Want to know how to cover up a less-than-perfect singing voice? Just add some “catastrophic couture” to the mix.
Meryl Streep stars in the film Florence Foster Jenkins, based on a real late 19th century socialite who yearned to sing at Carnegie Hall and seemed to calm her nerves with piled-on pearls and an endless array of over-the-top accessories.
“I was fascinated and enthralled by the character of Florence,” costume designer Consolata Boyle told The Telegraph. “And the story is about something I find really important, a love story between three people who love each other in particular ways, but also about the transformative effect of music. The simplicity of that thought was what I held on to, and everything else followed on from that.”
“She was a supreme performer, so her clothes were gorgeously outrageous,” she marvels. “They were high camp but with a softness so she drew people in. And she had no embarrassment about how she looked. Jenkins’ extraordinary eccentricities and her coterie were a very particular thing; she lived and thrived in a very sealed off world,” Boyle continues. “She dressed the same as she had as a girl, before the various tragedies and darknesses affected her life. Her costumes were like her childhood dressing-up outfits, so everything was in very childish colours.”