Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I haven't spent much of this summer online so I am checking in on some of my old favourites to catch up - Tom of Holland's recent posts are worth a look, I love these knitted darning samplers.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I spent some of today out at Pinewood with Charotte Owttrim from Creative Skillset.

Charlotte runs the Creative Skillset Trainee Placement Scheme which provides trainee placements for all departments of the film industry. Aimed at people who have gained a good level of experience but are finding it hard to get their foot in the door, Skillset offers more than a stepping stone.

Support is offered for roughly a year, the idea being that by the end of their year candidates will have gained the experience they need to fill any gaps in their CV's.  As well as this practical training, the scheme offers a solid introduction to the environment within which they can make contacts and establish themselves in their departments thus providing them with the foothold they need.

 Today we were meeting the prospective candidates for the current intake. Charlotte has a great feel for CV's, she has analysed hundreds, if not thousands of them and there wasn't a single person in the final edit who we felt couldn't cope with the job. To have got this far, passing her sharp instincts to reach the final interview was a great achievement for each of them, regardless of the final outcome of their interviews.

The nurturing environment of Skillset also offers a cushion to strong but ultimately unsuccessful candidates. This is a sort of holding pool where future trainees are put through the induction days along with successful candidates but encouraged to gain a little more experience before they take up their place. This pool is for people whose potential is apparent but whose experience isn't quite there yet.

I really liked this idea of a holding pool because one or two applicants weren't quite ready to work as full-time members of the department but they were inspiring and deserving of the opportunity. Every bit as focused as the successful applicants they simply need a little more time before they take up their spot. I hope stalling their places for a few months will boost their confidence and provide them the impetus they need to get that final edge onto their CV's.

Over the last three years I have worked on many films which have used Skillset Trainees and I keep going back for more. Charlotte's stringent processing means I am always confident whoever she sends will be a great addition to our team, I have kept in touch and we have continued to employ many of them. We have especially enjoyed seeing our trainees grow in confidence and ability, heading towards being the people who will employ and train the next generation.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I was interested to see this article at Flavorwire magazine - 'costume test photo's'.

Fitting photo's are a vital part of our process but it is unusual to see them published. There is a big element of trust involved in the rehearsal period, the photo's being quite intimate because the actors generally aren't wearing any make-up and the costumes usually have pins and visible markings for alterations and whatnot. 
They are most definitely not for sharing. 
Maybe there is a thirty year rule or something! 
Anyway, in these old studio photographs I particularly like the blackboards and the small details in the notes; the real names, costumer credits, black and white or colour tick-box options, the scenes for each costume all plotted in advance. They don't appear to be expecting much to happen organically throughout filming whereas I'm used to lots of costumes filtering onto the truck throughout the schedule and I am open to new ideas from cast throughout. Even when the costumes all have to be made it's not the norm to have them all ready before we shoot, the workroom will be busy making most of the way through.
They reek of a slower pace of life.

It's quite amazing to see technology change so fast. I used to be sent out to Snappy Snaps with a roll of film to get prints developed and then go to use a public phone box so I could let the designer know how long it was going to take.  Around that time I can remember saying to Phoebe de Gaye that one day I would be able to sample for her and send pictures from my mobile phone back to her in the office, saving me the journey from the West End to Angels so she could make a decision and then for me to go back to town to buy the items. It seemed like a sci-fi vision at the time and, believe me, it wasn't very long ago.



Monday, 30 June 2014

An Amazing Photogrpahic Discovery - Spitalfields Life.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Tuesday, 17 June 2014


The John Paul Gaultier exhibition at The Barbican is excellent.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Natalie Ward sent me this saying how well it sums up being a Costume Designer!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

My last job was about the Suffragettes and in order to reproduce their sashes and medals we worked with Toye Kenning and Spencer, a company with a fascinating history which traces back to 1685.

These photo's are of our Votes for Women sashes, we also ordered medals which the women received from the WSPU after serving time in prison and hunger striking. Toye had made the original medals and were able to delve into their archive, incredibly finding the actual dies that had been made to cut the medals at the time, bringing an authenticity to our film which none of us had foreseen.

The ribbon was woven and the sashes embroidered to the most pleasingly high standards. When the delivery arrived on our costume truck and we finally handled the material that we had been looking at reference photographs of for months, we felt very much in touch with the women who had inspired our story

Freddie Toye, who helped us throughout the manufacture, kindly invited us to do a site visit to see the whole process and so I think a couple of us are going to do a field trip this summer - can't wait.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Fife Council have an archive of photographs of criminals arrested around 1910.
Betsy Gordon was wearing a pretty spectacular hat when she was arrested.
I love this image.