The Orson Fortune. That is a sexy name. It is. You must fancy him a bit. – Greg
In this rare e-interview I spoke to Loulou Bontemps the assistant costume designer / costume supervisor for Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre.
PB: Who tailored the suits for the principal actors or if they were all custom made? In particular Jason Statham, Hugh Grant, Cary Elwes (who had my favourite looks) and Josh Hartnett.
LB: It was a mix of bespoke and some purchased then altered post fitting. I have a team of tailors I work with who are brilliant and have to be fast as there is little turnaround time. The tailors we had in Turkey were incredible. Brands like Brioni provided suits for the film for Hugh Grant and Josh Hartnett. Jason’s suits were all bespoke by Sheikh Ali, fabrics chosen to work best for stunts as well as on camera. And Cary’s wardrobe was a mix of bespoke and purchased.
PB: Are they made in-house or do you out source the tailoring? I’m always interested in whether actors suggest tailors or come up with their own ideas on how their characters should look.
LB: Both, it’s all about timing. If we have time in prep to go bespoke then we do, often we don’t so I’ll have an in house tailor who can alter whatever necessary. All actors care every much about how their character should look, especially if there are stunts involved or if their character goes on a specific journey during the film. Our fittings are an opportunity for them to truly get in to their character; to work out not only what they would wear but how they would wear it. Bearing in mind the creative vision of your director, DOP and production designer.
Gucci or Brioni?
PB: I saw in the credits that Hugh Grant’s suits were made by Brioni, but when I contacted them for some information on the blue tuxedo (featured in the character poster) they said they did the dress shirt for that scene but the dinner jacket was done by another brand.
LB: Yes the velvet tuxedo was Gucci I believe. Hugh pays a huge amount of attention to his costumes. He was the last key character to fit for the yacht party scenes, I insisted on the blue velvet, both Hugh and Guy Ritchie loved it. It’s very ‘Hollywood’ in the sense that it’s his party he can wear what he wants to. The evolution of black tie / tuxedos is quite fascinating. I just worked on The Gentlemen Series for Netflix with Giancarlo Esposito playing a millionaire who throws a lavish party and I dressed him in a db burgundy velvet tux, patent oxfords and trews! It was a wonderful demonstration of how the black tie look has evolved through time and the attitude of the rich and famous.
PB: I personally love the white aran sweater Hugh wears with the blue Ellesse swim shorts. It felt very preppy/Ralph Lauren. Also the oversized blue polo with skirt pockets and white trims. Were all these custom made?
LB: The sweater was Loro Piana, I’m sure we had him in Sergio Tacchini, Brunello Cucinelli, Stephen Webster, Brioni – really some gorgeous brands.
PB:I’ve heard in other interviews that Guy Ritchie has a very keen interest in fabrics and costumes. Did he offer any suggestions to the costume department with regards to looks?
LB: You have to develop trust with Guy Ritchie, then he leaves you to it. He has a bottomless mind of knowledge for all weird and wonderful things. Fabrics, people, history and great attention to detail.
And sans tie?
PB: Was it a conscious choice to not put Jason in a tie with his suits and shirts? I’ve noticed this becoming an increasing trend outside of Bond, John Wick etc not to have principle lead action men wear ties. I’m also seeing that more regularly in real life, perhaps the casualisation of work from home is trickling into films?
LB: Yes absolutely. The tie adds formality to the suit, much like a uniform – and how it’s worn with what specific collar identifies the attitude of the person wearing it. Orson Fortune wears bespoke suits, with bespoke shirts or buttoned up Smedleys (John Smedley) because he has style, taste, cares about his appearance, he’s a tough gentlemen.
It’s similar to the evolution of black tie suits; Armani made the man’s suit casual, a fashion that can be worn day to day whether you’re at work or not. Gabrielle Chanel & Christian Dior broke women out of corsets, Gabrielle wore men’s trousers before trousers were in fashion for women. It shows the assertiveness and confidence of rule breakers amongst the wealthy and powerful, who get bored wearing the same old thing so they change it.
Operation Fortune sequel?
PB: Lastly, I do hope there will be a sequel, even if it’s just a spin off of the bromance between Josh and Hugh’s characters.
LB: They really did have a wonderful bromance those two. I’m not sure about a sequel, it’s always an option I think with Guy Ritchie’s films. The Covenant I think is the only one so far with a definitive end or purpose. He has a pool of ideas that I believe he harvests when he feels is the right time, should that be a sequel or adventure only Guy Ritchie knows.
Thank you so much for your questions! Keep your eyes peeled for The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, it’s the best wardrobe I’ve created with Guy Ritchie and my team to date and a hommage to the hidden hero’s of WW2.
All the best