American Hustle: 6 Things You Need To Know About The Seventies-tastic Costumes

19 December 2013 by

American Hustle Halston Costumes

Jennifer Lawrence (our BFF) is hilarious, Bradley Cooper sports an impressive perm and Christian Bale’s horrendous comb-over almost steals the show, but it's the costumes in American Hustle that we really fell in love with. The film is set in New Jersey in 1978, giving costume designer Michael Wilkinson free regin to celebrate the decade’s glitz and glamour. We're talking gowns drenched in sequins, plunging necklines and brilliantly flamboyant hair-dos. 'I was thrilled at the prospect of doing a film set in the 1970s,' Wilkinson tells The Telegraph. 'It was an era for clothes when ideas were big, people lived large, took risks and didn't give a damn'. And that means many a fash-tastic moment. Here's what you need to know about the characters' clobber...

1. Wilkinson worked with real clothes from the '70s

'We watched every film set in New York and New Jersey in 1978, looked at endless photographs of 'real' people from the period, and magazine shoots, advertising and high fashion,' Wilkinson reveals. 'I mixed high end vintage designer pieces - Halston, Gucci, Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Dior and Ozzie Clark - and custom made costumes'. He even created a lot of the clothes from scratch, designing costumes for specific moments in the film.

American Hustle Halston Costumes

2. Amy Adams has 40 costume changes

Amy Adams plays Sydney Prosser, a seductive con artist who is forced to work with the FBI. With no less than 40 changes in the film, she shimmies through the scenes in plunging gowns, slinky wrap dresses and fur coats, topped off with oversized sunglasses. 'She picks out Diane von Furstenberg dresses, wears Halston, and starts really enjoying this new silhouette, this new freedom – it’s super-sophisticated and confident,' says Wilkinson.

American Hustle Halston Costumes

3. Jennifer Lawrence wanted to look 'awkward'

As Rosalyn, Jennifer Lawrence wears her hair piled high in a magnificent bouffant while a set of red acrylic nails become her trademark. 'I imagined her never going out, flipping through the magazines, buying these clothes, imagining that she’d look exactly like the pictures – but she has no idea how to dress for her body,' says the actress. 'I wanted her to look a little awkward.' The character switches from frumpy house dresses to dressed-to-kill evening wear, most memorably sporting a clingy white metallic dress for a night at the casino.

American Hustle Halston Costumes

4. Gucci bags a starring role

Frida Giannini, Gucci’s Creative Director, jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the Seventies glamour. Amy Adams is decked out in the Italian house's accessories, from the iconic Bamboo Lady Lock handbag to the horsebit necklace, earrings, bracelet and high-heeled loafers, all signature Gucci pieces. 'Amy is a real Gucci woman – sensual, elegant, intelligent and full of life,' says the designer. 'It’s great to see Gucci worn with this attitude, as it really epitomises the essence of the label.'

American Hustle Halston Costumes

6. And Halston provided the phwoar factor

Considering the era of Studio 54 became synonymous with Halston’s designs, who better to turn to for an extra dash of slinky sexiness? In keeping with the 1970s time period, the brand loaned a series of iconic vintage Halston items from its extensive archives, including a camel coat, a beige silk blouse featuring that signature plunging neckline and a sharply tailored brown leather dress. What more could you ask for? 'It would be difficult to imagine making America Hustle without including vintage Halston,' says Wilkinson. 'In the '70s, Halston created a new look for the modern American woman, and Amy’s character Sydney epitomizes this fresh, streamlined and elegant confidence.' What more could you ask for?

American Hustle Halston Costumes

American Hustle is released nationwide from 1st January. In the meantime, watch the costumes in action in the trailer below...


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