Earlier this fall, Alfonso Cuaron’s space epic Gravity landed on movie screens worldwide, propelling the audience into the final frontier with one of the most renowned cinematic experiences of the past decade. While Gravity, in my opinion, lives up to the hype and then some, it is impossible to watch any sort of intergalactic movie and not think of Stanley Kubrick’s 1967 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. While Gravity from frame one is about the unending solitude of space, 2001 is more concerned with the complexities of space exploration, making it as visually stunning as Gravity, but for different reasons. Gravity’s strength lies in its 3-D shots and extended sequences capturing the incomparable vastness of outer space, while 2001 presents space as more of a futuristic playground, complete with these immense colorful sets and modernist costumes designed by none other than Hardy Amies.
In the late sixties Amies was at the top of his game, guiding his unique eponymous label to become both a traditional Savile Row powerhouse, and a forward thinking fashion brand. It was these two minds that made Amies perfect for the role of costume designer on Kubrick’s film, as 2001 presented both the refined corporate side of space exploration, as well as the more visionary angle of astronauts floating in unchartered territory. Amies essentially developed two separate collections for this film – one of Anglo-fied office ready outfits, and one of avant-garde cosmic costumes.