Category Archives: Wardrobe Department

Background in Focus: UK Costume Designer Jemima Penny

Costume Designer Jemima Penny

 

While most creatives take many years to find their true calling and turn it into a career, often times there are hints during childhood as to the direction their artistry will later take, and London-based costume designer Jemima Penny is no exception.

Penny recalls, “I was always drawn to costumes. As a little girl my favorite game was ‘dressing up.’ I never wanted bought costumes, I’d always make them up myself.”

Over the past decade Penny has become known internationally for her work as the costume designer on a wide range of projects, including films such as the popular Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days on Earth, which was nominated for a prestigious BAFTA Film Award for Best Documentary in 2015, the dramatic mystery film In The Dark Half starring Jessica Barden from the Golden Globe nominated series Penny Dreadful, the comedy film Where Have I Been All Your Life? with two-time Primetime Emmy Award winner James Corden (Into the Woods), and many more.

“I was always fascinated by how people define themselves and send messages to wider society about who they are through the way they dress. So I naturally gravitate towards character work over trend. And of course, storytelling is one of the most important and basic human needs. Its how we communicate and pass messages on to one another. So to be able to be part of this industry is a wonderful thing,” explains Penny about what led her to pursue her career as a costume designer.

Penny recently wrapped production on multi-award winning director Jonathan Hopkins’ (Goodbye Mr. Snuggles)  upcoming horror film Slumber, which is slated to be released later this year and stars Maggie Q (Live Free or Die Hard, Mission: Impossible III), Will Kemp (Reign, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce) and Sylvester McCoy (Sense8, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey).

The film follows Alice, played by Maggie Q, a rationally minded sleep doctor who, after finding no plausible scientific explanation for the terror an entire family of clients faces while they’re asleep, is forced to abandon reason and accept the existence of the ‘Night Hag.’ In Slumber, we realize that this supposed mythical creature who paralyzes her victims while they’re asleep, one who’s been referenced and written about by practically every culture since the beginning of time, may not be as mythical as everyone believes.

Poster for Slumber
Poster for the upcoming film “Slumber”

For the upcoming film costume designer Jemima Penny has done a thoroughly brilliant job of representing the changing mental states of the characters into their wardrobe, which in the case of this film in particular, changes drastically over the course of the film, at least for some. One of the most drastic visual changes in wardrobe style that audiences will immediately notice is that of Q’s character Alice.

“Alice, the main character is a rational, scientific person who likes to have total control over every element of her life. She is ordered and methodical. However over the course of the film she starts to unravel as the Night Hag becomes more real to her,” explains Penny.

“We used her costumes to help depict this journey. At the beginning of the film she is very put together. Her clothing reflects her character– buttoned up, stylish, sleek, conservative and coordinated… As the film progresses and Alice’s mental state deteriorates we gravitate to more casual, rougher looks– jeans, boots and tees… and the colour palette becomes more earthy and darker.”

The reason Penny has become such a recognizable and sought after costume designer in the industry is due to more than just her skilled abilities as a designer and seamstress. At the end of the day her success can be attributed to the rare and unique way that she gets inside the head of each character she designs for… it’s the methodical way that she breaks down their personality, changing emotions and the outer circumstances that they can’t control to design their wardrobe scene by scene that makes her such a powerful force in her field.

Slumber star Maggie Q says, “Jemima is one of my favorite designers. Not only does she have an incredible sense of style, that is evident in all her work no matter what the brief, but she is totally dedicated to getting the costumes right for the piece, which, for an actor, is such an essential part of being able to fully become immersed in a role.”

Bringing such talent to the table, it is not at all surprising that Slumber is not Jemima Penny’s first time working as a costume designer on one of Jonathan Hopkins’ films. Earlier on in her career she served as the costume designer on his comedy film Minimus, which earned the Festival Award from the 2013 Chicago Comedy Festival. The genres alone reveal the polar opposite nature of the previous project compared to their most recent collaboration, but clearly Penny’s talent as a costume designer proves that her skill exceeds the limitation of any particular genre– or medium for that matter.

