Director Robert Zemeckis says the film's costumes 'evoke the romantic feel of the era'
Credit: Daniel Smith
  • Movie

In Robert Zemeckis’ romantic wartime thriller Allied, set in 1942 Casablanca and London, Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are anything but the usual suspects. In fact, they’re undercover operatives — he’s from Canada, she’s from France — with secrets to uphold and romance to pursue. It’s impossible to see them together and not think of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Costume designer Joanna Johnston (Lincoln), who’s worked with Zemeckis eight times, pitched the director on upping the glamour quotient for his two leads. Zemeckis agreed. “These magnificent costumes evoke the romantic feel of the era,” he says.

With Casablanca and the Bette Davis starrer Now, Voyager (both from 1942) as guides, Johnston’s aesthetic for the era focused on simplicity and beauty. Cotillard’s gown when the two attend a formal reception for the Nazi ambassador to Morocco was an exercise in fluidity. “I wanted to do something that was quite languid but also structural,” Johnston says. “I wanted her to be watery.” Johnston added a three-dimensional embellishment of bugle beads to the left shoulder and right peplum to give the outfit both an asymmetry and a chicness.

Credit: Joanna Johnston

For Pitt, Johnston stuck to a classic 1940s tuxedo, featuring front-pleated pants and a slightly longer jacket and wider leg than men wear today. She was careful not to stray too far from the current style. “I always take into consideration how it will be for the contemporary audience,” she says. “If anything is too period, people turn away.”

Allied, which also released its first trailer on Friday, opens Nov. 23.

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  • Movie
  • R
  • 124 minutes
  • Robert Zemeckis