The Demure 1960's Style of Elisa Esposito in Guillermo Del Toro's "The Shape of Water"

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Unless you have been living your life firmly under a mossy rock, or you have an innate aversion to pure joy, you know all about Guillermo Del Toro's gorgeous Sci Fi/Fantasy, socially conscious love story, "The Shape of Water."  I was bad this year and didn't see almost ANY of the films nominated for Best Picture (I think the only one I saw was Get Out, which I loved), even though normally I usually make it a point to see them all before the ceremony.  I know, some people like to chortle and pronounce their varying levels of distaste for all things popular and "Hollywood Elite," but I love movies and it's really just as simple as that.  I have been an avid movie lover since I first saw Judy Garland belt out "Over the Rainbow," and was captivated by all things film every since.  I am not an actor (crippling social anxiety and fear of being bad at it has stopped me), and I actually have nothing to do with film on a professional level at all, but that can't stop you from loving something or even knowing a lot about something.  Plus, I live literally 2 blocks from the theater that hosts the Oscars and my boyfriend makes horror you could say I'm a bit involved in a way.

After watching the ceremony this year and seeing one of my favorite filmmakers take home a golden statue, I knew I had to see this movie.  Del Toro is a visionary, and it was moving to see man who is widely known as a genre filmmaker actually win an Academy Award.  Fantasy, Sci Fi, and Horror are often overlooked during awards season (while Rosemary's Baby, Silence of the Lambs and Misery have all been nominated/won awards, the Exorcist is really the only film in recent memory that I would consider "genre" that has been nominated for the big one, but you could argue Silence fits in there too...and it actually won Best Picture. Ok I'll stop.).  However, the last time I saw such a clear cut Fantasy/SciFi movie take home the cake, was in 2004 for Return of the King.  Now that I'm done with my Oscar nostalgia, I'll get back to my original point: this is huge. And he deserved every bit of the praise he got for this work of art.

Alex and I rushed out the next day to see The Shape of Water, and if you haven't seen it you need to hustle, because I was enthralled the whole time and walked out of that theater with a glazed over look at a need to hug Alex as hard as I could.  I think it's also important because I'm going through a tough time dealing with loss right now, and this movie made me feel genuinely good.  Aside from the story and incredible acting by literally EVERYONE on screen, this movie is visually amazing.  I'm currently obsessing over the retro-shabby attic apartments of Elisa and Giles, and of course the effing FASHION.  It's no secret (not even a little bit) that I'm obsessed with all things vintage and retro, and the 1960s vibe of this movie nails everything I love.

Anyone else notice the wave painting on Elisa's wall?

See, I don't care much for the technicolor modern updated 1950's and 1960's clothing and interiors of most movies set during this era, I much prefer the deep earth tones and pops of era appropriate muted pastels like this movie (another movie that nails this, though not in the same color palette, is An Education with Carrie Mulligan).  I often day dream about living in a slightly shabby, slightly run down 1960's apartment and living a quiet simple life while dressed in gorgeous mid-century heavy skirts and jewel-toned sweaters.  I'm nuts, obviously.

Elisa's aesthetic in this movie is TO DIE FOR.  Like her apartment, her clothes are obviously worn in and maybe not up to the latest fashions, but in the scenes where we see her get ready for work it is obvious that she cares about her clothing and her appearance and takes the time to put herself together and make presentable.  Her apartment is the same - obviously not top-of-the-line, but loved and cared for and a true home.  Her look in the movie is demure, and unassuming.  It is quiet, like the character herself.  She looks impeccable, though we are not meant to gawk at her clothes or appearance.  Sally Hawkins was absolutely perfect casting for this role, as she's a beautiful woman, but with a unique facial structure and a radiant the emanates from inside and makes you feel comfortable.

Let's get into it, shall we?  The costumes in this film were designed by Luis Sequoia, who worked with Del Toro on The Strain and the Del Toro produced Mama.  The fashion is distinctly Cold War Era, but also playful and whimsical. We see a lot of wool skirts and coats, and of course, a little touch of Del Toro with a butterfly brooch pinned to the lapel of her green coat (seen above).

In the film, Elisa's color palette changes from muted, earth-toned greens, and then we see her change to its compliment, red, after her romance with the creature grows stronger.

She also has this gorgeous hat that she uses for a pillow on her nightly commute home.

Her hairstyle is also very tidy, with a smooth, flipped under bob held neat and in place by a cloth-covered headband.  Her makeup is light, and her fingernails are tidy and manicured, but not flashy or colored.

Want to copy Elisa?  I've done the work for you!! Here are my favs, and a few things I think Elisa would approve of.

Want to learn all about the making this film, and get some up close and personal attention with Elisa's style and the aesthetic of The Shape of Water? Click here to order this amazing book (it's sold out now, but place an order because they will get more in stock!)

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