This is Paco Delgado’s second Oscar nomination, having also been nominated in 2013 for Les Miserables. This time around he’s up for The Danish Girl.
Mr. Delgado is from the Canary Islands and now lives in Madrid. He studied set and costume design but he initially worked mostly on sets, not intending to become a costume designer. However, small playhouses with tight budgets often needed his help and he’d put the costumes together as well. He enjoyed the challenge and people liked his work so he stuck with it.
The Danish Girl tells the true story of Einar/Lili (Eddie Redmayne), who is known as the first transgender woman. The year is 1926 and the place is Copenhagen and Paris. Einar and his wife Gerda were both artists, and so Mr. Delgado started his research by looking at the couple’s work and photographs of the pair. He also studied the popular fashion designers of the era, such as Chanel and Poiret.
Very much aware of the subtleties of costuming a transgender person, Mr. Delgado said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar: Our point of departure was always to think that Lili was trapped in a body that didn’t belong to her. Therefore we had to create almost a prison-like idea, where she was in prison in the masculine body and that’s the reason we created this sort of very restricted [costume] in the beginning of the movie.
Since it was difficult to find actual 1920s clothing that wasn’t too delicate and/or too small for the actors, Mr. Delgado used material from antique dresses and built new ones to fit.
A job well done, I’d say. Good luck to Paco Delgado.
Come back tomorrow for some reading on Jenny Beavan, costume designer for Mad Max: Fury Road.