“Johnny and I have worked together for a long time. We started making TV commercials together nearly 10 years ago and have built a solid understanding of each other’s work. So after an initial meeting Johnny will ask me to develop designs for the piece and we have a very collaborative process… he is always open to new ideas and trusts in the rest of his creative team to bring valuable input to the project,” says Penny about working with director Jonathan Hopkins.

In addition to making a strong impact as a costume designer in the world of film, Penny has also created a dazzling repertoire of work that includes music videos, such as Calvin Harris’ ‘Sweet Nothing’ feat. Florence Welch, which has over 200 million views on Youtube, as well as an overwhelming list of commercials for globally recognized brands such as Nike, Virgin Media, ITV’s The X Factor, the BBC, Cadbury, Dyson, Disney, Absolut Vodka and many more.

Up next for costume designer Jemima Penny is Primetime Emmy nominee Polly Draper’s (Thirtysomething, Demolition) film Stella’s Last Weekend starring Nat Wolff (Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars) and Alex Wolff (Coming Through the Rye, Patriots Day), as well as the upcoming film Farming, which is set in Great Britain in the 1970s and follows a Nigerian child who grows up in a white working class family and ultimately becomes the leader of a skinhead white supremacist gang.

About the upcoming film Farming, Penny says, “It’s a heart wrenching terrifying look at racism in the not too distant past and it should be a very powerful piece. It’s also a fantastic era for costume.”

 

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Making it in Wardrobe: Film Costumer Lisa Sass

Costumer Lisa Sass
Costumer Lisa Sass shot by Veera Ovaska

 

Originally from Hanover, Germany, costumer Lisa Sass is one of the key figures who works tirelessly behind the scenes on film and television productions to ensure that all the actors on screen visually represent their characters down to the most minute detail.

Over the past five years Sass’s vast skill set as a costumer have landed her leading roles on a huge range of high profile productions including the Oscar Award nominated films Star Trek Beyond and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Golden Globe nominated film Furious 7 starring Vin Diesel (xXx) and the feature film War Machine starring Oscar Award winner Brad Pitt (World War Z), which was released last month.

While it hasn’t taken her long to establish a reputation that is strong enough to be sought out by some of the biggest film productions in the world, she definitely paid her dues along the way. The path to becoming a costumer for film and TV was something that actually began for Sass during childhood.

She explains, “I’ve always been a big fan of movies and TV series. I started drawing when I was about 4 years old, started copying cartoon and comic characters at some point and went to more realistic drawings from there. I made up stories and started creating my own characters and their clothes. Going into costume design combined my passion for film and creating characters.”

Sass’ role as a costumer is one that starts long before the cameras begin rolling and finishes long after the director says ‘that’s a wrap.’ While the costume designer ultimately decides what costume each character wears on screen, it’s the costumer’s job to breakdown the script scene by scene and create a look-book for every single character documenting the multitude of costumes they wear over the course of a production. Sass then goes to work compiling a massive wardrobe collection to fit the main characters, as well as everything worn by the background talent. But her job definitely doesn’t end there, if it did, things would be far too easy.

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Lisa Sass shot by  Veera Ovaska

In addition to altering the costumes to fit each cast member perfectly, she is the person who makes sure her department has everything they need to keep the cast comfortable, which can be include everything from a wet suit to be worn under the clothing if the character falls into a cold lake during a scene to heat tech clothing to keep the cast member warm when shooting in frigid temperatures. She is also responsible for aging the costumes and adding desired effects depending what happens to the character in a specific scene and how that carries over into their wardrobe, and much more.

Sass first immersed herself in the industry in 2010 when she joined the the wardrobe department of the hit series Tatort, which has won over 100 awards since it first began in the 1970s and is still airing today! After learning the ropes from seasoned costume designer and German Television Academy Award winner Monika Hinz on the series Tatort, Sass was ready to begin working on her own as a lead costumer.

Immediately after completing her bachelor’s degree in costume design she landed a spot as a costumer on the set of the 26-episode comedy series In Your Dreams, an Australian/German co-production. One of Sass’s major roles once a production begins shooting is monitoring the continuity of each character’s costume throughout every scene, a skill she quickly acquired thanks to the grueling attention to detail required by In Your Dreams.

