In the heart of Fashion Island, a group of fashion enthusiasts gathered at the Neiman Marcus courtyard to listen to an intimate discussion moderated by Cheresse Pentella, Neiman Marcus’ public relations manager. The event, which came on the heels of the Newport Beach Film Festival, was the fruit of a collaboration between Visit Newport Beach, the marketing agency for the City of Newport Beach, Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF), Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Island and Neiman Marcus.
Cheresse invited Alex Badia, WWD’s style director, to stage and the audience broke into an applause. He looked effortlessly cool, wearing a white Hermès shirt underneath a navy-blue Dries Van Noten bomber jacket, styled with Dries Van Noten pants. “Dries Van Noten is like an easy way out, you know?” he said when asked about his outfit. “It’s like you know you’re going to be fine.” Badia then delved into a discussion about his Spanish roots, his college years (he called himself a “terrible student”) and his strong admiration for 50’s and 60’s films and music videos at a precocious age. He recalled falling in love with the art of visual storytelling—which is why he opted for a career as a fashion critic instead of a designer—after meeting a fashion editor at GQ when he was 19. “I just like telling people what I like,” he confessed.
Pentella then asked Badia about trends, which prompted a boarder conversation on the now rule-breaking, seasonless nature of fashion. “It’s a never-ending conversation,” he said. “It’s great because you break all the rules. Who cares if you wear white after Labor Day? Who cares? That’s ridiculous.” Later, he added: “In terms of trends, I think [in] spring and summer, we saw already the beginning of the 80s resurgence.” He went on to list the current must-haves and trends are finding a second life—sequins, plaid, power shoulders, bright fall colors, references mixed with different eras. He even mentioned Gucci’s designer Alessandro Michele, who sent models carrying replicas of their own heads as accessories down the runway during Milan Fashion Week this year. “Super freaky,” Badia said. “But yeah, why not? There’s no boundaries.”
The discussion evolved to include Badia’s thoughts on the similarities in fashion between the east coast and the west coast, what defines the “LA” woman and effects of social media on the industry. Pentella then invited costume designers Nadine Haders and Paco Delgado to the stage. Nadine Haders, who dreamed up the wardrobe for Oscar-winning satirical horror flick Get Out, spoke of how she imbued the characters’ clothes with symbolism, taking into account their personality traits.
When Pentella brought up the fact that contemporary films, as opposed to period pieces, only get a nod for costume design once in a blue moon, Delgado chimed in. “I always find [contemporary films] as difficult as period pieces, if not more sometimes,” he said. Delgado, who is a two-time Oscar nominee for his work in Les Misérables and The Danish Girl and is known for his complex and bold color choices, later added: “When you do contemporary, it’s very hard to see sometimes what’s going on. It’s also the level of subtlety to create a character is much more high.”
“It’s a fine line to try to find a way to be contemporary and not put yourself in a hole of being super trendy, because that really ages a film,” Haders explained. “And if it’s a good film, you want to watch it and not be laughing at what they look like in 20 years from now. You want it to still be relevant, to still feel real, you know?”
During the close-to an hour-long event, Haders and Delgado explained the process involved in creating costumes for film, which starts with thoroughly reading the script a few times over, analyzing the characters with the director, creating mood boards, and even listening to the actors’ take on their roles. After the discussion drew to an end, that same evening, Badia presented the Breakout Award to Haders and Icon Award to Delgado at the Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) Honors Awards.