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Laura Blum

Laura is a festival correspondent covering films and the festival circuit for She also publishes on Thalo



Costume Designer Gitti Fuchs Outfits “Toni Erdmann”


More than most films, the costumes in Toni Erdmann tell the story. Director Maren Ade’s new tragicomedy of manners makes its points as much through what its characters are and aren’t wearing as through anything they say. Set largely in Bucharest, it follows buttoned-up corporate consultant Ines Conradi (Sandra Hüller) and her prankish father Winfried (Peter Simonischek) as they struggle to reconnect as adults.

The 65-year-old widower makes an impromptu visit to the Romanian capital following the death of his dog and the winding down of his music work back in Germany. Loneliness is what propels him into his daughter’s orbit, but once there he finds a more disturbing kind of separation: the defenses Ines has constructed around her soul in support of her cut-throat, workaholic life.

Between Winfried’s humanistic, “green” values and Ines’s ambitions of modernized efficiency, there’s no bridging the psychic gap that increasingly separates them. Only in the guise of a stranger can the Boomer dad hope to get close. You could almost turn off the sound and still get the narrative, just going by the Nutty Professor dentures, shaggy wig and tacky jacket Winfried sports as life coach alter-ego “Toni Erdmann,” and going by the reticence these touch off in power-suit-armored Ines.

The telling looks were crafted by costume designer Gitti Fuchs, whose insights into the politics of clothing yielded up wearable totems that speak volumes about the emotions and hierarchies at play. Catch our conversation here: