Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, stuns from beginning to end with its imaginative authenticity that brings to life a fictionalized time and place. Enrapturing the audience in a world that both never was and yet rings authentic in its portrayal of some 1960s, and primarily 1930s nostalgia. The filmmaker constantly toes the line of pure imagination with universally recognized aesthetics that are unmistakably filled with understatedly glamorous vintage fashion, and European decadence. Aesthetically, Anderson tackles some of the classiest and most sophisticated characters with some of the most low down and humanizing undertakings. The result is enrapturing and in large part, this can be attributed to the visual wonder that exists in every single one of Anderson’s films.
The filmmaker’s unmistakable style is what gives his films life. As Anderson has said “People used to go to places like this hotel and spend six weeks, but it doesn’t really exist anymore, anywhere.” He also said the film was meant to capture the last lingering feel of old aristocratic Europe within the culture of the grand hotels. The original Waldorf Astoria in New York was reportedly an inspiration. (it was located on Fifth Avenue and is now the grounds the Empire State building). The Midland Grand hotel in London, England, which originally opened in 1873 -1935 and then reopened in 2011, was also a source of inspiration. To depict this same feel, Anderson and his team sought out empty old hotels in Eastern Europe in which they could shoot. After sourcing sights and scenes all over Eastern Europe, the team found an abandoned department store to dress and shoot as the Grand Budapest Hotel.
(L) Waldorf Astoria, 1900s. (R) Midland Grand Hotel.
The Grand Budapest Hotel.
While the stunning costumes of the film were vintage inspired, they were all made by costume designer Milena Canonero, who is known for her work in films like Clockwork Orange (1971), and Marie Antoinette (2006).
Grand Budapest Hotel costume sketches by Milena Canonero.
In his 2008 film, Darjeeling Limited, Anderson commissioned Marc Jacobs who was at the helm of Louis Vuitton at the time, to design luggage inspired by the legendary fashion house’s archives. For The Grand Budapest Hotel, Miuccia Prada was tapped to create a 21-piece luggage set, inspired by the 1920s and 1930s.
(L) Custom made Marc Jacobs x Louis Vuitton Luggage designed for Wes Anderson's Darjeeling Limited, 2008. (R) Darjeeling Limited Movie Still.
(L) The Grand Budapest Hotel Still. (R) Prada for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Tilda Swinton dazzles in vintage Swarovski jewelry from the Austrian company’s archives. The 1930s style coat Mrs D. (Swinton), dons in the film was reportedly inspired by Gustav Klimt. Fendi contributed mink embellishments to the lavish overpiece. Willem Dafoe’s cartoon-like villain, Jopling, sports a fabulously evil black trench, which was also made for the film by Prada.
Jewelery from Swarovski Archives, Worn by Tilda Swinton.
(L) Catherine Pastrie in evening coat by Dior, in front of “Jurisprudence” by Gustav Klimt, Photo by Norman Parkinson Vogue 1965. (R) Gustav Klimt's, 'The Kiss'.
(L) Tilda Swinton in 1930's Klimt Inspired Coat. (R) Willem Dafoe in The Grand Budapest Hotel wearing a custom Prada coat.
Outside of the stunning sets, costumes and old-world feel, inanimate objects in this film become their own characters, inspire emotions and convey tone. From the delightfully delicious looking pastel coloured Mendl’s desserts (there are recipes to recreated these lavish pastries floating around online,) to Mr. Gustave’s (Ralph Fiennes) signature scent, L’Air de Panache. The crew even set out to bring this scent to life, and commissioned Paris-based perfumery, Nose to create the scent which contains notes of bergamot, mandarin, amber and green apple.
(L) Mr. Gustave’s (Ralph Fiennes) signature scent, L’Air de Panache. (R) Mendls desserts from The Grand Budapest Hotel were created by local artists and bakers.
Saoirse Ronan as Agatha making Mendls pastries in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Anderson has not only succeeded in bringing his imagined world into fruition through film, but also has brought it into our physical world through this masterfully detailed and spectacular endeavor that is arguably the most stylistically strong of his films to date.
(L) Tilda Swinton, Tony Revolori and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel. (R) Tony Revolori and Saiorse Ronan in The Grand Budapest Hotel.