You have to believe in happy endings, and not just in Disney films: this is the experience of German Bina Digler, who was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Fashion Design. And this is of all things a movie that did not have a happy ending for so long: Disney’s $ 200 million realistic version of “Mulan” made headlines even before it was launched. There were statements critical of Hong Kong by lead actress Liu Yifei, and even calls for a boycott over filming in Xinjiang, western China. The theatrical release was also unlucky; A fairy tale about a Chinese warrior originally was supposed to be released in theaters in March 2020.
A few weeks ago, you could have met Bina Daigeler in Berlin. Then she talks about her upcoming “Mulan” press tour, which is supposed to take her halfway around the world. But then came the closure of Corona, the release of the film was canceled and the cinemas closed. The German woman returned home and locked herself up at first. For Bina Daigler, home means Madrid, and she has lived in the Spanish capital for thirty years. She’s been doing her job as long as “Mulan” is her biggest and most complicated project to date. Even before that, she’s been an internationally sought-after fashion designer, flipping art films and blockbuster productions, crafting outfits for world stars such as Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Aniston, Bruce Willis, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz.
She was born in Munich in 1965 and spent her childhood in Ottobrunn. First meeting: In 2019 near Gärtnerplatz at Café Bellevue de Monaco https://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/ “Nice view, looks good,” said the mid-50s woman with long brown hair. Then they told the story of their prospects. She learned her profession from scratch, trained as a sewing and worked in TV productions as “Anna” and “Carmen on Ice” in the 1980s. At the same time that she lived regularly in Lanzarote, her family had a vacation home on the Canary Island. There she met people from the Spanish film industry: “It was the Mofeda era, so I wanted to be a part of it.” The secret star of Mofeda, the Spanish youth and cultural movement of the 1980s, which flourished greatly after the end of the Franco era, was the filmmaker who quickly became a world star: Pedro Almodóvar.
Bena Deigler was known for its “All About My Mother” fashion.
It took some time before they met, at first Digler worked as a costume assistant for German series (“Der Schattenmann”) or international films (“Das Geisterhaus”). Then she realized her first private ventures as a fashion designer, in 1999 the demand for “Everything About My Mother” came to Almodovar. The film was a worldwide success and won every conceivable award (Oscar, Joya, Golden Globe, Director’s Award in Cannes). He also styled the costumes for his hit song “Volver” in 2006. Inquiries followed from America, from prominent directors such as Steven Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch or Oliver Stone. Although Daigler works all over the world, has been married to a Spaniard for many years and has two children, her Spanish colleagues still call her “La Germana”. So German, that’s because of its accent.
The second meeting in February 2020, at a café in Berlin-Schöneberg. Then she talked about filming her biggest project. “I was in New Zealand for most of 2018,” she said. Before that, she traveled across China for several weeks, studying historical models in museums and archives. Film costumes should be both historical and modern, made of natural materials such as silk, linen, or cotton, and should be suitable for work. She made all the clothes, hats, shoes, and accessories herself, and the hats alone made 1,350 examples of hats. There was her own fashion workshop in Auckland, where she was located when the German Film Awards were presented in Berlin in April 2018. She won in the “Best Costume Design” category, but was unable to collect the award for her work on the installation of Julian Roosevelt’s film “Manifesto”.
That fate could be repeated now at the Oscars: Bena Deigler is currently in Berlin preparing for a new Netflix series by “Dark” makers Baran Bo Odar and Jantje Friese. Filming for “1899” begins in May. She does not know if she can travel to Los Angeles quickly in advance, it also depends on the development of the epidemic and the quarantine regulations. “I actually spoke to Steven Soderberg, who is producing the show this year,” she says over the phone, “They are planning a face-to-face event.” But she is sure that everything will be fine in the end, regardless of whether or not she is there. She has rated her chances in the Oscars as rather slim, and the competition in her class is way too great for that. “I am still very happy,” she says. “The nomination is a huge recognition of my years of work.” And there was also a happy ending to “Mulan”: the movie found its audience in the meantime, hitting straight on the Disney + streaming site in the fall after several delays.
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