Last month at the Academy Awards, the Oscar for Best Costume Design went to Colleen Atwood for Tim Burton’s “ Alice in Wonderland”. I was very happy about it not just because the costumes were amazing, but also because couple of years ago I had the opportunity to work on some of them.
Every time I finish a beautiful, but difficult costume it feels like I leave in it something from myself, so like a proud mother I like to follow the progress of my babies and it makes me immensely proud when they do well.
We see hundreds and thousands of movies and stage shows come to life every year. I wonder how many people have even the slightest idea how much work is involved in each one of them.
Some times when I tell someone that I’ve been working for few weeks on the same costume they have a hard time to comprehend why it would take so long. But it does. Contemporary costume takes usually no more than a week to be build, but period costumes with all the different layers, trim and decorations takes three to four weeks, if not even more.
For “Alice in Wonderland” I made two pieces – a doublet and a cape made of gray cotton velvet heavily embellished with gold trim. When I began working on them, I had the idea that it might be interesting to document the whole process, so I began taking pictures of different stages or details while working on them. Unfortunately, I missed lots of them, because when you get engrossed in the work it’s easy to forget all of the secondary plans. For the same movie I also did a whimsical multi-coloured embroidery for the pants of the Mad Hatter, which in the hurry of the last minute order, regrettably also went unrecorded.
In the future I’m planning to do more of these visual diaries and share them on this blog with everyone who might be interested. For now I hope you can satisfy at least a little bit of your curiosity about costume building with these pictures.
|Sections for the peplum|
|Embellished parts of the bodice /Back, Side and Front/.|
|Sleeve caps and collar.|
|Finishing the front trim and attaching the peplum.|
|The bodice is almost ready for fitting.|
|Center front closure.|
|Close up of details.|
|Finished Doublet /Front and Back view/.|
|Working the trim on the cape.|
|Finished details of the neck and bottom corner of the cape.|