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From Punks To Bridesmaids – Costume Designers Saw All Types

M. Galas

Wizards, punks, social outcasts, lonely hearts: these are some of the characters this year’s crop of costume designers were honored for creating outfits for.  The road to realizing each character, however, was paved with unusual challenges many of the designers hadn’t encountered on previous films.  For seasoned vet Sandy Powell, working on "Hugo" was completely unique for it was her first time creating costumes for a 3D movie.

"It was a lot better than I imaged it would be, it was a lot more beneficial than I thought it would be," said Powell.  "Quite often we use original textiles and costumes and I thought it would accentuate the fact that all these things were old and faded.  Somehow or other it made things look better.  It accentuated textures and it gave things a richer, deeper look than it would have normally.  I think I was very lucky."

Mark Bridges, costume designer for "The Artist," found a tight schedule coupled with creating pieces for a black and white film placed some unique challenges in creating period pieces.

"It was interesting how bad print really looked," said Bridges.  "Once it was in black and white it just became mush. It lost that great deco pattern.  We didn’t have the time to weave fabric and have it sent from places.  We had to find it, and actually we had a bit of luck intervene.  I found a beautiful panel and turned it into this great piece, making it into Peppy’s interview dress."

Trish Summerville had to balance creating revealing costumes for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" that remained practical in the bitter temperatures and harsh weather of Sweden the actors faced on set.

"We did a lot of water proofing on the shoes and we had undergarments and thermals, but at a certain point you can’t keep layering because you lose the affect of the costume," said Summerville.  "I have to say all the actors were really easy going and understood what we were dealing with."


Actors, or more specifically, George Clooney, presented an unexpected hurdle for Wendy Chuck, costume designer for "The Descendants."

"The challenge was all in my mind, because I wasn’t sure how he would respond to the clothes until I met him," said Chuck.  "He walked in the room and he was totally down for it.  You can’t ask for a better response than an actor who’s willing to totally trust you."



The winners of this year’s Costume Designers Guild Awards were:

Excellence in Commercial Costume Design:

Swiffer: “Country Dirt Cowgirl” – Roseanne Fiedler


Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series:

Boardwalk Empire – John A. Dunn and Lisa Padovani


Outstanding Contemporary Television Series:

Glee – Lou Eyrich and Jennifer Eve


Outstanding Made for Television Movie or Miniseries:

Downton Abbey – Susannah Buxton


Excellence in Fantasy Film:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 – Jany Temime


Excellence in Period Film:

W.E. – Arianne Phillips


Excellence in Contemporary Film:

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Trish Summerville



To view videos intereviews shot at the CDG Awards, visit: