In an interview with SlashFilm, the costume designer for the film Nightmare Alley, Luis Sequeira, discusses the vintage fashion he brought back to life.
When asked where his work on the film began, Sequeira said, "I started in June 2019 and I went to Europe to start collecting clothes, doing flea markets and antique dealers, and buying fabrics that I wanted to use in the film. We had a pause in production in the fall for a few weeks. And then we shot our city aspect of the movie and then COVID hit and we were down, and we waited six months to start back up. And then we proceeded to do the carnival and had six weeks to prepare for the carnival, which seems like a long time but all of the prep work we had done prior, a lot of it was null and void. Those extras were no longer available, and so we had to refit those folks. We finished around Christmas, so it was a very long process and I was thankful for the time, because even in the downtime it gave me an opportunity to really move away from the city and really focus on the country aspect of the film."
When asked about Guillermo Del Toro's notorious sharp eye for costume accuracy, Sequeira said, "There are a couple of pearls of wisdom that he taught me a number of years ago and he said, "We have a set but once we move into a closeup, there is no set. The clothing is the set. The clothing is what surrounds the actor's face, so we have to make sure that we have the greatest of details on every angle of that costume when we move in for their closeup." For me, that prompted just a shift. Obviously, I'm thinking about it, but I realized for him it was paramount. In fact, now I do 360 fitting photos and I'm able to pivot and see what the line is from the back, the side, and it's made me a better designer on that. That has been paramount in my design process moving forward since that time."
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When asked about the accuracy of the extras and their costumes depending on each town they visited, Sequeira answered, "I think what's great about the beginning of the movie are the faces of people and the looks that we put together. You could actually take a black and white photograph of those folks and you could actually physically think that you are looking at stuff from that time. I think the use of well worn clothing was instrumental in that. The different ways that men wear hats back in the day, the women's silhouettes that we use because we really ... It isn't just one period. Just now, you could be wearing a shirt from five years ago, you could be wearing your pants, your favorite jeans from 10 years ago and the same thing applied. So when I collected all that stuff and we were putting these pieces, these outfits together, it was really looking at a wide spectrum; almost 10 years of fashion and beautiful garments with beautiful textures to bring those together."
Information originally sourced from SlashFilm.