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Christian Bale V/S Matt Damon: Ford V/S Ferrari - Designing The World

From the boardroom to the racetracks, Orlandi had his work cut out for him. “We had all these different worlds that contrast – a showman Texan with his band of misfits.

2019-11-15T16:35:00Z

Courtesy : Mental Floss

The mega film that unites two of the biggest stars on the planet - Christian Bale and Matt Damon called Ford v/s Ferrari git the theatres today and the critics have already been raving about how fantastic the film actually is. Nevertheless, apart from everything else in the film being great, one of the challenges for the designers would indeed have been designing the contrasting worlds.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, for costume designer Daniel Orlandi, dressing the film Ford v. Ferrari proved to be a study in contrasts. 

From the boardroom to the racetracks, Orlandi had his work cut out for him. “We had all these different worlds that contrast – a showman Texan with his band of misfits, Ford executives in the '60s, and old-world Italian with Ferrari, plus three different races – Willow Springs, Daytona and Le Mans. I really didn’t know this world. And when they first sent me the script, I thought, 'I really don’t want to do this,'” the Emmy-award winning designer notes, “It’s really more than just car racing, it’s about friendship, loyalty and the love of the game.”

Orlandi first looked to the period-appropriate and classic racing films of his youth – James Garner’s Grand Prix (1966) and Steve McQueen’s Le Mans (1970) as well as footage about the historic Le Mans race and books on Carroll Shelby, a “larger than life Texan” car designer and race car driver played by Damon. 

Careful not to over-exaggerate his Texan persona, Orlandi noted that Carroll had two sides to him – “hanging out with the guys and dealing with executives in the Ford boardroom.” This translated into his signature striped bib overalls paired with a Stetson hat, crocodile cowboy boots, and suits suitable to the period. The designer, whose father worked for Chrysler, explains, “Shelby was California cool with a Texan look – light chino pants and Ban Lon polo shirts; my dad would say he was a sharp dressed guy.”

To complete the transformation as the curly-haired racer-turned-designer, Damon received his first hair perm -- noticeably peeping out under his custom-made Stetson. His counterpart, British race car driver Ken Miles (Bale), spends the majority of his screen time in a racing suit and overalls. As the designer says, “He is a Brit working here and much more of a mechanic and a family man; although one of the Ford execs called him a hippie. We made all of his workwear, which needed to be aged, and I needed to make everything feel worn and vintage.” As the wife of a mechanic, Miles’ wife is similarly dressed down and clothed in old Wrangler jeans from the '60s with cotton sweaters.

The racing uniforms for the drivers and crew differed from each race, as well, with white for Le Mans and a dull blue for Daytona. As luck would have it, the designer found an original crew member living in Los Angeles who gave him a shirt to copy for Shelby’s Daytona race. For the pit crew and racers, Orlandi says, “We needed authentic clothes and had to make them fireproof – back then they were fire-resistant. The quote at the time was race car drivers didn’t live long!”

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