 3.15pm Thursday. The only option was taking the afternoon off and getting a babysitter to pick up the children. I couldn’t miss it!!
It wasn’t just the style development, skill and the beauty I wanted to see but the emotion behind being a couturier designer. I know from personal experience as a bespoke high-end uniform designer that it sometimes feels like a curse not knowing how to stop dreaming about clothing design; the details, fabrics, colours - and even imagining the people who will wear them!
I thought Daniel Day Lewis’ performance was astounding; his depiction of the nineteenth century designer’s passion and drive was utterly engrossing and entirely compelling. As I was watching it suddenly struck me that Day Lewis is a method actor! He actually learnt to sew to couturier standard for the film, which as everyone knows, to be really proficient at something you need to put 10,000 hours into it for it to become natural.
It confirmed my hunch that it’s the story behind the story that’s fascinating. I love clothes, style, fit, and I’m fascinated by them all in my style development work. But the film provided a strong reminder to dream big, to create beautiful things that delight and awe through sustainable product development and quality control tempered with passion and talent. (And to remain firmly grounded in understanding the importance of a professional yet compassionate attitude, passion and talent will never compensate entirely for people skills and good management).