Kelsey Glein
Jan 30, 2015 @ 10:24 am

There's something beautifully captivating about the fashion in A Most Violent Year, which takes us on a sartorial trip back to 1981 New York City—one of the most dangerous and crime-filled years in the Big Apple's history. The film tells the thrilling story of Abel Morales (played by Oscar Isaac) and his wife Anna (portrayed by Jessica Chastain), an immigrant family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption that they live in drag them down and threaten to destroy all they have built.

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Intrigued? We're taking you behind the scenes for a look at just how the film's costumes (a major '80s fashion fix) came together in a featurette that includes interviews with the movie's stars Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, along with director J.C. Chandor, costume designer Kaisha Walicka-Maimone, InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson, Yahoo Style Editor-in-Chief Joe Zee, and InStyle Editor-at-Large Hal Rubenstein.

"With a period film like this it becomes even more important that the movie not just become the hits of the era," Chandor says of the style choices. "You sort of had people culturally leaving the '70s behind. It was a really beautiful kind of transition time for fashion and art and culture and music."

Much of those changes—at least when it came to fashion—were led by Giorgio Armani, who actually dressed Chastain's character for the role. "Mr. Armani was on the cover of Time magazine at that time, he was such a huge designer," Chastain shares in reference to the 1980s. "He invited us to the archives in Milan, and it was an incredible experience to be able to go through and create Anna's wardrobe."

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And, when it came to her character, Chastain knew exactly what her sartorial choices had to embody. "Anna is a woman who is power hungry, and 1981 was a man's world. Her way of gaining power is to present herself as this force to be reckoned with," says Chastain. "We're talking about a moment when a lot of women were entering the workforce," Wilson adds. "They wanted to be taken seriously at their jobs." This type of drive is exactly how the Chandor envisioned Anna, and her costumes in the flick definitely drive the point home: "She's a person who is really striving to be a part of this kind of American dream." Chandor says. "She's recreating what she thinks that sort of success is."

Watch the video above to get all the scoop on the film's costumes, and see A Most Violent Year when it hits theaters today.

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