In Carol, the film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel The Price of Salt, Cate Blanchett plays the titular character, a married woman who falls for a shopgirl named Therese (Rooney Mara). One of the things to look out for in this film—other than the beautiful love story at the forefront—is the costuming. Famed costume designer Sandy Powell, who has previously worked on Cinderella, The Young Victoria, The Aviator, and more, turned her attention to this period drama set in the early 1950s and helped transform Blanchett into one of the most fashion-forward women of the time.
Powell told us it was a challenge and a thrill to work on this film when we caught up with her for a feature in our December issue, now on newsstands and available for digital download. Because back in 1952, at the time this love story is set, there was no fast fashion. Stylish shoppers, like Blanchett's Carol, relied on custom dresses and statement pieces. “Only someone with means could look as elegant as Carol does,” Powell told us. “Carol is timeless, yet ahead of her time.” Powell’s trick to her look: “Keep it simple,” she said. “Don’t try to over do it. The less there is, the easier it is to get it right.”
Powell did a few more things to help send Blanchett so believably back in time. Scroll down to read Powell's seven secrets to mastering the costumes of Carol, in theaters now.