When it comes to costume design, there are different people who come together to make a costume. How do you work with other members of costume design to make a concept come to life?
On big projects you mostly work with illustrators because I am not a computer illustrator in that sense. I would say that I can do a rough sketch and say what fabric will go with it, and say this is how I want it to look and do more a technical sketch versus having this big, amazing frame that the Marvel visual team does, or how other illustrators do. They will illustrate it for me, but I will give them a lot of references or a rough sketch or both. So, if I work with someone, I give them what I want the costume to look like. If it is the top portion of this or the bottom portion of that and the fabric and texture I want, so they can incorporate it into the illustration.
You have a diverse background in costume design, ranging from realistic fashion to the superhero genre. Which one do you prefer working on and why?
I like to mix it up, so I never want it to be just one thing. I was doing Mare of Easttown before I did Moon Knight, so it was a big shock for people that I could go from doing something blue collar and aged looking to something that was so sci-fi. I think it is great to be able to do anything and not just being loop holed into one design. I always want to be learning and growing and I do a tremendous amount of research for all of my projects, so it is really nice to transition to each one.
When it came to your work on the Egyptian-themed Moon Knight, how did you conduct your research to create costumes that fans would remember?
That is exactly what happened. The research into Egyptian culture, ancient Egypt, what is happening in the comic, where the MCU is currently, and where they can be transitioning into. Because I didn’t know Egyptian culture, I was not educated on it in school and that is happening in a lot of topics for design. Costume Designers are working on that, where you might not have necessarily learned the subject in school, so you have to go back and do a lot of the research. New facts have come out and new information has come out that maybe you didn’t learn in that time,so I did a tremendous amount of research on ancient Egypt and current Egyptian culture. There were a couple of people in the project that where Egyptian who had lived in Egypt and the states, so I was learning from them on how they saw Egypt today. As far as Moon Knight, I wanted to have Egyptian culture, ancient Egyptian culture, but then also the comic books, so it was a blend of that.
How do you get costumes to be functional and realistic, especially for the ones presented in superhero shows?
All of the costumes that were Moon Knight, Mr. Knight, Scarlet Scarab, Ammit, and Khonshu were enhanced in CGI. Although Moon Knight and Mr. Knight were fully functioning, but the other were enhanced with CGI because of the animal aspects of the characters. It is very important to me after working on a number of these projects, that the suit is functioning. So, if anything, I want to make sure that the actor can move, the stunt person can move, they can act, and they are not restricted, and it is important for their character to do that. For Moon Knight, the stunt people tried on the costume way before Oscar (Issac) tried on the costume. I sent them to get fit in England and we were on lockdown and that was when London was in full lockdown, so they had to quarantine and sit in the hotels. And then when they went to FBFX, which is the company that built the costume, I made them move, kick, and do some of the action and some of the motions that they would do to make sure the suit was functional. That was really helpful because they were able to work out the adjustments or if the mask had to be tighter prior to Oscar trying it in on.
When you have a show or film based in the real world, how do you go about creating a character’s wardrobe? How can the viewers understand who each character is by their clothing choice?
When it comes to Steven and Mark from Moon Knight, I spoke at lengths with Oscar in regards to what he was thinking for the character, like where Steven lived, which was very important to the style of his character. He lives in a hipster Brooklyn-type area. And obviously Steven isn’t super cool, so he has to look cool enough to live in that neighborhood and play that part. I wanted to make sure that there were some interesting parts to that. I wanted there to be somewhat of a trend, like vintage shirts mixed with baggier pants since baggier pants are more on trend. I wanted to give him a little bit of those elements, but he can go to work and be functional. I like a lot of texture in costumes, so it was about mixing that up. For Mark, I knew that he was a special ops mercenary person, and speaking to some special ops people, they said you defiantly don’t want to wear black because black stands out. You want to wear navies and charcoal grays. In action films you want the main character to look so cool, but it was important to me to make sure Mark blended in and didn’t look so cool. It’s talking to people, researching the area, researching the job activity and what the person does, and then that transitions to this is functional for them and what style they can move into.