Did You See This?

How Costume Design Secretly Tells Stories in Movies

If you don’t notice, that’s the point.

This video essay from Now You See It argues costume design is “a vital layer of world-building” that can quietly redefine a movie. In a sci-fi or fantasy film, costumes give a pretty good idea of the rules of the fictional world we’ve just been introduced to; in a period film, they can suggest the passage of time.

The video also analyzes specific costumes from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s robes to Willy Wonka’s iconic purple velvet jacket, and it reveals how costume designers are telling us stories, even if we don’t notice.