Figurinista De Cine Super…

Yvonne_CoverSSC_1901SSC_1903SSC_1905With a glittering career spanning over five decades and the globe, its intriguing to discover British stalwart costume designer Yvonne Blake’s first tribute volume is written in Spanish.  Indeed, Victor Matellano’s lavishly-illustrated paperback went unbeknownst to me until late last year despite being published in 2006.

And what a volume it is.  Over the course of almost 300 pages the reader is treated to dozens of Ms. Blake’s sketches (rendered in her distinctive style) with corresponding photographs of the staggering multitude of productions showing how her creations were brought to memorable life.  Having dressed everybody from Streep to Pacino it becomes more and more remarkable as the chapters come & go just how many screen credits have been amassed in some of the most popular movies of the 20th century.

With an introduction by notoriously recluse Director Richard Lester, the book charts Blake’s early career beginning in late ’50’s London and steadily gaining momentum thanks to the British Hammer Horror productions throughout the 60’s and expanding onto bigger budget blockbusters such as ‘The Eagle Has Landed’.  By 1973 Blake had a considerable Hollywood portfolio and had caught the attention of extravagant producer Alexander Salkind, who along with his son Ilya hired Blake for their ambitious take on ‘The Three Muskateers.’ for what would infamously become two pictures shot simultaneously.  So well-received were Blake’s creations that the young designer was first and only choice for the Salkind’s next huge project, Superman: The Movie.

Chapter 11 is entitled Marlon Brando y el hombre de acero (Marlon Brando and the Man of Steel) and is devoted to exploring how these now classic creations were forged (see pics above).  From Brando’s own day-glo robes (achieved by firing light onto 3M front projection material) to the final design of the first cinematic Superhero costume not intended to draw yucks from a modern audience…

While precious little information has surfaced over the years about the nature of Blake’s Superman costume, dedicated fans including myself have pooled resources and have attempted to provide the most exhaustive guide to date (the book corroborates most of our findings short of stating the costumes were made in Austria rather than Germany) and the updated version can be found here along with sumptuous galleries portraying Blake’s most lingering legacy…

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