Costume designer Colleen Atwood created the stunning looks for the all-star cast of the movie musical Nine. Her one-of-a-kind corsets, furs and dresses—made of vintage fabric, lace and beading—ensured that Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Dame Judi Dench and Sophia Loren made the most of their scene-stealing moments. One thing the women all had in common? "They all really liked their 'underwear moments,'" Atwood joked.
Marion Cotillard as Luisa
"It was our third movie together, talking to her about costumes is something I love to do," said Cotillard, who plays Guido's slighted wife Luisa, of working with designer Colleen Atwood. While Cotillard enjoyed the process of helping to create the looks—a mix of vintage and custom pieces—she didn't find it difficult to leave them behind when filming wrapped. "In a way, there's emotion in what a character wears, so it doesn't belong to me," she explained.
Kate Hudson as Stephanie
Hudson's character Stephanie transforms from a chic film critic to a sexy songstress for the number "Cinema Italiano." "For Kate's performance I designed a dress with Swarovski diamond crystals from the 1920s," Atwood said of the dazzling fringed ensemble. How did the actress deal with wearing the 10-pound costume? "It shifted my movement, so I really had to whip it around," Hudson said. "It was like dancing with weights on."
Penelope Cruz as Carla
"I never keep any of my character's costumes, but I had to keep one corset. It was so beautiful," said Cruz, who spends much of the film in handmade corsets made with antique lace. For a scene that called for the Spanish stunner to be fully clothed but no less sensual, Atwood created a fitted suit using vintage fabric and paired it with a custom-made fur by Dennis Basso. "The concept was that Penelope's character would wear something over-the-top and almost embarrassing to meet the man with whom she's supposed to be having a secret affair," the costume designer explained.
Nicole Kidman as Claudia
"It was 4 am and freezing cold when we shot our scenes, but it was pretty glamorous," said Kidman of the silk taffeta dress, Dennis Basso fur and fedora that her character, the muse, wears while serenading the besotted Guido. Though the custom gown shows plenty of movement, designer Atwood said the look was all about accentuating Kidman's silhouette—the actress's waist was cinched in to 21 inches. And Kidman claimed the dress didn't wind up in her closet. "I didn't take it," she said. "Just as my character does in the film, I took off my hairpiece, pulled off my earrings and said, 'This isn't me.'"
Fergie as Saraghina
"Saraghina wasn't really the fashion icon of the film," joked Fergie, who gained more than 15 pounds to play a prostitute who gives leading man Guido (played by Daniel Day Lewis) his first taste of sex. "I did keep a pair of the dance shoes. This guy measured every inch of my butt and made boots specifically for me to dance in. It actually made me rethink the shoes I wear when I'm on tour [with the Black Eyed Peas]!"
Judi Dench as Lilli
"I wanted her to be classic, for her clothes to fit her properly, to define a simplicity that was almost like a uniform look," said Atwood of her designs for Dench, who plays Guido's costume designer and confidant. Still, the actress got to have a little fun with her look during her performance of "Folies Bergere." "The execution of the costumes was simply wonderful," raved Dench, who was backed by a bevy of showgirls for her big number. "You wear a corset and perform in a nightclub. What could be bad about that?"
Sophia Loren as Mamma
"Sophia is supposed to play a housewife, but this is hardly a house dress," said Atwood of the costume worn by Sophia Loren. "Her shape is still amazing!" The actress even offered specific ideas about character's style. "I kind of held my breath at first," Atwood said of working with the screen icon. "But she was a joy to work with."