Designing costumes for film is all about developing the character through use of visual imagery.
Choosing the right look is not just about the clothes they wear but also the accessories, the shoes, the hair and makeup too. It’s the details that are important. Have you ever seen an actress carrying an empty handbag? I have seen lots and it always makes me laugh.
Bringing out the characters’ qualities through costume is an art form, whether its historical costume with a contemporary twist or modern day fashions. The main idea is to create a ‘stage presence’ using costume to make a statement. This also needs some understanding about camera angles, and the technology of the filming and editing process.
It is the role of the wardrobe designer to source all the costumes within budget constraints, which is inevitably a mixture of commissioned pieces, adapting bought and vintage clothes, and searching through commercial archives. Assembling the final look and feel is a collaborative process with the filmmaker and the wardrobe team.
In one of my recent projects Bonfire Hearts the main problem was the heroine, Tessa Patterson, who fell in the pool three times. Trying to find three identical dresses was a challenge.
Of course the other challenge is always continuity and we have all seen films with actors wearing different clothes in the same scene – jacket on – jacket off. That’s why the styling of clothes for each scene is religiously recorded.
Making sure that all the actors’ clothes, accessories, hairpieces etc are all labelled and together for ease of use is also part of the wardrobe’s job. All in a days work!
Laura is a stylist and owns Wolf and Gypsy vintage store in Brighton. Laura sources vintage clothes, accessories and jewellery from all over the world. She has been a member of the wardrobe team on the Bonfire Hearts film and The Beautiful Game.
Elif is a fashion designer and maker and has her own studio in Rottingdean where she makes wedding dresses, bespoke garments and also sells ready-to-wear fashions. Elif co-designed some of the costumes for The Beautiful Game.
Alex is a stylist and has her own agency Woven that represents a range of fashion and accessory brands in the UK and overseas. She has secured sponsorship from Nygårdsanna whose Spring collection was inspired by Edwardian fashions.
Alex loves beautiful things and her creative consultancy is multidisciplinary. Her partnership at IGIGI General Store has involved her in all sorts of projects including creating beautiful spaces, as well as sourcing object d’art, jewellery, ceramics, lighting, antique furniture and clothing.
Alex is a fast thinker and always has a creative vision for whatever project you present to her.