BlacKkKlansman costume designer inspired by female Black Panther leaders

The costume designer for Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman took inspiration from real-life female leaders from the Black Power Movement of the ’70s.Designer Marci Rodgers curated the looks for Lee’s film, which tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, the…

The costume designer for Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman took inspiration from real-life female leaders from the Black Power Movement of the ’70s.

Designer Marci Rodgers curated the looks for Lee’s film, which tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African American detective to join the Colorado Springs Police Department in the ’70s. Based on his book, Black Klansman: A Memoir, the film follows Stallworth, played by John David Washington, infiltrating and becoming a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.

“I did a lot of historical research,” the costume designer told Fashionista. “(Patrice) wears black because that was her uniform, if you will.”

Rodgers stayed authentic to the time period, combing through ’70s-era ads in vintage issues of Essence, Jet and Hustler magazines, and shopping at vintage stores as well as making custom pieces for Laura Harrier’s character, Patrice.

She referred to iconic ’70s images of civil rights activists, such as Kathleen Cleaver, former Black Panther member and current senior lecturer at Emory University School of Law, and Angela Davis, political activist, feminist and humanities professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who wore long, leather jackets, turtlenecks, knee-high boots and wore their natural hair in afros, like Patrice.

“I used different types of black fabric to give her dimension,” added Rodgers, who designed many of Patrice’s coat and A-line minidress ensembles.

For Ron’s looks, her job was made easy by the fact that the costume designer had access to the real-life former cop.

“Obviously, we had his book as a reference,” she said. “But I was able, thankfully, to have a conversation with him about what he felt made him, you know, jazzy when he went undercover.”

Rodgers came up with idea of not putting him in a suit in a key scene during the movie, which would make him stand out from the clan during initiations, as their own dress code was their version of Sunday’s Best.

“So artistically, I just stuck to that and added Ron’s version of his suit, a walking suit (a matching shirt and pants) – which was obviously a trend for men in the ’70s – and insert that into that world,” she explained. “Therefore, there was a stark line of how he walked in and what he looked like (compared to) what the banquet attendees looked like.”

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Topher Grace hid himself away as he learned ‘depressive’ BlacKkKlansman lines

Actor Topher Grace had to avoid running his lines for new movie BlacKkKlansman in front of his baby girl, because his role as a white supremacist leader was “overwhelmingly depressive”. The Spider-Man 3 star was cast as former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizar…

Actor Topher Grace had to avoid running his lines for new movie BlacKkKlansman in front of his baby girl, because his role as a white supremacist leader was “overwhelmingly depressive”.

The Spider-Man 3 star was cast as former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke in Spike Lee’s real-life race drama, and although Topher was thrilled to work with the moviemaker, he knew preparing for the job wouldn’t be at all fun.

Recalling the moment he landed the gig, he told breakfast show Today, “It was one of the great days of my career. You get this call from Spike Lee and he says…, ‘You’re my guy’. I was so excited… and then I realised, ‘Oh wait, the next month is gonna be the worst month of my life because I wound up having to do the worst research ever.”

Topher delved into Duke’s “overwhelmingly negative” memoir, My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding, and watched countless TV interviews with the white nationalist in a bid to fully understand his character, and he hated every minute.

“It was so depressing…,” he said, admitting it was also hard on his wife, Ashley.

“You gotta ask my wife, I was tough to live with,” Topher shared. “We’d actually just had a baby, our first, and I was practising my lines around the house and she’s like, ‘Can you cool it on the hate speech…?’ So I had to… go into the basement…”

The actor turned to film editing as a “great way to relax” to shake off Duke’s persona, focusing his spare time on cutting down Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy into a single two-hour picture for his own enjoyment, but he insists filming BlacKkKlansman was actually a lot easier to process.

“When we shot it, it was really fun, it was all the research that you have to do to become the person (that was tough),” he explained. “I’m not a method actor, I don’t get so into my work I take it home with me, but this one… it’s just overwhelmingly depressive… Being in his head is just not a place you want to be.”

