Daniel Day-Lewis bids adieu in his last film, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread

Daniel Day-Lewis bids adieu in his last film, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread


Text: Esther Soh

Image: United International Pictures,
Getty Images

Here’s Daniel Day-Lewis at his exquisitely tailored farewell in Phantom Thread, a classic Mid-century love story between a master creator and his muse

It's been over a decade since actor Daniel Day-Lewis and filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson first collaborated in There Will Be Blood (2007), where the three-time Oscar winner played a pioneering oil prospector out to exploit the industry in its entirety with his imperialist dream. This time, Phantom Thread is a tumultuous and elegant gothic romance that is unlike anything in the filmmaker's wildly eclectic canon. It's a fitting finale for his career — the 61-year-old recently accounced his retirement on W magazine.

daniel day lewis phantom thread

Having built his career on classic British works like My Beautiful Launderette (1986) and Oscar-winning movie My Left Foot (1989), Day-Lewis was eager to play another Englishman. Set in the glamour of 1950's post-war British capital, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) is at the centre of British fashion — dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Although the town is emerging from a World War II hangover amid rations, rubble and smog, Woodcock's creations have made the timid feel courageous, and the unattractive, beautiful.

Woodcock isn't just a tailor. He has a talent for weaving defiant and lascivious messages into exquisite garments for the toast of London society. In a bid to get into character, Day-Lewis mastered the finer points of dressmaking. He even paid a trip to the Anna Wintour Costume Centre at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where he studied archived dresses by world-class couturiers.

vicky krieps and daniel day-lewis
It wasn't only Day-Lewis who became a devoted student of haute couture. From learning all things Balenciaga and his contemporaries, Dior's revolutionary Mid-century female dressing to Alexander McQueen's artistic temperament, both auteur and actor crafted a story that encompasses complex entanglements, meticulous detail and opulent atmosphere and décor in the world of fabrics.

Take a ride in this unconventional romance, where a dreaded force known as love disrupts Woodcock's meticulously ordered world and craft. Catch the suspenseful game of cat-and-mouse between the artist on a creative journey and the women who keep his world running.

Phantom Thread premieres on 25 January.
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