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Movie Analyis: Gladiator

Considering the notion 'Art Influences Fashion' conduct a detailed analysis of the movie 'Galdiator'  and present different ways in which the movie influenced the fashion in the real-world.

Answer

Art Influences Fashion

(A movie Analysis – Gladiator)

Art is very exquisite, purposeful, and has a lot of depth. As fashion is seen, it is a diluter form of art, and is basically its derivation. Fashion and clothing are seen as attainable and tangible but art is seen as unattainable, and pretty distant. Yes, the difference is there but both have a very essential relation and similarities. There are many theories and concepts that point out the same. The essay derives the relation between fashion and art through an analysis of the movie ‘Gladiator’, and the costumes and fashion that has marked the movie. Gladiator is an award winning epicdrama film released in 2000 and holds a strong historical current, depicting the Roman cultural façade (Scott). The director is Ridley Scott and the writer is David Franzoni along with John Logan, and William Nicholson. The protagonist is enacted by Russell Crowe and other talented actors of the movie are Joaquin Phoenix, Ralf Moller, and Connie Nielsen. The fashion designer of the movie is Janty Yates. She is a famous and award winning designer, and an artist who has born 1950. A British[3] costume designer for both the mediums- film and television, she won she won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design In 2001, and again in 2000, for the film Gladiator. In addition, she has been nominated for awards like BAFTA Saturn , and Satellite Awards (Scott). Gladiator is a movie loved by all and along with its screenplay, direction, and acting, it also took one of the five 73rd Academy Awards for the best costume design. The costume line is an epic collection for this movie and is pretty famous. There is a symbolic punch that this carries and the fashion adds to this punch.

Fashion is the art of utility, we live our lives with fashion, which is a form of everyday art otherwise. Fashion is undoubtedly inspired by, and is a tributary of art. It gives us insight into cultures, history, and contemporary art.  Past fashions and styles that particularly belong to a time period bring on a lot of awareness of the attitude of the people of that period and their inclination towards aesthetics. Janty Yates has used the costumes of Gladiator to represent the attitudes and culture of the Roman clan of the time of AD 180 (Keen et al.). The film’s costumes though are mostly worn by fictional characters, there are lot of additions made to the Costumes which within the film are not seen as historically precise. But they serve a purpose of executing attractive art in the movie. Art that brings out the masculinity of the characters. They wear fantasy helmets in the movie. The bands which they wrap around their lower arms are fictional but give weightage to their military attires. This influence on Janty Yates fashion comes from the historical movies where people of ancient times wore bands. Gladiator being set in the 2nd century AD, the armor and helmets are from AD 75. The time difference of representation thus to that of a century. Also, the Germanic tribes are wearing clothes that belong to the Stone Age (Keen et al.). Thus, Janty Yates has used fashion both from earlier and later centuries, deviating slightly from the main period of the depiction of the movie. This is so because the art of those periods suited the characters more. Thus fashion in movies is very much a representation of art that looks aesthetic to the audiences and beautify visual arts (Miller). For this purpose, the historical accuracy of the movie has been compromised with. The costumes of gladiator are heavy and bulbous to accommodate the art and design to make them typical to Roman culture and more attractive. Historical movies were a good canvas for representation of contemporary art. Like in Gladiator there are armors and breastplates which are highly beautified with figurines.  This is unlike modern fashion which is trendy and comfortable. But even modern fashion accommodates arts in movies through its patterns and figures, fabrics and cuts. 

The costumes of Gladiator are carved and modified and divert from the Roman style slightly in places in order to act as utilitarian (Wang). Fashion makes arts utilitarian. The gladiator costumes have been designed creatively, aesthetically and to appeal visually. They are means of self-expression, just like art is. Reflecting the spirit or mood of the roman period and symbolizing their beliefs and ideas, the Gladiator fashion acts as a barometer of their art and their culture. The costumes were designed to make the characters suit their roles of aggression and royalty as the script portrayed military and royal backgrounds. The fashion devised utilitarian costumes which let the gladiators fight convincingly and the rulers look convincingly royal (Miller). The breastplates, armors, striped shorts and flow used in the costumes let the war scenes look dynamic and catchy. The female costumes have quite a flow in them depicting royalty. They are artistically and aesthetically patterned with flowers and designs. 


