Life on Set
In the design and making process, the costume team needs to consider how many script days the story takes place and the order the scenes will be shot in. Many productions are shot out of order, often due to location and performer availability. Planning is a key activity in the costume department and will involve the costume designer, the department supervisor and the set key. This team will determine if multiples of costumes will be needed to maintain the continuity of the look of the garment and if the garment changes or ages due to script action or the progression of time.
Breakdown, or aging, means the costume has been altered to give it the appearance of having been worn. It can be as simple as softening seams and areas of the garment to look less new, to finishes like dirt, blood and burning. Most aging or breakdown will occur in advance of the shooting, but sometimes it will happen in the moment on set.
Once the costume arrives on set it is the responsibility of the set team to track the continuity and progression of each character and costume look, confirming that the correct items are worn by the actor in each scene. The set key has their own team of costume staff working on set.
Breakdown & Aging
Continuity & Life on Set
Breakdown & Aging
Season 4 of Guillermo Del Toro’s vampire series picks up nine months after a devastating nuclear explosion in the season 3 finale. The final season required a whole new design with controlled palettes to help show the effects of a nuclear winter. A new Strigoi (vampire) super breed “Mongrel” is revealed; super-fast, agile, and more difficult to destroy. The design instructions were “the mongrels have cooked in the loam for two full moons”.
Costume Designer, Delphine White, designed a look based on the muscle structure of a hound standing upright on their hind legs. The armour was calculated to appear ageless and tactile in the same sense as earth and mud. The costumes are created using leather, and then painted in the breakdown room to change the material to look fermented, decayed, and rusted.
BREAKDOWN & AGING
V-Wars features a world of horror when a virus is released from polar ice melting due to climate change. This costume was worn by lead character Luther Swann (Ian SomerHalder) throughout a specific script day that ends in an explosion.
To achieve this look, multiples of the costume was needed, with some going through the process of breakdown to capture the effects of the explosion. The idea was to make the costume look burnt and torn from being blown back from the force of the explosion.
Working with breakdown artist Alex Kavanagh, the scene and action were first analyzed and then the team consulted with the special effects department on the size of the explosion. They referred to notes from the director on how much damage he wanted to see and then examined the actual shooting location to try to make the dirt the costume would collect when on the ground look real and accurate. The broken down version of the costume features singe marks with different powders and paints used for the soot look.
Continuity & Life On Set
COntinuity & Life on Set
Jump, Darling follows the story of Russel (Thomas Duplessie), a rookie drag queen, who is torn between his precarious future as a queer artist and the comfortable life he’s come to know. An intergenerational family drama with a juicy queer underbelly, the film examines daunting choices and consequences that come with choosing unconventional paths. The costume featured here is worn by Russel’s drag persona “Ginger”, while performing her debut performance “SWERLK” at the local Prince Edward County gay bar. Ginger’s closet is an amalgamation of vintage, thrift and custom pieces that are to read as if collected from estate sales, hand me downs and found pieces from grandma’s closet.
Continuity & Life on Set
The Detour follows the Parker Family’s travels across the world, while the daughter Delilah is on the run from the rest of them. The journey to find her takes them to Tibet, Japan, New Zealand, and eventually back home to New York. This costume is for the character Bozosun. In this episode the Parkers’ endure humiliation on a very colourful Japanese game show with Bozosun the clown. The game show celebrates Japanese culture while honoring traditional elements played into modern patterns and colours in Bozosun’s costume. All while focusing on elevating and supporting the charterer and visual storytelling.