Androids Dream Of Unicorns, Not Electric Sheep by Gio Dionisio
pelikula:Blade Runner (1982)
D: Ridley Scott
S: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson
If we were to believe the first few frames of this movie, we have some major changes and new infrastructures to put up. Not to mention a couple new technologies to invent and some fauna to run extinct in the span of a decade.
Blade Runner continues to be one of the most influential films of the century, and much of the acclaim stems not just from the existential, philosophical, and badass plot, but from its cutting-edge visuals and artistic direction.
The movie begins with a view of future Los Angeles; lightning bolts, skyscrapers spewing pillars of fire, one or two floating cars that cross the screen, no stars, but a million tiny little dots of light littering the cityscape. We then see the same image reflected in someone’s eye before panning over a pyramid-like fortress of iron and lit windows where the first murder occurs. Motifs like these appear throughout the film: harsh scenery, an unforgiving ambiance, cold noir detachment, and eyes.
The menacing sets are constructed smartly, fusing post-digital advanced technology with ramshackle steel scaffolding, wall carvings that resemble Incan hieroglyphs, mood-setting billows of smoke everywhere, various levels of precipitation, and roving searchlights to induce paranoia. Typical for the cyber steampunk genre.
In what Ridley Scott himself considers one of his most precious projects, Rick Deckard (Harrision Ford) is a police operative, part of the so-called Blade Runner unit, a division specializing in the identification and extermination of Replicants, human clones with extraordinary physical abilities who, years before, were banned from earth for inciting a violent Off-World mutiny. The movie’s introductory text would like to point out that this act of exterminating Replicants is not called execution, but “retirement.”
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with the fashion! The beauty of Blade Runner’s costume design is in its oxymoronic concept: advanced modernism juxtaposed with Oriental smut, formalist sportswear, and crack den ruggedness.
This film radically pushed fashion towards what it is today, and continues to influence design aesthetic and construction. In fact, I think it’s only now that we’re finally catching up to the styles the movie blatantly shoved in our faces 20 years earlier. And you thought it was just another geeky sci-fi flick.
Helmed by Charles Knode (Braveheart) and Michael Kaplan (Flashdance, Fight Club, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and, more recently, Star Trek), the costume design’s strength was in its individuality. Each character stood out in their own way. A quick glance at any of the latest runways will prove just how impactful Ridley Scott’s masterpiece is. Let me illustrate.
Deckard is a hunkier, gruffer Christopher Bailey, what with his Burberry trenches, ribbed lapels, corduroys, and love of brown leather. His wardrobe was actually executed by now defunct TrenchCo in that very rustic British “I’m a cop, sod off!” appeal, only Harrison Ford is American.
Rachael in her Fall 2010 Chanel furs, brocade coats, and Pugh-lenciaga (That’s Gareth Pugh + Balenciaga) structures. It was all about the power collar and the 80s elbow pad silhouette taken to the 21st century extreme. She epitomized retrobotic, remaining HBIC while doing so.
Roy Batty is more the brooding Rick Owens kind of man. Aggresive, but composed; his thinning bleach blond hair covering up for his inner finger-breaking, dead-girlfriend-smooching personality.
Pris originated the streak of color over the eyes look, although she used spray paint instead of shadow. Her character’s ensembles were made up of skin-tight stirrups, leotards, fishnets, leggings, lingerie, eaten-up fabrics, frayed hems, and basically I’m just describing a Rodarte show. She mixed it up with slouchy boots and poofy parkas, but please don’t call it “grunge.”
Gaff is dandyism straight out of Dries Van Noten’s atelier. Or maybe Cavalli, but less colorful. Bottega Veneta, but with more spunk. Thom Browne, but not as drastic.
The extras, too, had their share of outstanding outfits. Recall the posh bar scene with everyone in dainty hats and lace veils, puffing on their long-stemmed pipes. The apathetic street crowds represent the goths, monks, bikers, and even the hipsters of today with their fluorescent light neon umbrellas and eclectic get-ups, awash in baggy cargos, flannel shirts, draped robes, and kimono crops.
Tyrell’s scene had him in a luxe white Gucciesque quilted robe, while exotic dancer-slash-Replicant Zhora’s death happened with her in a transparent rain coat and iron welded undies. J.F. Sebastian’s first appearance has him looking quirky in his newsboy cap and piped jacket, and forgettable Leon is just Batty’s less dapper version in a possibly knock-off Lanvin.
While the story, based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, delves into ideas of genetics, robotics, and the (in)human condition, its eye-catching execution remains the real star. Blade Runner slices through the trite of the genre to bring us a sci-fi gem at its purest and rarest; it’s almost frightening to think about how this classic has prophetically dictated lifestyles and trends, fash-wise, cinema-wise, and in-general-wise. The question of whether protagonist Rick Deckard is a Replicant or not, what that would signify, or if it even signifies anything at all, still eats away at my core… but thank goodness this is a Style special because that argument is best saved for a nerdier week.