I consumed "Julie and Julia" like a small box of Teuscher truffles– greedily, quickly. But the costumes stayed with me. Not Amy Adams' generic young-professional attire, but Streep's '40s and '50s WASP wear.
For I am a Julia, tall, big-boned, enthusiastically cusineacious. How did the filmmakers present the average-height (5'6") Streep as Child, a towering 6'2"?
The sets were slightly shrunken, benches and counters altered to make her loom. She wore heels the real Julia would have avoided like curdled cream.
Camera angles did their magic, but the costume designers, led by the incomparable Ann Roth, have earned a Costumer Designers Guild nomination for best period costumes (deservedly shared with Catherine Leterrier for "Coco Before Chanel"). A lot of shots cut off Streep's feet so you couldn't see the boosters, or hid them behind props.
Streep wore hidden platforms in her shoes to help her loom above Stanley Tucci. But even more than this stagecraft, I reveled in the formality-within-ease of her clothes. Not one interlock gave its life for Julia's wardrobe.
We were back in the world of woven-fabric blouses, frosted with fine lace. Pants were wool; sweaters, cashmere, pearls permanently in place.
Julia's clothes fit her, despite a large frame. At one point she mentions that she can't shop for dresses with the other expat wives in Paris, because nothing is made in her size. I thought, it's no different today. Her sister must have sent boxes from Peck & Peck.
Not everything evoked a wave of longing. Stiff hats nestled into little pincurled coifs, like those worn by Linda Emond playing haute-bourgeoise Simca Beck, did not call to me.
There is not a false note in the costumes. The Americans in Paris look different that the Parisiens. Streep as Julia evokes my friends and family's attire in the late '50s to mid-'60s, before psychedelic prints and bellbottoms.
I was also captivated by the costuming of Stanley Tucci as Paul Child, especially his bold turquoise ring. Not many straight men would dare this. But Child, a character in his own right, had served in China with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Maybe the ring was a souvenir of that posting.
At any rate, it served as symbol of his suave unconventionality and self-possession. I hope Tucci kept it.