She recalls, “We were shooting all episodes out of order so it was essential, that you were fit in keeping the continuity of the costumes. A TV series usually shoots a lot more scenes in a day than you would on a film because of time pressure so we sometimes shot 10 scenes out of 10 different episodes a day which means you have to change the casts costumes after every scene and have to make sure it is worn exactly like the scene before or after one that you might have shot a month ago or longer.”

Sass’s early work on the series In Your Dreams, although demanding, served as excellent preparation for the many jobs that flowed in subsequently after, such as the German crimes series Monaco 110 starring Bavarian TV Award winner Monika Baumgartner (The Nasty Girl), the Jupiter Award nominated romcom film Vaterfreuden, the crime film Die reichen Leichen. Ein Starnbergkrimi directed by 10-time Adolf Grimme Award winner Dominik Graf (The Invincibles) and the crime series SOKO 5113 starring Gerd Silberbauer.

In Your Dreams director Ralph Strasser says, “We had quite a large cast on the series, and it was imperative that they always looked immaculate on camera, so the demands on Lisa and her colleagues were often quite intense. The film set is a place where tensions frequently run high, but Lisa was always a friendly and good natured presence, doing what was required calmly and efficiently. Making ‘In Your Dreams’ was a very special experience in my career, largely due to the pleasure of sharing it with people like Lisa.”

After making a name for herself in the German film and television industry, Lisa Sass moved to Dubai where she began costuming for even bigger projects. There she was tapped as a lead costumer on the hit films Furious 7, Star Trek Beyond, Star Wars; The Force Awakens and War Machine.

Besides her unrivaled creativity, attention to detail and extensive wardrobe knowledge, one thing that has made Sass such a sought after costumer in the film industry internationally is the fact that costume designers can trust her to be prepared for any situation, and oftentimes that means having items on hand (that aren’t in the script) to keep the cast comfortable.

“It is not only important to dress the cast, it is also important to maintain comfort for the cast. There’s a lot of empathy and psychology at play but also simple things like providing warming jackets, heating insoles, warm blankets in between takes, umbrellas for rain or sun or fans on shoots in the desert. If the actors are happy, every shoot runs more smoothly and that can even mean a change of shoes in between takes or for a close up where you don’t see the difference,” explains Sass.

“This is all part of the job as a costumer behind the scenes for the things that you will not see on screen but is very important for the progress of the shoot.”

Aside from her key contributions to countless film and television productions, Sass has also been tapped to apply her skill as costumer on a plethora of major commercials for companies such as Nike, Nissan, Ultra Tech Cement, Lamborghini and others.

Earlier this year she was the costumer on the “What will they say about you?” commercial for Nike Middle East, which was geared towards women in the Middle East and created quite a buzz. The powerful and controversial commercial featured women athletes running through the streets, playing sports and being the epitome of strength, all the while wearing traditional Hijabs.

As someone who has made it to the top of the industry as an internationally sought after costumer, Sass is one person aspiring costumers should look to for advice if they are seriously considering making this a career.

Sass says, “The job needs a lot of empathy to work at your best in a team, adapt to the costume designer’s visions and be able to work with different people and personalities constantly. You have to be able to work well under pressure and think quickly on your feet and have a keen eye for details.”

Angela Trivino takes audiences back in time with costume design in award-winning film “Tragiometry”

Growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, Angela Trivino was surrounded by yards of fabric in her mother’s studio; it was an upbringing that would lead to her destiny. The steadfast sound of a sewing machine was as familiar as a friendly voice, and slowly, clothing and fashion became a way of seeing the world. There was never a question as to what she would become later in life: she would follow her passion. However, becoming one of Colombia’s best costume designers needed more than passion, it required hard work and innate talent.

Trivino’s world continues to be filled with fabric and design. She is a true artist, lending her vision to countless films, stage productions, commercials, and music videos. She helps directors realize their goals in a completely visual way. Without her, time travel through the lens of a camera would not be possible, as clothing is vital to transporting an audience member to a different era. Her work was key to the success of the award-winning film Tragiometry, a dark comedy set in the 19th century.