Flowy and Patterned Costumes

In recent years, many movies, namely the Devil wears Prada, depicts the collaborations of fashion and art like. Talking of art and fashion collaboration, designer Takashi Murakami's collaboration with Louis Vuitton has popped up fashion stores at the Art Basel Miami Beach. There never was an outright division between them, but the big question how fashion and art are influencing, improving and changing each another. This question is well answered by the movie Gladiator in which the artistic breastplates and patterned royal attires have brought about a legendary mark in roman fashion. The much fictional costumes have been influenced by art highly and this has caused the audiences admire the trends and adopt similar styles in fashion. 

Janty Yates is inspired by art in many ways. She has made clothes for tough gladiators but has inculcated careful shapes and imageries and figurines into the attires (Keen et al.). In Gladiator she has used sumptouous robes for Commodus, the negative character in the movie. The robes are the togas that were worn by Roman men, a long robe with an arm missing. But the robes were flowy and carried designs of some sort. This was done by the designer in order to create visual appeal in the otherwise plain attires. Thus she has carefully inculcated art into her dressing line across the movie. Commodus’s attires uses different designs in nearly every scene, including elaborate and ornately crafted breastplates, and wreaths of metal. There is a good amount of latticework and fineries used of dazzling gold color and other colors (Geczy, and Karaminas). Animal fur has been inculcated into a classy breastplate for Maximus in his first scene. Janty Yates has tried to bring in a touch of wilderness gently into the dressing line of the film. Maximus’s outfits are minimalistic and portrayed as a soldier’s for most part of the film.  Commodus' outfits are glorified throughout the movie, denoting his royalty. There are artistic designs of gold chains, and embroideries on his dresses. A variety of outfits act as canvases that show that art has had a profound influence on the designer’s creations in this line. Clothing in this movie is one that depicts a lot of contrast. Commodus is the most antagonistic character in this movie but has the best and richest fabrics, flashes the most colors, and flaunts the largest wardrobe in the entire film. The dresses of Maximus are less flashy, designed economically, and simple and dirty. This may show a person’s true character thus painting his character on the canvas of the film.  Representing the character through fashion is a way of correct visual arts and imagery. The best costumes portray the right characters through the use of art in the film. 


                                                        Figurines on Breastplates

McLauglin’s approach is also useful in understanding the relation of bodies and clothes in the context of a performance. In the process of articulating fashion, many different identities can be depicted. A cultural picturization is done through lines of dresses (Geczy, and Karaminas). A strategic steez has created styles of artists such as Michael Jackson, Annie Lennox, or Madonna to create their personas. Clothes played a huge role in creating identities of these characters. It is thus a tool to perform perfectly in one’s own role. Fashion is the climbing stone of pop success, a popular music. Let one consider the case of an avant-garde pop musician and analyze the ways in which her works are collaborated with creativity and the world of fashion. Bjork works by imaginatively combining music, fashion, and visual arts and producing the performances that bring her to the heart of many people. It is essentially the collaborations and joint play of the elements that work to make performances successful. In films too, the elements of art, fashion and visual appeal combine. In the Gladiator movie, there are many facades of Rome and aspects of Roman characters that are articulated and executed through the fashion line donned by the characters. The world of fashion is succinctly collaborated with creativity to depict the styles and elements of the Roman culture and art. Janty Yates has collaborated such elements to reach the fabulous award winning costumes of the film. There is careful attention given to nuances of the military costumes, personal effects, etc. Gladiator is an advanced cinematic portraiture of the Roman Empire, clubbing artistic and appealing fashion with the utilitarian costumes as required in the plot of the movie. Though some historical accuracy has been sacrificed but a lot of glamour and art has been added.

