The Collection: dressing the cast

In advance of tomorrow night's premiere of The Collection on BBC First South Africa, an interesting new article has been shared online, discussing the costumes and designs for the show. Tom's costume for his character Claude is mentioned - dressed as a biker from the 40's. Read the article in full here. South African fans, watch The Collection on DSTV tomorrow night. 

Creating the costumes

"There are many levels of costumes in this show. First, there is ‘the collection’ which we had to draw like we were fashion designers rather than costume designers and so the inspiration comes from putting ourselves back in time. The process for this began with iconography, which came in the form of over 2,000 documents that we took from a special library in Paris specifically for costume in film. We went through all of the documents of that specific year, 1948, and all of the fashion of that era. We’ve been looking at Dior and Balenciaga and the designers of the time even unknown ones through old Vogue magazines and other documentation we have from that period, "says Chattoune

She continues, 'then we had to digest all of the documentation we had collected and think specifically of the collection itself. The inspiration for it included things such as feathers, birds and even sailors, as it was based on lots of different things that came into the character of Claude Sabine’s life in the drama. We didn’t want to copy any designers, we wanted to have something original, correct period wise but still fresh and new. So we ensured the authenticity of the clothes through the shapes but also made sure it would look great cinematographically by using specific fabrics such as heavyset silks that stand out on camera."

Dressing the cast

‘Then, of course, we had to dress the whole cast. So it’s been a little complicated because we have been fashion designers, creating the House of Sabine’s ‘collection’ and also costume designers at the same time and it is not at all the same work. We custom made suits for Paul (Richard Coyle) and we made Claude’s (Tom Riley) leather biker jacket and trousers. The trousers are motorbike trousers too so he is dressed as a biker from the 1940’s. We also made costumes for main characters such as Helen Sabine (Mamie Gummer), Marjorie Sutter (Sarah Parish) and Nina (Jenna Thiam)… and more. We’ve done a lot!’

How many dresses and outfits?

‘We have made 30 dresses, which is a lot as it is an extremely long process for we have been making haute couture. We have made about 1200 outfits. Every outfit has four or five pieces as they each include accessories, hats, gloves, petticoats and bras etc. So you know, multiply that number again and again really and that’s roughly how many pieces we have made!