Tragiometry was my first time designing a period film, and I loved the challenge of exploring concepts like femininity, elegance, comedy, and darkness in an era in which these words had a completely different connotation from the one they have today. It always feels great to escape from our world and travel back in time,” said Trivino.

Tragiometry revolves around an undertaker Mr. Vizor, who in the process of treating a dead Mr. Moore’s body, discovers that he’s very much alive, simply awakening from a lethargic sleep. To his outmost surprise, Mr. Vizor finds out that the man is utterly unhappy about being alive and he desperately wishes to go down The Gates of Hades, this time in reality. Two men, two different stories, yet the same questions — does death become a punishment for wasting every second?  Or maybe life itself is a greater punishment for someone who has a meaningless existence.

“I enjoyed this project so much. The energy on set was great, and the artistic conversations with every head of department were incredibly inspiring. On the other hand, the nature of the project gave me a lot of space to explore creatively, which is always amazing,” she said.

Trivino’s role of costume designer for the film required her to stay loyal to the time period and research the history, costumes, and cultural mannerisms extensively to ensure accuracy. The film is a comedy, and her costume design had to still portray that side of the film while being historically correct. After approval of her sketches from Tatyana Kim, the director of the film, and after taking the pertinent measurements to the actors, she built the period garments.

“Tatyana was such an inspiration during the whole process. We have very similar aesthetics and ways of approaching narratives.  She also understands costumes really well, you don’t always get to have conversations with directors that understand concepts like silhouette and fabric textures in camera,” said Trivino.

Leading two seamstresses and a costume assistant in the making of some of the garments used in the film, Trivino made sure her vision was met. During filming, she was on set to dress the actors, and make sure that every single garment was worn according to the period.

For Trivino, the biggest challenge for the film to be successful was to make interesting creative choices without risking justice to the period. In order to achieve this, she extensively researched not only the period, but also the characters and the comedy they carried within. She worked close to the cinematographer, which was key to achieving a well-controlled palette and beautiful, well-composed frames.

“Angela is a joy to work with from beginning to end. As a writer and director, I work with each character from its conception, and Angela has this incredible ability to come up with the perfect visual interpretation of this person that I created through words. Her character–based approach to costume design really digs into each personality and story to figure out what the costume needs are to help the actor inhabit that person. For Tragiometry we were working with a story set in the 19th Century, and Angela focused in not just designing a period accurate film, but in finding the character that lived in that period,” said Tatyana Kim.

This commitment and vision that Trivino carried with her on the project led to Tragiometry having immense success at several international film festivals. It was an Official Selection at Ciné Women Europe 2015, Los Angeles CineFest 2015, China Women’s Film Festival, Pasadena International Film Festival 2017, and the prestigious Cannes Short Film Corner. It won Best Director and Best Actor at the TMFF Glasgow 2015, and was part of the Golden Drama Awards Austria 2015.

“I hate to say it, but I was not surprised that the film was so successful. From the moment I read the script, I knew only great things could happen to such a brilliant story,” Trivino concluded. “The real surprise was finding about Cannes, we knew it was going to do great but not that great.”

Fashion Director Kirsten Reader Teams Up With Suits Star Patrick J Adams

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Archibald Spring 2015 cover styled by Kirsten Reader

Sometimes, the greatest success can come from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Leaving what you know and experimenting with new things can lead to the extraordinary. This is what happened with wardrobe stylist and fashion director Kirsten Reader when she embarked on a journey to create Archibald Magazine’s spring 2015 cover.

Reader left her home in Toronto to shoot in Los Angeles. Not only was this her first time shooting in LA, it was her first time shooting in the United States. On top of this, Reader had to not just be in charge of fashion, she was also the fashion editor, creative director, wardrobe stylist and groomer.

“This was my second issue as Fashion Editor for the men’s fashion publication, Archibald,” said Reader. “I wanted to do something to really show what the publication could do and achieve given not only was it my second issue, it was also the second issue for the publication as a whole. I wanted to truly push myself and do a shoot in LA and also create content for the publication that showed being a new publication we could compete with the best men’s publications. This was a personal challenge to see what I could achieve.”

Reader decided to reach out to her former schoolmate Patrick J Adams to see if he would be interested in being featured in the shoot. Adams, a SAG-Award nominated actor well-known for playing the lead role of Mike Ross in the critically acclaimed television series Suits, jumped on board, along with the photographer Vanessa Heins.

