It’s been 10 years since the theatrical release of Nine. The splashy movie-musical starred some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sopha Loren, Penélope Cruz, Judie Dench, Kate Hudson, and—wait for it—Fergie! The plot, in case you missed it, followed the famous film director Guido Contini (Day-Lewis) as he struggled to find harmony in his life, balancing a wife, mistress, muse, agent, and mother. Shenanigans ensued; songs were sung. But a decade later, it’s not the plot points that resonate but the film’s fabulous fashion, which feels just as current and enchanting today.
The costume design was the brainchild of the prolific American costume designer Colleen Atwood, who has worked on projects such as Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, Planet of the Apes, and Alice in Wonderland. (She also worked on the upcoming Bombshell film, transforming Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, and Nicole Kidman into Fox News pundits.) Looking back to 2009, Atwood reminisced about her vision for the film’s La Dolce Vita–inspired wardrobe.
“The fashion approach was high-end glamour,” Atwood said of the film’s overall aesthetic. “It was Italy in La Dolce Vita: Beauty, glamour, and temptation all come in to play. I think it is a timeless style, continually circling back through pieces today. I recently bought a Prada dress which was very Nine.” To evoke that Italian bombshell vibe many of the leading ladies embodied, Atwood had many custom pieces made for the film, sprinkling in rented finds from staple costume stores such as Western Costume, Tirelli, Motion Picture Costume, and Palace Costume.
During the making of the film, Atwood worked with all of the film’s stars to find looks that represented their unique characters, adding that they were all “dressed in a way to move the story dramatically forward.” There was the iconic Loren, for instance, who portrayed Day-Lewis’s mother in the film; Atwood created a “classic glamorous housewife” feel for her—starkly different from the outfits worn by Kate Hudson’s outré fashion journalist character, who Atwood envisioned “bringing the ’70s and its flamboyance to the table.” Some of Atwood’s most memorable creations, however, were those made for Kidman, who portrayed an A-list actress in the film with a “quiet goddess” fashion look. In one scene, Kidman lit up the screen wearing a strapless, satiny evening gown with a fitted bodice—a dress worthy of Hollywood royalty.
Other highlights in Nine included an unforgettable scene with Cruz, who plays the “sexy, vulnerable beauty” Carla with ample sex appeal; she rolled around on a stage performing “A Call From The Vatican” in a lacey pink bustier—complete with sheer hosiery and satin heels to match. There’s an equally saucy fashion vibe during Fergie’s number “Be Italian,” where the singer, who portrayed the prostitute Saraghina, wears a black and red corset with mesh tights, flanked by backup dancers in similar lingerie-inspired getups.
However, Atwood’s favorite Nine scene to this day? “I really liked the ‘Cinema Italiano’ number,” she said. One of the closing numbers of the film, it featured Hudson in a sparkling silver minidress that has a major groovy feel to it, with all of the silver accessories to match. “It came together costume-wise in a fun and dramatic way that was both of the period and forever.”