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Crimson Peak: Dressing Lady Lucille Sharpe. The Moth

"At home, we have only black moths. Formidable creatures, to be sure, but they lack beauty.
They thrive on the dark and the cold."
- Lucille Sharpe -

CRIMSON PEAK is Guillermo del Toro's new film. Released this past October, the movie is written by del Toro himself and Mathew Robbins (who has also collaborated with the likes of Spielberg and Lucas throughout his career). The movie aims to be a gothic romance movie through and through, and it stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain.
The story goes as follows: Edith Cushing, a young budding American author, meets and falls in love with a handsome and charming but impoverished English baronet: Sir Thomas Sharpe. They eventually marry and return to England, to the Sharpe's dilapidated mansion: Allerdale Hall. There they live with Thomas's sister: Lucille. The deadly apparitions that haunt the house will force Edith to slowly uncover the buried secrets of Crimson Peak.
In the movie we find two opposing…
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All hail the Prop in... The Hollow Crown. Part I

If there is an element of the Art Department often overlooked by audiences when regarding filmmaking, it's the Prop.
             PROP (noun) (IN FILM/THEATRE)
An object used by the actors performing in a play or film:

The only props used in the show are a table, a chair, and a glass of water.

But why are we speaking about the prop when this is a Costume Design focused blog? It is true that the prop can be something as far removed from costume as a chair or a plate. But it also can be something that easily and naturally intersects with the Costume Design: a piece of jewelry, a shield or a handbag.
It's in those cases when a great prop design can bring a lot of narrative meaning in a similar fashion as Costume Design itself. And it's those cases that we are going to be looking at in here. We are going to dedicate this series to spread the virtues of the prop and to analyze through specific cases how a good prop can complement the meaning behind the story and even come to stan…

Creating the Seven Kingdoms. Part IV: The Capital

Having already focused on three of the major players of the Seven Kingdoms (the Starks in the North, the Lannisters in the West and the Tyrells in the Reach) we are going to change the focus a bit and instead of focusing on a family or a region we are going to focus on a city and how costume design can help visualize and even explain its intricate inner workings.
The Seven Kingdoms, as Martin created them, have a long and sprawling history behind them that has helped to form the traditions and culture of each of these kingdoms, shaping them into what we know.
And, as we've established in previous articles, the most important task that the Costume Design faced was being able to create the sense that these cultures not only truly existed, but that they had existed for a long time. So, how do you design for a city that has no history?

Without further introduction, let's turn our attention to Westeros' prosper and rich capital and see how the political game can shape the look…

Creating the Seven Kingdoms. Part III: The Reach

In honor of the return of HBO's Game of Thrones to our screens this past summer, and as an apology for our extended hiatus, we are going to dive back into the complex visual world of Westeros once again. Previously in this series, we've focused on how the North (read here), the Westerlands (read here) and their respective cultures were represented and reinforced through the detailed Costume Design. And, today, we are going to do the same by looking at how Michele Clapton, the Costume Designer for HBO's multi-awarded show, builds the culture of the Reach and the Tyrell family.

The Reach, just like the Westerlands, it's a region that we've barely physically seen on the show until very recently. And, because of it, most of what we know about it has been inferred through their visual style and the sporadic dialogue exposition. Which, in turn, speaks very highly of the incredible work done by the Costume Design Department when it came to projecting information regardin…

The Hunger Games and Codified Villainy

Within our current media landscape, heavily populated by Young Adult novels and their inevitable adaptations, there is one YA novel that stands above the others. Not because it's necessarily better, but because it's the mother of them all and has, at this point, spawned a thousand rip offs and copycats. We are talking, evidently, about The Hunger Games.
The 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins (and its 2012 movie adaptation) could actually be blamed for the dystopian obsession in media that has dominated the movie/book industry for the last years. And, whilst dystopia can be a very clever tool for pointing out real problems in our society, it needs to be careful not to oversimplify those problems and therefore, trivialize them.
But what does this have to do with Costume Design? Sometimes, the visual choices taken in this type of media can actually come to reveal even more problems with our social worldview than the creators originally intended.
In this particular case, the very spec…