BAFTA EE Presents The Costume Series in partnership with Swarovski

 

Each year, the BAFTA Awards showcase an incredible array of talent in the most poignant cinematic categories.

 

This weekend, The Sessions held at BAFTA HQ shone a light on the makers of the most incredible films to grace the screen in 2017. From Production Design to Hair and Makeup, along with talks from this year’s EE Rising Star Nominees, the panels offered an exclusive in-depth look at the work and passion that is put behind each film and each talent nominated for this year’s awards.

 

As part of the Costume Sessions, we had an exclusive opportunity to see what actually went into the makings of the incredible dressings from BAFTA Nominated films The Shape of Water and I, Tonya.

 

The process that goes into the making of a costume is intrinsically fascinating and complex. Speaking to the crowd, Jennifer Johnson, the costume designer behind I, Tonya’s iconic looks has delved in depth into what actually goes into the garment-making of an iconic biographical film.

Photo: Neon

`’It’s a magical time when an actor feels incredibly wholesome with the costume” she says while reflecting on working with Margot Robbie. Robbie’s costumes were made from scratch – there was no particular insight into Tonya’s actual outfits that she wore during the Olympics. By studying significant amounts of documentary series on Tonya’s performances along with VHS footage and very old poor quality photographs, Johnson only had 5 weeks of pre-production time to be able to put together all of Robbie’s outfits. Challenging yet rewarding at the same time, the team behind I, Tonya acted as a very nurturing environment for Johnson to work in. Margot Robbie acted as a title character as well as a producer alongside her husband who was a screenwriter. We’d call it a family affair. It was very important for Johnson to get a good grasp of Margot’s character at first. Speaking to FAULT of her experience, she recalls that the moment Robbie became one with the costume was a wholesome process. “The body warms up, they accept the costume and they become one with it. If the actor doesn’t accept the costume in their sphere and their comfort, then that’s when difficulties occur.”

 

The second panelist of the evening was Luis Sequeira, the designer behind the iconic period looks of The Shape of Water who is currently being nominated in 13 different categories.

Octavia Spencer and Sally Hawkins in the film THE SHAPE OF WATER. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

When working with Guillermo Del Toro, Luis explains that it’s a very particular and intense experience. On a production of the scale of The Shape of Water, it was very important to keep all the details in check from start to finish. A fabric that looks a certain way in the palm of your hards takes entirely different dimensions when put in front of a camera. The second part of the film was shot entirely underwater, which added an extra element of difficulty when addressing the costumes. For the final scene, Sequiera explains that he chose to use a different type of fabric that would accurately reflect the movements of Sally. When speaking of his experience of working alongside her, he explains that there’s “always a magical melding of actually creating characters with Sally and that forms a healthy balance.” In perspective, the cast is at their most vulnerable with the costume designers and they believe in that a strong blend of trust and friendship needs to exist. Although Sequeira insists that a boundary still needs to exist. Even though he’s close to Sally, he explains that ‘close friends don’t tie her shoelaces’ – which inevitably creates a division in between a working relationship and an actual friendship. Not to say that one can’t be formed, but what’s most important on a film set is a level of professional trust in between designers and cast members.

 

The question on everyone’s lips is ‘Who’s going to win Best Picture at the awards this weekend?’ Reluctant to answer, Sequeira believes it’s quite likely ‘Guillerom del Torro’s turn this year’. We tend to agree, yet the answer to the question shall be revealed this evening.

 

The EE British Academy Film Awards is broadcast on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 18th February. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds working in film, games and television, visit:www.bafta.org/guru

 

 

 

 

 

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