Need some eye candy? Stream these movies for a hit of glorious costumes.

Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Need to get lost in a costume drama right now? I know I do; for those of us who love clothing-as-artistry, there's nothing like disappearing into a sumptuous outfit extravaganza. The past few years have brought us some gems in that department -- take a look at "Black Panther," "The Favourite," "Little Women" and "Phantom Thread" if you missed any of them -- but I went a bit further back, to find some glorious eye candy.

"Anna Karenina" (2012); costumes designed by Jacqueline Durran; available on Netflix, Amazon, iTunes

Not everyone loved Joe Wright's wildly theatrical version of the Tolstoy classic -- but oh, those costumes. Durran took inspiration from the 1950s (yes, this Anna is wearing Chanel jewelry, even though she's in 19th-century Russia) and the result was a dazzling whirl of tulle-and-silk ballgowns, fur-trimmed coats, enormous skirts and dusty rainbow hues; something beautiful in every frame.

"The Aviator" (2004), designed by Sandy Powell; available on Hulu, Amazon, iTunes

Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film depicted the life of Howard Hughes, with much of it taking place in 1920s-40s Hollywood -- a rich setting for a costumer, particularly since the film featured Katharine Hepburn (played by Cate Blanchett), Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), Jean Harlow (Gwen Stefani) and other glamorous Tinseltown figures. Fun fact: Powell re-created one of Blanchett's costumes for the film for herself to wear to the Oscars.

"Belle" (2013); costumes designed by Anushia Nieradzik; available on Amazon, iTunes


This period drama, from British filmmaker Amma Asante, didn't get much notice when it was released in early 2014; pity, as it was lovely in all respects. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays a biracial woman in 18th-century England, raised by her nobleman father's family after her mother's death. The costumes -- elaborate dresses with fluted sleeves, overskirts and detailed bodices -- took inspiration from art of the period, including a 1779 painting picturing the real-life woman who inspired the movie.

"Carol" (2015); costumes designed by Sandy Powell; available on Amazon, iTunes

Powell and Blanchett have collaborated often (also see the gloriously detailed "Cinderella"); here, the story is a haunting 1950s lesbian romance from filmmaker Todd Haynes, and the clothing was inspired by vintage fashion but mostly created anew. Blanchett wears the pale fur coats, perfectly fitted suits, small hats and slender silhouettes of a quietly elegant '50s woman; you can almost smell her expensive perfume.

"Coco Before Chanel" (2009), costumes designed by Catherine Leterrier; available on Amazon, iTunes


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