“Vanessa was actually going to be there, and had been trying to get a shoot with Patrick so it was a project that was just meant to be,” said Reader.

The shoot was just Reader, Adams, and Heins, and took place in Los Angeles with a lot of it in Silver Lake and around the LA River.

“Once in LA we just location scouted and ended up shooting the whole concept fairly guerrilla style,” Reader described.

The threesome of Reader, Adams, and Heins worked extremely well together, and were able to create a successful feature for the magazine.

“It was great to work with Patrick as we hadn’t worked together since drama class back in high school,” said Reader. “To have Vanessa on board and her to have a relationship with Patrick already made the whole atmosphere of the shoot relaxed and enjoyable, really allowing us to have fun with the process and create some great images that showcased Patrick in a way that hadn’t been shown prior.”

Adams agrees, and attributes Reader’s talents as the reason the magazine sold over 50,000 copies in Toronto and received over 1.3 million views online.

“This extraordinary success would not have been possible without Kirsten’s prowess,” he said. “She successfully represented me as an actor and an artist.”

Adams describes the collaboration as “nearly flawless”.

“Kirsten always kept a laid back atmosphere for the shoot while directing the overall project and styling,” he continued. “She is widely recognized for her contribution in Canadian fashion, especially within Toronto, and is listed as one of the most recognized stylists in the world.”

Despite having to overcome some difficulties initially, Reader describes the shoot as a learning experience.

“There were numerous challenges for the shoot like not having an assistant,” she said. “I definitely learned by doing.”

Reader acknowledges that she was lucky to be able to reach the talents of Adams and Heins at the click of a button.

“I was lucky enough to go to high school with some incredibly talented people who have made an impression in LA,” described Reader. “Patrick was one of them and I took the chance and reached out. Vanessa has been a great friend and work colleague who I always feel privileged to work with. Her talent behind the lens is one that inspires me to be better on every project.”

All in all, the experience was a great one for Reader.

“The whole day was a so much fun and even though I was wearing many hats for the project we had fun just trying out the concepts we had loosely brainstormed,” said Reader.

She even got to discover some natural talent that was hidden before.

“My favorite part was probably the motorcycle shot. We actually shot it with my driving across the LA River Bridge keeping pace with Patrick on his motorcycle and Vanessa leaning out the window to shoot,” she said. “Apparently I make an excellent pace car driver as well.”

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Patrick Adams styled by Kirsten Reader featured in Archibald Magazine

Australian-Based Stylist Cat Sherwin Makes-Up Contestants for ‘The Celebrity Apprentice Australia’ and ‘The Voice’

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Cat Sherwin

Australian-based makeup artist and hairstylist, Cat Sherwin, has established herself as an invaluable styling asset to several contestants of the hit television shows “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” and “The Voice” over a course of multiple seasons.

Originally from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, Sherwin has been recognized as an accomplished artist in the entertainment industry for over eleven years. Her work as a makeup artist and hairstylist spans numerous platforms, encompassing everything from film and television programs to live, red carpet events. Sherwin has made-up both reoccurring and guest talent appearing on “Sunrise,” “The Morning Show” and “ABC News,” and has obtained a lengthy framework of experience with distinguished networks such as ABC, Foxtel, Channel 7, and Fox Sports.

Sherwin’s involvement with Fremantle’s “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” began back in 2011 where she worked as a freelancer/contractor on contestants appearing on Season 1 of the series. Based on “NBC: The Apprentice,” “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” features host and CEO Mark Bouris and a remarkable cast of celebrities, all competing for their favorite charities.

“Working on a show that is being produced for the benefit of charities is enormously fulfilling, as you really feel that everyone is ultimately working together as a team, from celebrities through to production, to produce something that has a real tangible result and that makes a difference,” Sherwin said.

In addition to Season 1, Sherwin has also been a part of Seasons 2 and 3 of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” working various episodes and with a wide range of contestants as well as other stylists. Regarding all involved, Sherwin commented, “[It was] great meeting so many different people and personalities from different backgrounds. There was a great sense of team spirit when working alongside other makeup artists.”