There has also been a perception about fashion. The assumption is that fashion is frivolous and could be a way of understanding the manners of showing sexuality of females whereas art is masculine and purposeful. Thus art is placed above fashion (R. Webb). This concept has been challenged by the feminist philosophy that has stated that corporeality is the way of gaining all knowledge and get art executed. Gladiator has also showed a relation between true art and fashion through its costumes that club elements of design that show the roman cultures through the masculine costumes of men. These costumes are artistic, and expressive of the aggression, along with a lot of flow of feminism, and the ardent steez of the characters. Thus it is not mere frivolous fashion but it is a dynamic, strong, expressive and creative fashion. It is definitely deep and impactful. Thus, it is art. Fashion is then compared with art when it is seen as something deeper, with greater validity, and with a highlighted purpose. Fashion’s actual meaning is seen when it derives on art. For example, there is a Balenciaga dress from the 1950s which looked like an ornament with its shining case made of Glass in a gallery. It looks like a work of art any given day, and closer to art (Bugg). It looks less like a fashionable dress. Like many other forms of design, namely architecture, fashion carries its attributes and slight elements that differentiate it from pure art, or industrial design. But the genre and roots are definitely the same. The Gladiator’s costumes and fashion line also proves that fashion is a three-dimensional form of visual arts that incorporates arts and crafts in it.

Glass Case Dress

Films and visual arts are at juxtapositions (Varol). Fashion and art is nearly synonymous when it comes to the representation of films. Both are used to create imagery. They are directed at bringing characters to life and motion. Fashion in cinema is art in motion (R. Webb). In Gladiator, Janty Yates has brought life to visual arts in motion though the inclusion of fashion that talks through their characters. She has artified the characters well by using imageries, artifacts and figurines (Munich). She has also brought in patterns and cuts to suit the military background of the protagonist and the royal background of the antagonist of the movie. 

The characters wear fashion in movies, or the fashion wears the characters is difficult to say. There are characters like Madam Satan which wear Gilbert Adrian’s design (Bruzzi, and Gibson). 

                                                               Madam Satan

The design spells lust, revenge, and sex and is claimed to be outstanding. Now the virtue of making the design successful goes to the character successfully carrying it. Thus fashion is an art brought alive by the artist. In Gladiator movie too, fashion and dresses are brought to life by the characters, heroes, and villains of the movie. They wear the dress and thus give them an underlying meaning and thus make it an art (Bruzzi, and Gibson). Thus, fashion is synonymous to art in cinemas, as they define characters and give life to them, just like in visual arts.

The protagonist, Russell Crowe, in The Gladiator has used 12 sets of armor and Janty Yates has made sure that all suit the character in terms of artistic appeal. The armors have different patterns, designs and figurines. These armors relating them to the state in which the protagonist is- whether he is a general, turned to a slave, or finally the one who rises as a Gladiator. Thus the art and fashion has together taken care of the aesthetic appeal and the plot of the film (Thornquist). There were figurines of silver on his breastplate. The figurines depicted nature and included shapes of trees, Dragons, Birds, and Horses. They connect the humane qualities of Russell Crowe to the film. These art forms: the horse brings out the strength of the protagonist; the tree brings out the benevolence and the dragons bring out the ferocity and aggression of the character. Thus the fashion in the movie carefully brings out the beautiful relationship between the character and the costumes. What Janty Yates has done is not very different from what a painter does on a canvas: painting out the character. 

In conclusion, the analysis of the movie, the Gladiator shows the manner in which fashion is deeply connected to, and influenced by art (Munich). The two have an interrelation such that just one look at a costume or fashion accessory makes one relate it to one’s character. The movie has used the designer successfully to portray the charisma of the Roman fighters of the ancient times. A free depiction of the artforms has slightly taken the line of dresses away from the true historical story it is depicting, but the careful articulation has kept the essence and articulation related to the theme of the roman grandeur and heroism. Janty Yates has established award winning fashion through the use of intricate art on costumes. 


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