BlacKkKlansman stars Denzel Washington’s son John David as Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Stallworth managed to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan in his first assignment in the 1970s.

The movie opens in America this week (10Aug18).

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Kristen Stewart walks barefoot at Cannes to protest flat-shoe ban

Kristen Stewart was a red carpet rebel at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday night (14May18).The Personal Shopper actress and Cannes jury member stepped out at the French film event to attend the premiere of BlacKkKlansman, the new movie directed by Sp…

Kristen Stewart was a red carpet rebel at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday night (14May18).

The Personal Shopper actress and Cannes jury member stepped out at the French film event to attend the premiere of BlacKkKlansman, the new movie directed by Spike Lee which stars John David Washington and Adam Driver.

However, it was Kristen who courted the most attention at the screening. Dressed in a sparkly silver Chanel minidress, she proceeded to walk past the first bank of photographers before stopping and removing her black Christian Louboutin stilettos.

Kristen then walked barefoot up the steps to the cinema and carried her shoes in her hands. In her actions, it appears the 28-year-old was making a statement against the Cannes Film Festival rules that maintain women attending gala premieres must wear heels and “no flats”. Men are expected to wear a black tie.

The Cannes dress code became a controversial topic in 2015 when a number of women attending a premiere were stopped from entering for wearing flat soled shoes instead of high heels. Dubbed “Heelgate”, the incident saw celebrities such as Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts flout the rules at premieres the following year in a show of solidarity and protest.

Kristen also addressed the saga in an interview with Vanity Fair during the 2016 festival, stating that she felt the dress code was antiquated and sexist.

“Things have to change immediately,” she said of the wardrobe guidelines. “It has become really obvious that if (a man and I) were walking the red carpet together and someone stopped me and said, ‘Excuse me, young lady, you’re not wearing heels. You cannot come in.’ Then (I’m going to say), ‘Neither is my friend. Does he have to wear heels?’ It can work both ways. It’s just like you simply cannot ask me to do something that you are not asking him. I get the black-tie thing but you should be able to do either version-flats or heels.”

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Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman gets 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes

Spike Lee has another big hit on his hands after his new film BlacKkKlansman landed the biggest standing ovation from critics at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday (14May18).The movie, starring Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington as the first…

Spike Lee has another big hit on his hands after his new film BlacKkKlansman landed the biggest standing ovation from critics at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday (14May18).

The movie, starring Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington as the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, centres around the cop’s efforts to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan in his first assignment.

BlacKkKlansman, produced by the team behind Get Out, was given a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes on Monday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In addition, it was reported that viewers broke out in applause at several moments throughout the screening, and at the conclusion of the movie, Lee was seen being given a hug by Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan.

Washington and his co-stars Topher Grace and Adam Driver were also at the premiere, with Driver also appearing in the festival’s closing night film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

Earlier reviews of BlacKkKlansman have also been positive, with a writer from The Guardian describing the film as an “entertaining spectacle” and “clanging rebuke to the New Trump Order”, while a Vulture critic dubbing the movie “one of his most flat-out entertaining films in years”.

Speaking about the film with The Hollywood Reporter recently, Lee explained that the project was first brought to him by Get Out writer/director Jordan Peele, and he was immediately intrigued by the narrative due to the social and political climate in the U.S. at the time, especially with the Unite the Right rally occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.

“I mean, No. 1, there was a murder. Susan Bro lost her daughter. And then No. 2, Agent Orange (U.S. President Donald Trump) refused to repudiate the Klan, the alt-right and the Nazis. ‘There’s good people on both sides.’ That’s gonna be on his gravestone. He’s on the wrong side of history,” he said of the protests.

The provocative project is vying for the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or prize, and is up against films such as Everybody Knows, which stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake, as well as Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book.

BlacKkKlansman, which also features Harry Belafonte and Laura Harrier, is due to hit cinemas from early August.

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