Woody Allen wanted nothing to do with the hugely important wardrobe for Blue Jasmine
- In the present: Jasmine clings to her Birkin bag while on a double date with her sister.
- In the present: Jasmine puts on her glamorous facade while on a date.
- In the present: Wearing her Chanel jacket, Jasmine has resorted to alcohol to deal with her new lifestyle.
- During a flashback: Before her husband's arrest, they lived a glamorous life in New York City and the Hamptons.
- During a flashback: Wearing a gorgeous Carolina Herrera dress and a blinding diamond ring was a normal evening.
- In the present: Jasmine holds her Birkin bag outside of her sister's home in San Francisco.
- During a flashback: Flashy parties were the norm.
Woody Allen has said of his latest leading lady, Cate Blanchett, that "you hire her and get out of the way." Not only did he take this approach for her staggering performance in Blue Jasmine, but also, apparently for her character's wardrobe!
Blanchett told Vogue UK that her character Jasmine's wardrobe was left up to her and the costume designer Suzy Benzinger, because Allen has "no interest or understanding" in his character's appearance. This may come as a shock if you recall the iconic style many of his leading ladies have had -- including Diane Keaton's androgynous look in Annie Hall. She said Allen doesn't quite get why someone would change their clothing based upon a mood, but as becomes evident in Blue Jasmine, a person's aesthetic can be instrumental in delivering a riveting performance. According to Benzinger, the only thing the director really hoped for was a Chanel jacket for Blanchett's character. And despite the small budget, Karl Lagerfeld sent two, with a note saying "for Cate, I'd do anything."
Blanchett's sheer brilliance is clear not only in how she portrays Jasmine, but in her understanding of the importance of Jasmine's material things. As someone who goes from a New York princess with a rich financier husband (Alec Baldwin) to losing everything when he's arrested for tax evasion and fraud, she clings to what she knows: a few designer items. Her Louis Vuitton luggage, white Chanel jacket, Birkin bag and Marc Jacobs coat are a few of the only items she has left from her old life, and she puts them on to feel like her old self. She clings to them in an intense denial of her new situation, and these expensive, fancy clothes go on to represent her powerlessness without they money she'd become so accustomed to.
It's an intriguing look at the power of clothes: of designer labels on how we feel about ourselves. Click through the gallery above to see some photos from the film -- snapshots of Jasmine's wardrobe.