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OCEANS 12

Outfitting Ocean's Twelve
Costume designer Milena Canonero, a two-time Academy Award winner for her work on Chariots of Fire and Barry Lyndon, joined the Ocean's Twelve production team at the behest of director Steven Soderbergh and producer Jerry Weintraub.

  "I did not costume Ocean's Eleven,” Canonero says, "and when Steven first called me I was nervous about dealing with so many famous actors all at once. Also, I had just finished working on Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic and wasn't sure that I was ready to take on such a huge enterprise as Ocean's Twelve. But Jerry Weintraub is such a force of nature that you cannot say no to him! And the idea of working again for Steven was very exciting. I love working for him.

"The truth is,” the designer admits, "it was fun to have so many different characters to design for. Many people think that you only design and build costumes when it is a period movie. But when I do a ‘modern' movie, I actually do construct some costumes! But of course, I like to mix what I make with clothes selected from various designers which are suitable for the look of the characters. We made most of Catherine Zeta-Jones' wardrobe and several outfits for Elliott Gould, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Vincent Cassel and most of the other characters.” Soderbergh asked Canonero to bring a fresh style to the characters' clothing, rather than simply repeating the sartorial style created by Ocean's Eleven costume designer Jeffrey Kurland. "The characters have more money now, and they have evolved and matured, so Steven wanted to make sure that they didn't look the same as they did three years earlier when we first met them,” explains Canonero, who previously designed the costumes for Soderbergh's films Solaris and Eros. "However, I did have discussions with the cast and some of them have retained certain particulars from the first film.”

  For ringleader Danny Ocean, Canonero maintained his "very minimalist and simple, yet stylish” look. "Danny's wardrobe is monochromatic: blacks, greys, browns and a little beige,” she says. "Rusty is more vain and more into his clothes. I used lots of satins and shiny material to give a shimmer and slickness to his look, just like lightning.”

  Canonero helped Julia Roberts take her character, Tess Ocean, in a new direction. "Julia likes to bring a lot of ideas to her fittings, and she wanted to play Tess a little bit freer in this film and not quite as arch as she had been in the first,” says the designer, who had to go back to the drawing board several weeks into production when Roberts discovered she was pregnant with twins. (In the original shooting script, Tess was five months pregnant, and all of her wardrobe was designed accordingly. When Roberts became pregnant in real life, Soderbergh decided that Tess would not be with child in the film.) 

When it came to designing clothing for Don Cheadle's explosives expert/aspiring musician Basher Tarr, Canonero turned to an old friend in England. "John Pierce is a very good English tailor who makes a lot of clothes for people in the music business. He made a coat for Don of blue printed snakeskin with a matching snakeskin shirt. It's very colorful, but there's a British element to it as well. Don liked the rapport we established between Basher's clothing and his music.”

By far the most flamboyant of the Ocean's gang is financier Reuben Tishkoff, played by Elliott Gould. "In the first story, Reuben was much more tacky, a wheeler-dealer who wore lots of gold chains and mismatched shirts on purpose,” Canonero muses. "Elliott, Steven and I decided that Reuben had always wanted to be an English gentleman, so his clothing reflects that influence. He's still flamboyant, but he's obviously been looking through English fashion magazines from the ‘70s and now enjoys colorful bowties and mismatched shirts, but underneath it all, he

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