Oscar Costume Design Nominees 2024: Napoleon

Oscar Costume Design Nominees 2024: Napoleon

Janty Yates and David Crossman were the joint costume designers of Ridley Scott’s epic historical retelling ‘Napoleon’ (2023) about the personal and military life of the French general. They have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume design at this years ceremony for their work on the film. They were also nominated for BAFTA, Critics Choice and other awards. 

 Janty Yates

Janty Yates is a British costume designer. She has worked with Ridley Scott over a dozen times and won the Academy Award in costume design for her work on Gladiator in 2001. Prior to entering the world of film and television in the 90s, she had worked in the fashion industry. 

David Crossman and Janty Yates 

David Crossman is a British costume designer who specializes in military costumes. His previous film design credits include Rogue One (2016), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), 1917 (2019) and The Batman (2022), working in conjunction with the film’s overall costume designer to create specific costumes including Robert Pattinson’s batsuit. He has been working in costume for film since the 90s, with his first military film being Saving Private Ryan (1998). 


For Napoleon, the duo had the mammoth task of creating thousands of uniforms, civilian outfits and royal ensembles. Crossman told the LA Times that “You want it to look something like those paintings, because all of the paintings of the period are beautiful. You want it to look like that and not a terrible costume movie.” 

Musee de L’Emperi napoleon uniform

They conducted huge amounts of historical research, visiting museums and archives in France and England as well as studying the actual clothing of Napoleon and his wife Josephine. Because they needed such a large quantity of uniforms for battle scenes, no costume house was able to provide the amount required. They ended up taking patterns from existing French Revolution coats and breeches to mass reproduce. They costumed up to 900 background actors daily for large scenes. The London costume house Cosprop made many costumes. Pompeii Shoes in Rome made all of the footwear and a milliner in Rome also worked on all of the hats. Janty had about 28 elaborate gowns made for Josephine. 

 Vanessa Kirby Napoleon costume

Vanessa Kirby Napoleon costume

Vanessa Kirby Napoleon costume

Because Jaoquin Phoenix has been an animal rights advocate and vegan his whole life, the team had to avoid wool and leather in his costumes which provided a particular challenge for his famous bicorn hat. They ended up using a tree bark fabric to create it. Cotton moleskin was used for his coats and synthetic leather for his boots. 

 Joaquin Phoenix Napoleon costume

The costume department was made up of about 80 people with additional artisans working on custom fabric, embroidery and jewellery around the world. Many of the military and coronation costumes were so elaborately embroidered that they required months of work and had to be in production before casting had even happened. 

Napoleon costume 

One of the most daunting scenes was the massive coronation, which took place at Notre Dame in 1804 and is depicted in “The Coronation of Napoleon,” the 1807 painting by Jacques-Louis David. “He sums up the whole Napoleonic Empire in his art,” Yates said.

“The scene was quite huge because we completely copied, literally dress by dress, the David painting,” she said.

 The Coronation of Napoleon

The costuming of this film brought a great deal of authenticity to the experience which many viewers felt was lacking in certain aspects of the story. Extremely impressive work from all involved in the costume department. 

Napoleon costumes

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