‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Downton Abbey’ And More Win Big At 2014 Costume Designers Guild Awards

Sure, the Oscars are the crown jewel of awards season fashion as far as the red carpet is concerned, but don’t sleep on the Costume Designers Guild Awards. The clothes from your favorite movies and TV shows (and even commercials) deserve love, too, and the CDGAs is where they get it. Being that we’re fans of style off and on the screen, we’re breaking down this year’s biggest winners.


A still from “Behind The Candelabra.”
Photo: HBO Films

Category: Outstanding Made For Television Movie Or Mini Series
Winner: Behind the Candelabra costume designer, Ellen Mirojnick
What Makes This Wardrobe Rad: It’s no secret that we loved (still and will forever love, TBH) HBO’s Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra. Between Michael Douglas drenched (DRENCHED) in head-to-toe baby pink sequins and Matt Damon swanning out of kidney bean-shaped pools in bedazzled man-kinis, what’s not to love, amirite? Liberace is the definition of over-the-top opulence, and BOY, Ellen Mirojnick delivered.

A still from “Behind the Candelabra.”
Photo: HBO Films

And, while it’s hard to tell because Douglas and Damon (AND ROB LOWE) are pictured pulling so many Drakes (“I wear every single chain, even when I’m in the house”), dripping with gold at every hour of the day, I dare say Ellen didn’t go too far overboard with the baubles and gems. In a really surprising way, it all feels just right.


A still from “Downton Abbey” Season Three.
Photo: BBC/PBS

Category: Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series
Winner: Downton Abbey costume designer, Caroline McCall
What Makes This Wardrobe Rad: Caroline McCall has taken the Downton Abbey cast and wardrobe from post-Titanic early 20th century opulence, in and out of the First World War, and is now ushering the series through the roaring ’20s.

A still from “Downton Abbey” Season Three.
Photo: BBC/PBS

That’s a significant change in style—from full-skirted brocades to sleeker column dresses with drop-waists and (slightly) more abbreviated hemlines—and McCall transitions through it seamlessly (pun unintended).


Stills from “House of Cards.”
Photo: Netflix

Category: Outstanding Contemporary Television Series
Winner: House of Cards costume designer, Tom Broecker
What Makes This Wardrobe Rad: Nominated amidst a roster of fan-favorite TV juggernauts—Breaking Bad, Nashville, Scandal, and Saturday Night LiveHouse of Cards rises above the rest in the way that its wardrobe adds to the scene. Since most everyone (on Capitol Hill, at least) wears business professional, HoC’s austere costume design adds to the sterility of the environment.

Stills from “House Of Cards.”
Photo: Netflix

And don’t even get me started on Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). Her Miley pixie (LOL not really, but kind of, right?) + crisp, clean lines = so much business all the time. Claire Underwood is a boss and while she’s actually quite soft-spoken—poised and reserved are probably the more accurate words here—her body-hugging, long-line dresses and starched collars King Kong-scream it from the top of the Washington Monument.


A still from the “Call of Duty: Ghosts Masked Warriors,” commercial.
Photo: Call Of Duty

Category: Excellence In Commercial Costume Design
Winner: Call of Duty: Ghosts Masked Warriors commercial costume designer, Nancy Steiner
What Makes This Wardrobe Rad: Commercials, while oft forgotten in the awards circuit, get their place in the sun at the CDGAs. Nancy Steiner’s work on this Call of Duty spot is particularly award-worthy because she pulled iconic warriors’ outfits from all points in history and corners of the globe.

A still from the “Call Of Duty: Ghosts Masked Warriors,” commercial.
Photo: Call Of Duty

And not only that, these are not the cheap Spirit Halloween version of your gladiators, Vikings, Village People, etc. Look at the feathering and beadwork on this headdress! That’s the real deal.


A still from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
Photo: Lionsgate

Category: Excellence In Fantasy Film
Winner: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire costume designer, Trish Summerville
What Makes This Wardrobe Rad: I meaaan, have you SEEN this movie/any stills from it? This is fashion to the umpteenth degree. And what a dream it must be to be able to outfit a place like the Capitol! From the multi-tiered Tex Saverio wedding dress that turns into a mockingjay to Katniss’ off-duty Nicholas K, these characters are actually swagged out in high-fashion, even as far out as District 12

A still from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
Photo: Lionsgate

And of course, there’s Effie Trinket’s entire closet, which may as well be a walking homage to Alexander McQueen. YASSSS EFFIE YASSSS!


A still from “Blue Jasmine.”
Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

Category: Excellence In Contemporary Film
Winner: Blue Jasmine costume designer, Suzy Benzinger
What Makes This Wardrobe Rad: What Suzy Benzinger does very well with Blue Jasmine is subtly but distinctively position Cate Blanchett’s title character as an outsider against her sister’s more laid-back, West Coast lifestyle. Jasmine, of course, has a Birkin, a Missoni cardigan, and sensible block-heeled shoes, while her newfound Bay Area cohorts rep casual basics 24/7.


A still from “12 Years a Slave.”
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Category: Excellence In Period Film
Winner: 12 Years a Slave costume designer, Patricia Norris
What Makes This Wardrobe Rad: Patricia Norris may not have expected to win this award—she sent her son to the ceremony, assuring him he would not have to accept an award on her behalf—but she certainly deserves it. Sure, she was up against stiff competition—including but not limited to the glittery Gatsby and American Hustle togs—but what’s so impressive about Norris’ work here is the commitment to authenticity.

A still from “12 Years a Slave.”
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

“I remember in my very first fitting, [costume designer Patricia Norris] gave me a garment with these intricate stitches—stitches over stitches, because it had been repaired so many times,” Lupita Nyong’o said in an interview with Glamour. “Once I put it on, she told me that it belonged to an actual slave woman. My heart just stopped. Each one of the stitches had a story, you know. Just recognizing this period I was going to be dancing with was a ’come to Jesus’ moment.” But not only did Norris supply actors with garments directly from the era, she and her team aged pieces with soil samples sourced from different plantations. Wow.

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