The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition always draws a range of emotions from our visitors - after all, seeing the costumes you adored onscreen in person can be an overwhelming experience. However, there's one film this year that was consistently met with awe: the exquisitely sinister costumes from Crimson Peak. Today on the blog, we are delighted to explore the story of these costumes courtesy of designer Kate Hawley, who generously shared pictures of her workroom, sketches, and mood boards that inspired the film's otherworldy aesthetic.
Crimson Peak is the brain child of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, known for other macabre fantasies such as Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy franchise. Hawley worked with del Toro previously on Pacific Rim, and the two shared a vision for creating the haunted world of Crimson Peak - a project Hawley compared to an opera in the way the dramatic costumes brought each character to life throughout the film. The costume designer made the mood boards shared in this post after reading the script; they were her exploration of plot themes, and she used them as visual storyboards to represent character arcs. Even in the workroom, the team maintained an inspiration board with images and costume trim.
The movie, set in the late 19th century, focuses on two worlds: the bustling city of Buffalo, where young Edith Cushing meets her future husband Thomas Sharpe, and gloomy Allerdale Hall, the English estate owned by Sharpe and his sister Lucille. Hawley emphasized warm, bright colors representing life and growth for Edith's innocent character. The gold ensemble with enormous sleeves in our exhibition is seen in construction below - all the costumes were painstakingly handmade by Hawley's team (and remember that films require multiples of everything!).