New Guillermo del Toro’s movie “Nightmare Alley” features colorful characters — carnival performers trumpeting the main showrunners, drivers and merchants, social inclusion — and an impressive cast led by Bradley Cooper leads. To help start time for his early ’40s work, the director brought in costume designer Luis Sequeira.
Sequeira has worked with Del Toro several times, most recently on “Shape of Water,” which earned him an Oscar nomination for best costume design. In 2018, the director approached the designer to work on “Nightmare Alley,” also starring Rooney Mara, with assistance from Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett, Toni Colette and Richard Jenkins. While Sequeira watched the original 1947 version of movieDel Toro notes that he’s not aiming for a remake of the film – the aim is the same story, different narrator.
“The great thing about working with Guillermo is having an understanding dialogue from working together over and over again. And there was a synergy in the aesthetic and knowing how he wanted to light it, knowing his level of desire for attention to detail,” said Sequeira, who is working on another project. with Del Toro, the anthology series “Cabinet of Curiosity” for Netflix. .
Sequeira’s process for “Nightmare Alley” began with visual research of the different time periods depicted in the film. “I really wanted to separate the difference between an early ’30s to mid ’30s suit, a late ’30s suit and every aspect of the clothing to really understand where the film stands,” he says. speak. “Because when we look back now, you can mix many periods together. It becomes difficult. But I want to be really precise. ”
He initially looked into rental properties in Los Angeles, but “Nightmare Alley” period-appropriate homes were perfectly suited for other movies in production. “Our initial goal was to head to Europe,” he said, adding that he eventually traveled to Italy, Spain, Paris and London to look for samples, buy jewelry. health and visit flea markets and second-hand markets. “I like to put together the beautiful things that I want to see in the movie, whether it’s jewelry or fabric to make a suit. And that really gives the look [of the film]. ”
Sequeira noted that the film was challenging in that it had two distinct filming environments: the seed festival world and the highly social performance world of Chicago. “The world of festivals has really gone back to the post-depression era. These are areas where people don’t have a lot of money, and therefore not the latest fashion and their clothes are old,” he said. “And then in the city, even though it’s been two years since then, the city has started to get into fashion trends for 1941. And that again is really studying what ’41 is – not that it’s not. ’45, not 1938 – but what really was at the peak in 41,” he added. “Because we have characters that have money and have their own style.”
Most of the costumes in the film are made-to-order, and weather-modified to reflect the vintage and old-fashioned feel for the carnival scenes. Sequeira and his team made all the leather, cut fabric, hat and shoes. “If it looks old, it’s old,” he said. The costume crew contrasted the old, carnival look with plush fabrics – velvet, satin and silk – for the city scenes in the second half of the film.
He also uses costumes to accentuate the nuances of the characters’ relationships. The main character, Stanton (Cooper), arrives in the city with love and his assistant, leaving behind his carnival life entirely – reflected in his new wardrobe of fitted suits. , refer to New Look. In contrast, Molly (played by Mara) maintains a bridge between the two worlds and continues to wear the same old clothes – cardigans, skirts – from her time at the carnival. Her new performer look, chosen by Stanton, highlights his manipulation of her new life in the city.
Other notable female characters in the film include carnival enigma Zeena (Colette) and charming and calculating Chicago psychologist Lilith (Blanchett). Sequeira reflects each character through deliberate silhouette and color choices – red for Molly, green for Zeena and cool tones for Lilith. “Everybody is a powerful woman in their own way. Finally, Molly has finally found her strength. The character Zeena has had her heyday in the past, and so there’s a sense of some strong work from the 20s that I’ve used to evoke the high society era in the past. past,” said Sequeira. “Then with [Lilith], which is the female lead. I really wanted to choose fabrics that gave us a film feel with some sheen and texture. ”
While the range of characters and setting is the film’s challenge, it is ultimately the reward.
“The great thing about this movie is the spectrum,” says Sequeira, calling out some of the movie’s favorite outfits: Zeena’s carnival costume, Molly’s moth dance, off-the-shoulder dress role for Lilith. “When one is designing and possibly transitioning from an old, shoddy performance outfit to a haute couture, couture suit, each of which brings in different elements. to call it ‘favorite’.”
https://wwd.com/eye/people/nightmare-alley-film-costume-designer-luis-sequeira-1235018362/ ‘Nightmare Alley’ Costume Designer Luis Sequeira Talks New Film – WWD