Feathers ruffled over Black Swan

Extravagant tutus created for the ballet film have caught the eye of Oscar judges, but an off-screen costume drama puts the designers in the shade

The exquisitely crafted tutus in the much praised Black Swan rival actress Natalie Portman's honed physique as a reason to watch the hit film. But unlike Portman, the fashion house Rodarte, which was responsible for the feathered creations, will not be lapping up the acclaim this awards season.

The sisters behind the ballet costumes will miss out on the glory of an all but guaranteed Academy Award nomination for best costume design on Tuesday, because they are not the film's official costumiers. Instead, Amy Westcott will accept the plaudits if the movie wins an Oscar on 27 February: her name is on the credits, even though the black, sequinned tutu that features in the film's promotional shots is not designed by her.

Black Swan has already picked up best costume nominations from Bafta, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, and the Costume Designers' Guild, as well as scores of others for categories ranging from best movie and best director to best screenplay and best actress: Portman walked off with that accolade at last week's Golden Globes.

Westcott said that Rodarte's Black Swan designs echoed its "vulture-inspired" collection for autumn/winter 2010. Rodarte – otherwise known as Kate and Laura Mulleavy – created 40 costumes for the thriller, dressing the entire corps de ballet as well as Portman and her co-star, Mila Kunis.

It was the Mulleavy sisters' connections with Portman that landed them the Black Swan job: the actress is one of their biggest fans and regularly wears their creations on the red carpet. The pair are highly revered in the fashion industry, with Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Louboutin among their supporters. Other movie star clients include Keira Knightley, Cate Blanchett and Kirsten Dunst. Michelle Obama is another fan.

It is nothing new for fashion houses to miss out on award glory. Merle Ginsberg, of The Hollywood Reporter, said there was a "long history of fashion designers creating costumes for stars above and beyond what a film's costume designer does – and not getting the credit".

Helen O'Hara, deputy online editor at the film title Empire, called the omission part of a "fine old tradition". She added: "There's a bit of clannishness that goes on. The professional stage and screen designers don't particularly warm to fashion designers coming in and expecting a nomination."

In 1954, Edith Head accepted the best costume Oscar for Audrey Hepburn's outfits in Sabrina; controversially because it was Hubert de Givenchy who dressed the style icon. Other designers have been similarly overlooked when it comes to nominations, including Jean-Paul Gaultier for The Fifth Element; Ralph Lauren for Annie Hall; and Giorgio Armani for American Gigolo. Similarly, Manolo Blahnik created the shoes for Marie Antoinette, which took the 2006 Oscar for costume design, yet is barely credited.

Ms O'Hara added: "The fashion industry doesn't lack for opportunities to congratulate itself, but if they've done a lot of work I'd like to see them acknowledged."

Other films tipped for Oscar costume glory include The King's Speech, Burlesque, Inception and Alice in Wonderland, but Black Swan is the industry favourite.

The costume controversy is far from the only storm to have surrounded Black Swan. Dancers including Deborah Bull and Tamara Rojo have criticised the film's depiction of the ballet world as a place where bulimia, self-harm, lesbianism, and psychological and sexual abuse are rife. Bull, who danced with the Royal Ballet, claimed the movie had set the public's perception of ballet back by 50 years and was riddled with clichés.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

    £23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

    Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

    £14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower