Saturday, 7 February 2015

One rented from Western Costume in Los Angeles, one rented from Angels the Costumiers in London... quite a coincidence.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Diana Foster at United American Costume Co. made me feel very welcome.
Their collection is steeped in the history of old western films and has a very personal, family feel. Loads of great items, some of which I hope to find time to share the details of on Instagram.

I wish we made westerns in Europe more often, I was surrounded by clothes I would love the opportunity to use. Who knows, maybe there will be a spaghetti western revival and we'll all be off to Spain.

Anyway ... these shoes ... I feel sure now that these are the bulldog toes I blogged about last year.?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Two costumes from Suffragette are on display at The Design Museum.
The exhibition, Women, Fashion Power, opens tomorrow.
I popped in earlier to finish dressing the stands and was pleased to see that our costumes are standing beside an authentic suffragette's bodice which belongs to Meg Andrews.
It's a dead good exhibition, well worth a visit.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Colourways in every direction and an archive of patterns which includes former presidents, members of the Rat Pack and any actor you care to mention.
I had two spearpoint collar shirts made to measure in four days.
A great LA experience, Anto has been in business since 1955.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Remix Shoes felt like a pilgrimage. Years of looking online and finally a visit. Good news - they are nearly ready to launch a buying website.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

I am in LA this week pulling stock for our current project which is set in New York in the thirties. Even with a small budget I knew I had to come here to spend some money on authentic American clothing.

I have had an exhausting, exhilarating, ambitious week.

Betsey Potter whom I met on a job last year has been showing me around, driving very fast indeed but I think that's her way, regardless of my crazy schedule.

First stop was MPCC, Motion Picture Costume Co. 
This costume house has a great collection within their Principal department.
Having recently purchased stock from another house called Repeat Performance which they have kept separate, they've effectively got two tiers of quality. The Principal collection is particularly well cared for, it contains all the small details and it's very fresh, remember these clothes are nigh on 100 years old.
Some of the hats are just brilliant. I will blog some shapes when we unpack in London next week.

In the evening I went to meet Bill and Jean Gold at Repeat Performance where they have kept a small collection which is for sale. They still buy, I imagine they can't stop as they are very passionate about their stock. We had a great chat about clothes, filming, friends in common, and I purchased some garments which will hopefully nail a couple of scenes for me. Bill and Jean's boutique collection was of particularly special quality.

Their online shop is here, worth a visit.

And on the way home we passed the Paramount arches. Doing a thirties film made this feel quite special, something I haven't really connected with before is the history of film making here in LA.
I am usually standing in the rain doing the gritty urban dramas.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I haven't spent much of this summer online so I am checking in on some of my old favourites to catch up - Tom of Holland's recent posts are worth a look, I love these knitted darning samplers.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I spent some of today out at Pinewood with Charotte Owttrim from Creative Skillset.

Charlotte runs the Creative Skillset Trainee Placement Scheme which provides trainee placements for all departments of the film industry. Aimed at people who have gained a good level of experience but are finding it hard to get their foot in the door, Skillset offers more than a stepping stone.

Support is offered for roughly a year, the idea being that by the end of their year candidates will have gained the experience they need to fill any gaps in their CV's.  As well as this practical training, the scheme offers a solid introduction to the environment within which they can make contacts and establish themselves in their departments thus providing them with the foothold they need.

 Today we were meeting the prospective candidates for the current intake. Charlotte has a great feel for CV's, she has analysed hundreds, if not thousands of them and there wasn't a single person in the final edit who we felt couldn't cope with the job. To have got this far, passing her sharp instincts to reach the final interview was a great achievement for each of them, regardless of the final outcome of their interviews.

The nurturing environment of Skillset also offers a cushion to strong but ultimately unsuccessful candidates. This is a sort of holding pool where future trainees are put through the induction days along with successful candidates but encouraged to gain a little more experience before they take up their place. This pool is for people whose potential is apparent but whose experience isn't quite there yet.

I really liked this idea of a holding pool because one or two applicants weren't quite ready to work as full-time members of the department but they were inspiring and deserving of the opportunity. Every bit as focused as the successful applicants they simply need a little more time before they take up their spot. I hope stalling their places for a few months will boost their confidence and provide them the impetus they need to get that final edge onto their CV's.

Over the last three years I have worked on many films which have used Skillset Trainees and I keep going back for more. Charlotte's stringent processing means I am always confident whoever she sends will be a great addition to our team, I have kept in touch and we have continued to employ many of them. We have especially enjoyed seeing our trainees grow in confidence and ability, heading towards being the people who will employ and train the next generation.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I was interested to see this article at Flavorwire magazine - 'costume test photo's'.

Fitting photo's are a vital part of our process but it is unusual to see them published. There is a big element of trust involved in the rehearsal period, the photo's being quite intimate because the actors generally aren't wearing any make-up and the costumes usually have pins and visible markings for alterations and whatnot. 
They are most definitely not for sharing. 
Maybe there is a thirty year rule or something! 
Anyway, in these old studio photographs I particularly like the blackboards and the small details in the notes; the real names, costumer credits, black and white or colour tick-box options, the scenes for each costume all plotted in advance. They don't appear to be expecting much to happen organically throughout filming whereas I'm used to lots of costumes filtering onto the truck throughout the schedule and I am open to new ideas from cast throughout. Even when the costumes all have to be made it's not the norm to have them all ready before we shoot, the workroom will be busy making most of the way through.
They reek of a slower pace of life.

It's quite amazing to see technology change so fast. I used to be sent out to Snappy Snaps with a roll of film to get prints developed and then go to use a public phone box so I could let the designer know how long it was going to take.  Around that time I can remember saying to Phoebe de Gaye that one day I would be able to sample for her and send pictures from my mobile phone back to her in the office, saving me the journey from the West End to Angels so she could make a decision and then for me to go back to town to buy the items. It seemed like a sci-fi vision at the time and, believe me, it wasn't very long ago.