With its hip setting at the Park Hyatt in Japan, a wardrobe that includes Marc Jacobs and M.R.S., and ooh, that soundtrack, Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” is the fashion movie to beat this fall. But the sleek “Matrix”-inspired look of “Underworld,” starring Kate Beckinsale as Selene, a vampire warrior with a “Romeo and Juliet”-esque infatuation for a human being hunted by werewolves, might give Coppola a run for her Fred Segal charge card.
The industrial leather bodysuits and trenches Beckinsale wears are Roberto Cavalli-meets-Helmut-Lang and the whole vampire-werewolf storyline has more in common with a Dior Homme extravaganza, but production designer Bruton Jones, who also worked on “Blade,” was actually inspired by Gianni Versace.
This story first appeared in the September 13, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We stayed away from the Prada and Armani look that was part of ‘Blade,’ and went for something that was a little more Baroque with a little bit of the Victorian,” Jones explains. “‘Blade’ is slicker, but there’s more detail in ‘Underworld.’”
Though the film has its modern touches — Jones used titanium hues to achieve a contemporary “steel, raw look,” while his palette, full of colors like burgundy and chocolate brown, subliminally suggests blood — its style originates in an array of historical periods. There’s the aura of the Gothic 12th century in the architecture; a medallion that plays a role in the storyline was influenced by 16th century jewelry; a jacket Beckinsale wears features quasi-early Renaissance embroidery.
“Then we jumped over to the Roman Baroque for the vampire costumes,” Jones, who is already helping to plan a sequel, says. “And this is how Gianni Versace comes in. He borrowed heavily from the classic mid-Renaissance and the Manneristic age — the patterns, the alignment of his buttons. We tried to give ‘Underworld’ that elegant and understated look.