Behind the scenes, the show was known for its spontaneity, resulting in extremely early call times and frequent, last minute scheduling changes. Call times and locations for the following day were often not released until quite late at night the evening before, however for Sherwin this regimen, “Felt exciting. [She] felt part of the celebrities’ adventure.”

Over the span of these three seasons, Sherwin styled a number of famed celebrities. Some of the participators Sherwin worked with in Season 1, consisted of Jesinta Campbell (Miss Universe Australia 2010), former competition swimmer Lisa Curry, Didier Cohen (“America’s Next Top Model”), celebrity publicist Max Markson, and Australian politician Pauline Hanson. For the duration of Season 2, Sherwin had the pleasure of styling professional boxer and water skiing champion Lauryn Eagle, Charlotte Dawson (“America’s Next Top Model”), former football player Jason Akermanis, Nathan Joliffe (“The Amazing Race Australia”), comic Vince Sorrenti, and David Hasselhoff (“Knight Rider” and “Baywatch”), to name a few. Starring on Season 3 of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin correspondingly worked with Kym Johnson (“Good Morning America,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Entertainment Tonight”), Prue MacSween (“Weekend Sunrise” and “Australia’s Next Top Model”), competitive swimmer Stephanie Rice, Rob Mills (“Australian Idol”), and musician Brian Mannix, among others.

“The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” contains a segment of the show called ‘the boardroom,’ where meetings among candidates take place in a series of what usually consists of three stages. In the boardroom, the host and his advisors debrief the contestants, who are separated into teams, the winning team ultimately prized with a reward while the losing team endures an elimination.

When asked to detail some of her favorite memories thus far, Sherwin answered, “Getting the contestants ready for the boardroom as the show progressed. Everyone got closer as time went on, and you really felt his or her crusade and tension and wanted them all to win. You really felt like you were living and breathing the excitement and anticipation with them.”

Regarding her styling techniques in specific when it came to readying the stars for the boardroom, Sherwin explained that, “The looks were much more glamorous.” In one of the episodes, Eagle had a 1950’s-inspired waved hair look. “Ensuring the celebrity looked fabulous and felt confident was really important in helping someone get ready to state their case,” Sherwin stated.

Due to many different challenges within the competitive program that required completion, the show often moved locations, allowing Sherwin the opportunity to create distinctive styles and looks. Furthermore, on challenge days, she had to, “Consider environments, locations and weather when creating a look to ensure that said look would look real and simple and hold up during a long day, whilst not hindering the celebrity and at the same time, making them feel great,” said Sherwin.

Similar to her work with a diverse group of celebs on “Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin has provided makeup artistry and hair styling for an innumerable amount of competitors on Shine’s award winning series “The Voice,” an Australian reality show based on the original Dutch talent singing competition. During Sherwin’s tenure, “The Voice” was hosted by Darren McMullen. The show contains a structure of three competitive phases: blind auditions, battle rounds and live performance shows, where the ultimate winner receives a recording contract with Universal Music.

“It was really exciting to be part of an artists’ journey in pursuing their dream,” Sherwin said. “As the show progressed, how we styled them according to themed weeks and alongside wardrobe directly affected the overall appearance of how the public saw the artist.”

The different rounds allowed Sherwin to really showcase her unique talents as a makeup artist and hairstylist. “It was fabulous to be able to create some really adventurous and eye catching looks. As a performer, you need to stand out on stage, so the makeup can be much bolder and braver [on “The Voice”] than say a lifestyle commercial. Often on commercials and television you have to create something within a set of quite tight parameters. “The Voice” felt much freer and unrestricted, with opportunity to be really creative and incorporate the latest fashion looks into someone’s personality and style on stage,” Sherwin noted.

With television being such the visual medium that it is, while each singer ultimate stood out based on his or her vocal talent, the intricate work of the entire creative process mattered. Observing this process, Sherwin said, “Everything from staging, lighting and costumes to hair and makeup really helps add the XXX wow factor.” While the work of a stylist can tie together a performance, effectively bringing all of the pieces of the process together is what, “Ultimately will help a new star shine,” said Sherwin.

