What Do Sharon Stone’s ‘Basic Instinct’ Dress and Oppenheimer’s Suit Have in Common?

Credit…Everett Collection
Credit…Everett Collection

Unlike many designers, much of the work of the costume designer Ellen Mirojnick is contemporary. Her filmography is evidence of the impact she has had on the look and feel of some of the most iconic films of the 1980s and ’90s: Paul Verhoeven’s “Basic Instinct”(1992) and “Showgirls”(1995), Adrian Lyne’s “Fatal Attraction”(1987) and “Unfaithful” (2002), and Andrew Davis’s “A Perfect Murder”(1998). These films helped define the distinctly elegant yet dangerous aesthetic of the erotic thrillers that once dominated the box office.

After more than 40 years in the industry, Ms. Mirojnick has received her first Oscar nomination for her austere, sharply tailored looks in “Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster biopic about the physicist who led the effort that produced the first nuclear weapons. While she has decades of expertise creating an eclectic variety of costumes, ranging in mood from the understated to over-the-top, her work does not span the many costume dramas that are typically favored during awards season. Instead, her most recognized characters often feel fashionable in a way that is more modern and real.

In a recent video call, Ms. Mirojnick reflected on eight of her favorite looks from her career.

Credit…Everett Collection

‘Fatal Attraction’ (1987)

“Fatal Attraction” marked the first of many collaborations between Ms. Mirojnick and the actor Michael Douglas. “What was fascinating about that particular moment in time was that Adrian Lyne, Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer were all kind of at the same level,” she recalled. “It was a great way to begin a working relationship, because everybody had equal stakes in front of them.”

The designer and Mr. Douglas originally had differing ideas of how his character should dress. Her interpretation was “much more classic, fashionable and monochromatic,” she said. After rounds of fittings and discussions about “honing his wardrobe to a place that felt very New York and very cool and attractive in a way that was different from how we saw a lawyer in New York in prior films,” she said, “we finally got in a groove that was simpatico, and we were able to create a character that had all of those aspects and felt very real.”

Credit…Everett Collection

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