Monday, August 4, 2014

Cote d'Azur Style

A pair of unlikely star-crossed lovers (in the form of a psychic medium and world renowned illusionist) cross paths in the picturesque backdrop of the French Riviera in the 1920s in Woody Allen's latest film Magic in the Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics). Actors Colin Firth and Emma Stone headline the iconic director's latest romantic comedy where exotic locales, period-perfect interiors and costumes always play a starring role.

Travel savvy viewers might recognize Cap d'Antibes' Villa Eilenroc and Villa Renardière where many of the scenes take place. Production designer Anne Seibel (who teamed with Allen on Midnight in Paris and To Rome with Love) and set decorator Jille Azis created the Art Deco inspired world of magic and romance that also included a Berlin theater and cabaret, jazz set and the occasional family estate by the sea.

Allen looked to his longtime collaborator Sonia Grande (Midnight in Paris and Vicky Cristina Barcelona) for the film's costume designs. The designer conducted an exhaustive research for original frocks from the period that spanned "collectors, auctioneers, fairs, markets and vintage shops in the U.S., Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Canada and France." Influenced by 20s French photographer Henri Lartigue and Edward Steichen, Grande also viewed documentaries of the rich at play in 1920s French Riviera for inspiration.

For more on the set and costume designs, see my pieces in The Hollywood Reporter and Architectural Digest.

Photo Credits: Anne Seibel and Sonia Grande (sketches), Jack English@2014 Gravier Productions, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.