At times, styling was a team effort. On a number of occasions, Sherwin styled “The Voice” Season 1 winner Karise Eden and Finalist Darren Percival, among others. “It was great seeing Karise’s confidence build throughout the show,” Sherwin said. “All artists started with their own look, which was often quite low key. We worked to build and evolve this into something with more mega wattage, whilst also retaining their own sense of unique style. As confidence flourished, so did the style – it was beautiful to watch.”

Much alike the boardroom of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin fondly remembered styling contestants for the final battle rounds of “The Voice.” The battle rounds are considered the second stage of the competition, where coaches instruct two of their teammates to battle one another by way of singing the same song simultaneously.

“There was so much energy and excitement around them [the battle rounds]. Nobody had anticipated quite how much the first season would take off in Australia and all the excitement around it. It was really quite electric,” Sherwin reminisced.

Moreover, Sherwin recalled witnessing moments of impromptu singing from talent. “I remember watching one of the judge’s coaching sessions with Delta Goodrem, and hearing her burst out spontaneously into song, with no background music, no aid. It was really beautiful – she has such an amazing talent, to hear her voice in the raw was breathtaking,” said Sherwin.

After her miraculous work on “The Voice,” contestants continued to book Sherwin separately for private gigs. Sherwin stated, “Contestant Emma Pask booked me privately on a number of occasions for gigs. I made her up for an outdoor Toronga Zoo Christmas concert. The setting was breathtaking with the Sydney Bridge and Opera House in the background.”

When it comes down to styling contestants for such high profile shows where the pressure always seems to be on, Sherwin insisted that, “Hard work and creativity are important, and so is pulling in the latest fashion looks into something that complements the outfit.” However, the key factor in it all, is creating a look that is, “Wearable by the artist and will make them feel confident.”

There are multiple steps involved in the complex process that Sherwin takes in order to ensure that all of the contestants she works with, “look and feel fabulous, and ready for action,” commented Sherwin.

For more information, visit: http://www.catsherwin.com

Follow Cat on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cat_sherwin

 

Dawn Climie: Going to Incredible Heights to Keep Costume Continuity on Set

Dwan Climie
           Colin O’Donoghue (left) and Dawn Climie (right) on set of the series ‘Once Upon a Time’

In any film or television production, the wardrobe department is responsible for designing and selecting costumes and attire for the cast. Regardless of setting or genre – whether it’s a Victorian or space age period piece, tragic drama, spy thriller or college comedy – costume design is an immense task that requires countless hours of planning, research, budgeting and acquisition.

The job of actually designing the costumes, dressing the cast and then watching over the wardrobe and preventing malfunctions when it comes to the shoot is too big for any one person, so the costume designer is usually unable to be on location during filming. In their stead, at least in Canadian productions, they appoint a costume set supervisor who they rely on to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.

That’s where Dawn Climie comes in. Climie grew up in the industry; her father worked at a TV station in her native Alberta, Canada, and as a child she would sit in the sound stages and watch him work. She was fascinated by the hustle and bustle of the sets, by the lights and cameras and most of all, by the glamorous costumes and the cast’s ornate hairstyles.

“For a kid this is beyond imagination. This is magic, and it still is for me,” Climie recalled. “Costumes became my favorite expression of that magic. The transformation that occurs in a performer when they don a costume designed to be the outward expression of their character is truly a gift to behold. I wanted to be a part of that.”

That childhood dream has been Climie’s reality for 25 years now. Climie received a 2006 Primetime Emmy nomination for her work on Once Upon a Mattress, and has been key to the success of such films as 50 Shades of Grey, Horns, The Bourne Legacy, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, The Thing, The A-Team, Tron Legacy, The Fog, Fantastic Four (2005), Blade 3 and The Chronicles of Riddick, among countless others.

The long list of Climie’s credits is so impressive not just because her projects are myriad and hugely varied, but because so many of them are high-profile big-budget productions which have been widely publicized and boasted casts packed with household names.

