But Alfie's casual promiscuity is not without repercussions, and the most powerful scene comes when he is forced to arrange an illegal abortion, it is the sight of a stillborn child that has a shattering effect on him. It is here that Alfie exhibits real emotion. He decides that his womanizing days are over and decides to settle down with Ruby, a richer older woman, but when he goes to her apartment to tell her, she has already left him for a younger “him”. We are left with Alfie thinking that maybe he had taken just a few too many wrong steps in life.
I chose the film for a case study to analyze costume design in the 1960’s. The Costume design is by Miss Winters Costume- Jack Dagenais. Unfortunately for this being a prominent part of my case study I couldn’t find any further information. This allowed me to put more of a focus on the analysis of the color pallet that is used in the film, the content and character costume analysis. Although there is no substantial recording's about the costume designer, it is clear he has used costumes of typical attire for the 1960’s working class. The costumes are important historically for us, as they show a period in fashion which still in many way’s had this post war look amongst the working class in the early sixties. But it was at the very end of the decade in which fashion exploded with a kaleidoscope of colors, new materials and style and London was at the forefront of it all. The costumes in the film are still very much based on this postwar look of bland colors and materials.
Lewis Gilbert follows a very defined color palette throughout the film. The color palette is hugely important in a film and is often extremely controlled. The film opens and closes using the color palette of dark racing greens and midnight blues, a significant color to represent masculinity. He uses another color palette of creams, beiges, pastel pinks and blues in most of the scenes that appear in the girlfriend’s homes or what the woman are dressed in which again carry connotations of femininity as a color. But it is brown that is a reoccurring color that is used a lot throughout the film.
When analyzing the costumes and the color palette of each character only Gilda’s costume (played by Julia Foster) evolves with her character change. Alfie is presented in the same attire throughout the whole film, always in a suit following the color palette code. He is occasionally portrayed undressing but generally his costumes don’t change dramatically. Ruby (played by Shelley Winters) is the only character that is presented as a glamorous foreigner. Her outfits consist of fur, fitted suits and hats and her lingerie is black and blues lined with a bold colors such as red. Lily who is Harry’s wife (Vivienne Merchant) is portrayed as the most tragic character in the film; she is always represented in midnight blue and most predominantly in grey. It was Gilda’s costumes that I decided to analyse most closely though. I chose her for a characterization study as I feel that her development as a character is shown a lot through her clothing. Throughout the scenes we see her mature as a woman and become less dependant on Alfie. She is presented in dull greys and browns when we are introduced to her, once she has given birth she is presented in creams and pinks, a representation of her motherly side. It is in the scene where she decides to leave Alfie for another man, that she is presented in a bright emerald green working attire. It is her final outfit in the film that is her most significant. She is shown in this same emerald green with a bright pink hat, not only is it significant for showing her strength in character but also for showing the growing trends in London of the time.
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