Tremendous thanks to costume designer Sandy Powell for answering a few questions about her costume designs for Hugo. Powell also shared some of her costume sketches, which you'll see throughout this post. See a selection of Hugo costumes at the FIDM Museum through April 28, 2012.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Hugo takes place inside a 1930s Paris train station. The film tells the tale of Hugo, a young orphan who lives a hidden life inside the nooks and crannies of the bustling station. Though only a child, Hugo gradually unravels a mystery involving his father, a magnificent automation and a cinematic pioneer. Hugo is nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including a nomination for Best Costume Design.
An accomplished costume designer, Powell has costumed over 30 films and been awarded 3 Oscars. The FIDM Museum has exhibited many of Powell's costumes, including her costume designs for The Tempest (2010) and The Aviator (2004). In 2009, we exhibited costumes from The Young Victoria (2009), the film that earned Powell her most recent Academy Award for costume design.
The book was constantly referred to by everyone in every department on the film. Although I didn't ever copy anything exactly from the illustrations, they served as inspiration for the feeling and tone of the whole look and helped differentiate the characters.