Working on Tron Legacy, Climie worked as the bridge between director Joseph Kosinski and designer Christine Clark, who was nominated for the 2011 Costume Designers Guild Award for her work on the film. The high-tech digital world at the center of the ambitious sequel was the result of hundreds of hours of careful planning and design. Much of what audiences saw in theaters was computer generated, and the eye-catching costumes worn by Tron Legacy’s stars Olivia Wilde (House M.D., Her, Cowboys & Aliens) and Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart, The Big Lebowski, True Grit) were painstakingly designed to complement that fantastical and visually-stunning environment.

“The costumes were an amazing advancement that had never been tried in film costuming before,” Climie said. “Light in a costume was something that had never crossed my path before. So learning about a dressing a light grid suit, dealing with the replacing of broken lights, and re-patching broken wires was something that we all had to grasp on the fly.”

As a set costume set supervisor, she acts as the go-between for the costume designer and the director, makes sure there are no malfunctions in the wardrobe department and ensures that both the director’s and costume designer’s combined aesthetic vision is met and brought to life on camera.

In Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol the explosive action, breakneck speed and adrenaline-pumping stunts made the project one where every contingency had to be accounted for. Capturing the sophisticated spy-couture aesthetic was a huge challenge for Climie and the wardrobe department. The designer worked hard to balance the practical necessity of costumes which could handle the wear-and-tear of the film’s many crashes, jumps and rolls, but also didn’t restrict the actors’ mobility or cramp their style.

One of the most tense scenes of M:I – Ghost Protocol was filmed at (and on) the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world. The iconic scene features Ethan Hunt, played of course by three-time Academy Award-nominated superstar Tom Cruise (Top Gun, A Few Good Men, Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire), climbing the massive skyscraper with nothing but a pair of high-tech gloves. Climie was integral in the scene’s visual success, as well as its safe execution.

“Myself and a few other crew members had to spend our days in five-point harnesses attached to the cement ceiling of the building, while helping strap Tom into the different harnesses that would be needed to do each piece of the stunt,” Climie said. “I spent a lot of time with the stunt and rigging teams. We had to plan and prepare each harness, pad and costume piece that would be needed to get the shots safely and seamlessly for the sequence.”

That careful planning and preparation paid off, and the scene went off almost without a hitch. But Climie certainly felt the pressure of having the safety of an actor – one of the world’s best known and highest grossing actors, no less – reliant upon her and her team’s work. And when the inevitable glitch did rear its head, Climie leaped into action, so to speak.

“I can still remember the feeling of lying on my stomach leaning out of an open window on the 123rd floor as myself and the props person tried to repair a malfunctioning light on one of Tom’s climbing gloves,” Climie recalled. “The view was astounding but my prayers were, ‘Oh lord, don’t let me let go of the glove.’”

One of Climie’s latest projects is the Amazon Original Series The Man in the High Castle. A period piece set in an alternate timeline, the acclaimed series meets at the dark crossroads of science fiction dystopia and socio-political philosophy. Adapted from the novel by sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick, both the series and the book take place in 1962. However, in this timeline the Allies lost World War II and the United States has been under Japanese and German occupation for 14 years.

The costumes in The Man in the High Castle are not what you would expect from a period piece set in 1962. Because the series takes place in a timeline where the U.S. lost, the ‘50s and ‘60s styles we know today had be reimagined for a world where the Axis powers became the dominant superpowers. It fell on Climie to make sure that the show’s creative team and designer Audrey Fisher’s careful and deliberate wardrobe decisions were faithfully adhered to, and that no costume mishaps delayed shooting. Of course when those mishaps do happen, the director, designer and crew are always glad Climie is on hand – as they were when a hiking scene caused one cast member’s pants to tear under pressure.

“The result was an exploded inseam with some alarming exposure! Thankfully we had a wonderfully understanding cast member and my amazing crew ran out to the woods with a sewing machine and some fabric so we could repair the pants on site,” Climie said. “Rebuilding a pair of pants in the woods was not the original plan, but the show must go on.”

Every film and TV series she has been involved in has benefited from her invaluable expertise, quick thinking and creative problem solving. She has one of the most demanding jobs on any production, but because of her dedication and poise under pressure her talents are always in high demand. The first season of The Man in the High Castle will be available on Amazon Nov. 20, 2015. Many of her other projects can be seen on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and most are available on DVD and Blu-Ray.