Posts Tagged ‘costume design’

IMG_20180721_171347There are days when I feel like I can’t come up with a single good idea, but I find ways to get inspired – I have to get past my fear of failure! I go to a costume house and start touching the fabrics, the feathers, the beads. Sometimes, none of it makes any sense to me. TV pace is just so fast, I just keep moving through it and then all of a sudden it’s done, and I say “Wait. We did that?” 

Lou Eyrich – American costume designer in Hollywood. This quote is from a Q&A with The Costume Designer, the official magazine of the Costume Designers Guild, Local 892.

Ms. Eyrich is known for her costumes in television. She’s worked on American Horror Story, Glee, and Asylum.

I admire Eyrich’s ability to keep the creativity going under such time constraints and pressure. What do you do when you need inspiration?

Long walks work for me when I hit a writing block. If I want to start a sewing project, I often begin with fabric. I find a fabric that I like and look for the silhouette that best suits the fabric (and me of course).

For longer term general inspiration – museums, books, old movies, travel!

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debra-photoThe costume designer dresses somebody from the inside out. We care about what kind of underwear they’re wearing. It’s really important when you’re dressing somebody for a film to kind of think about what they’re wearing after they take their shower; what’s the process; what goes on underneath; what makes sense. And it’s a real internal process. The process of fashion is completely external. It’s disposable. It’s changeable. 

Debra McGuire, Hollywood costume designer.

Ms. McGuire is the go-to costume designer for television. Most recently she has designed for Fresh off the Boat, New Girl, and Speechless. From 1994-2004 her main designing gig was Friends.  She has worked on many a film as well. including Knocked Up and Righteous Kill.


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nipar-bonnie-370wNot a believer in idle hands, my grandmother presented me with a small sewing box when I was nine years old. She taught me rudimentary hand stitching, cross-stitch, embroidery, and how to darn holes in socks. Soon, I was making clothing for my dolls out of her old aprons. A year later, she announced we would move on to the sewing machine. I felt a thrill of adventure as she pulled down the hideaway ladder in the upstairs hallway and we climbed to the attic sewing room, complete with a large cutting table, bins of fabric and patterns, and nestled close to a dormer window, an old Singer sewing machine with a knee pedal. This room became my haven growing up. My grandmother was the first person to recognize my passion for clothing and design, and foster my creativity. I will always be grateful to her for teaching me how to sew.

Bonnie Nipar, Hollywood costume designer.

Ms. Nipar shared her story with the recent edition of The Costume Designer (the official magazine of the Costume Designers Guild, Local 892). Her work can be seen on television shows Grace Under Fire, Dharma & Greg, and recently Are You There, Chelsea?


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During Downton, I like to use authentic pieces wherever I can, restoring original garments, or incorporating antique trims into a new bespoke way – as modern equivalents just can’t compete. I have even found myself making sure I use vintage threads and buttons if fabrics are modern, so that the garment is still anchored to the past.

– Anna Mary Scott Robbins, costume designer, Downton Abbey

Laura Carmichael

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, “Downton Abbey.”

I found this quote in the Summer 2015 edition of The Costume Designer, the official magazine of the Costume Designers Guild Local 892.

(Vintage threads? I was told by a seamstress never to use old thread, as it won’t hold up.)

Check back with OverDressed on Wednesday for a fun Q&A with Lynnie Morgan, devoted DA fan who has been inspired by the series to start sporting hats.

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English costume designer Jenny Beavan is nominated for her work in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Ms. Beavan is used to these awards, she been nominated (and winning) since her very first Oscar for A Room With a View in 1987, which she shared with designer John Bright.

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With a degree in set design from Central School of Art and Design in London, Ms. Beavan stumbled into costume design first in theater and later in television. It wasn’t long before she moved on to films, initially with Merchant Ivory productions.

Prolific and in demand for her sense of historical accuracy and detail, Ms. Beavan has designed costumes for The Bostonians (1984), Howard’s End (1992), Sense and Sensibility (1995), Gosford Park (2001), Sherlock Holmes (2009), The King’s Speech (2012) and the list goes on.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a futuristic post nuclear war story set in a desert wasteland. Shot in Namibia in southwest Africa, the challenges for Beavan et al were many including extreme weather and limited local expertise in movie making.

Ms. Beavan says, The only tragic thing for the Namibians was the distressing of costumes: we’d work from brand new army boots, because obviously the stuntmen had to wear something solid on their feet, and then you’d see them grating them and scratching them and burning them, and almost weeping, because to them, it was a brand new pair of boots, and we were just wrecking them.

Congratulations to Jenny Beavan for her Oscar nomination and her recent BAFTA win for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Tune in tomorrow for the next Oscar nominated costume designer profile, Jacqueline West.



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For new garment construction, we pore over 1920s images to come up with a design that makes sense for the character and is also doable in the short amount of time we have. We use vintage beaded dress pieces, trims, and fabric remnants that we try to weave into every piece to give it a more authentic look. Sometimes we design the entire costume around one small vintage element.

Lisa Padovani, Co-Costume Designer for Boardwalk Empire told to The Costume Designer.  (Boardwalk Empire was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes in a Miniseries. The winner this year was Game of Thrones.)

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