Costume design is as crucial to the creation of a film as direction, acting, art design, and cinematography. The audience, if it notes costume design at all, sees "fashion" or "period" dress, not realizing that a costume is never "fashion," "period" or even "clothes" and that the designer must achieve these categories without revealing any tricks. The costume itself is a trick, crafted for a single film moment, and despite its brief appearance, can have taken twenty people two weeks to prepare. It may be built for a special purpose: to bring light to the actor's face, show color, act as a symbol, or hide a body flaw. It may have to conform to a novel or an era, suit an auteur's mise-en-scène , endure strenuous stunts, function in extreme weather, or appear worn out or pristine. Equally, the clothes must satisfy the public's lust for hyperrealism and glamour, something Cecil B. DeMille recognized when he said that a film's success was made from "sex, sets and costume."

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