While in Europe I stopped to meet a friend “Matthew John”, who is directing a Victorian Period Drama version of “Hedda Gabler”.
The project is an extremely low budget South West Based film, supported by arts benefactors such as George Furgeson (Tobacco Factory), Raij Sinclair (Property Developer), Margarita Hamilton (Walton Castle) and various local based businesses.
While in the UK I stopped by the Victorian Gothic Manor which they are using as a location and production office, to discover a mass of Victorian costumes being designed and constructed by a busy team of designers and seamstresses.
Due to the precarious/unknown future of the film the producers and directors were reluctant to let me cover the story, however I was not going to let this golden opportunity slip by, and with my instant charm managed to secure an interview and photos of some of the costumes.
As you can see by the photos in this article the costumes are amazing in every aspect - in design, fabric and colour. And these were the least grand of the collection.
I took some time to interview the director to find out some crucial information.
Celia: How much of a role do you have with the costume department, and if so where do you get your ideas and research?
Matthew John: I think, hope I am fairly involved with the design process. Before the design team was created I had sourced various ideas/inspirations from books, internet and other movies. I also found that the most useful avenues were paintings and photographs of various royal members of the Victorian era. The real designing and changing of designs came as a team effort. Not only with the costume designers, but also the fabric designer Kathryn Thompson.
Celia: How important are the costumes to the film?
Matthew John: Extremely. Couldn’t be more important. I wanted the production to be extremely lavish. Sometimes I can get a bit too lavish and the costume team need to reign me in, as the costumes need to be historically correct.
Celia: What have been the highs and low of the project?
Matthew John: Highs are definitely seeing the talent that goes into the project - we have a lot of recent graduates and young people on the project - and seeing the costumes come together. This Era had such amazing dresses with such rich, colourful and lavish designs. The fashion of the era was stunning.
The lows can be the restraints on budget. Yet we have been blessed in so many other ways. For if it wasn’t for the generous donations from The Silk Factory and other people, we wouldn’t have got this far.
After speaking to the director I took the time to speak to Amy Barrett, one of the costume designers of the project.
Celia: Which costume took the longest to complete? Did you have a costume that was more difficult to create than the others?
Amy: We have two evening dresses, which we call the statement dresses. One is yellow with lots of silk flowers cascading over it, and the other is a purple evening dress. The costumes not only need to be stunning, but also suit the two personalities wearing them. These took a long time due to the amount of detail, as we made each and every rose on the yellow dress. Sourcing the fabric is more difficult than you would imagine, as all our material should be historically correct and made from natural fibres, and finding cotton lace now-a-days is difficult and expensive, as it is now generally made from rayon or polyester. We have searched online, charity shops, France, London, high and low, every corner of the world. It is the sourcing of these additional trimmings that has been one of the more time consuming elements of the process.
Celia: What training, knowledge, skills do you need to be able to create historical period drama costumes?
Amy Barrett: I studied theatre design at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where I learnt most of my skills in costume design and making, however I have found that you continue to learn more through experience. The patterns, fashions and construction techniques vary greatly between different eras of costume history. Much of the design and creation process can be found heavily in the research process.
Hedda Gabler is considered one of the world’s greatest dramas. It has been filmed before, but this is the first time it has been shot in HD and with extremely high quality lavish elements which I have seen with my own eyes.
We hope you take the chance to check out the film's website at www.hedda-movie.com, where you can see other photos of the location and crew.
You can also find more info on the bespoke fabric designer Kathryn Thompson at www.thesilkfactory.co.uk
The film is still in pre-production and is continually raising money to help support the production, so I urge you to check it out...
Just saw Rock Of Ages, the Tom Cruise rock musical brought to screen from Broadway. It's awesome! and Tom Cruise did a really good job. We wanted take a minute to review this movie because it's been crapping at the box office and we think that's unfair.
Also the soundtrack is number one on itunes. That news was confusing to hear because even though I personally liked the movie I doubt I would go out and buy the soundtrack. There is afterall really good music to go out and buy these days. Have you heard Tijon recently? :
Or are people just hating on Tom Cruise for no reason?
Either way, go check out the movie it really is fun.
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