Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bolts of Deepest Winter

.... a look back on a beautiful costume.

"The fabric we created for her dress is directly related to ice images... . The first layer is a velvet dyed with resist areas for a modeled look. The second layer is felted wool and silk.

The raw materials were dyed and then felted to fit the shape of each dress. The sheen of the silk is what gave us icy lines and begins to create the depth. The final layer is the lace. This is metallic thread and organza pieces, also dyed, sewn onto a burn out fabric. We would draw the ice crackle from a small scale to a larger scale at the hem of the dress. This gives us the illusion of height, she is a giant.

Then a seamstress would machine endless amounts of thread over the lines and finally we would burn out the back. Each panel was made this way for all of the six dresses. Once the lace was ready we would hand sew it on to the felted dress and then and only then the dress would truly come to life. Tilda use to comment on how amazing it was when we would lay on that last layer. It was always a little piece of magic."

~ Interview with Costume Designer Isis Mussenden

Tilda Swinton had input into a costume which she says works like a mood thermometer.

She never changes dresses but the dress itself changes shape and colour, according to how things are going for her. When she's at home in her ice castle, it puffs out like a ball gown, and when things are getting a little bleaker, the dress gets tighter and darker. And when things get really dark for her, it goes completely black.

( Tilda says ) "But the gown was heavy and difficult to move in. The hair -- which includes roots from a tree -- was also an ordeal because I couldn't remove it when I wasn't shooting a scene."

It was a wig and glued on and you just couldn't whip it off," she explains.

"In a way I ( Tilda) don't play a character at all because I am not a human.

I play the epitome of all evil, which is a free pass into all manner of nonsense."