A new interview between Cate and Pete Hammond from Deadline has been released plus Nightmare Alley clips and featurettes. Costume designer, Luis Sequiera also talked about working with Cate in Nightmare Alley.
— Searchlight Pictures UK (@SearchlightUK) December 22, 2021
Costume designer Luis Sequeira speaks to L’OFFICIEL about outfitting Cate Blanchett
Guillermo del Toro’s new film, Nightmare Alley, sees Bradley Cooper as con man Stan Carlisle, who learns the tricks of faking clairvoyance at a rundown carnival. His ambitions take him and his girlfriend Molly, played by Rooney Mara, to the big city, where his drive for fame and fortune become entwined with the delusions of his act, leading to dangerous consequences. Cate Blanchett, Toni Colette, and Willem Dafoe round out the stellar cast.
Based on a William Lindsay Gresham novel from 1946 that was made into a film noir the following year, the dark story returns to the big screen in an adaptation that retains a vintage quality. This is largely thanks to costumes by Luis Sequeira, who reunites with del Toro following their Academy Award-winning work on 2017’s The Shape of Water, which snagged four Oscars, including Best Picture, and was nominated in nine other categories, including Best Costume Design.
L’O: The other character who perhaps has the most striking costumes is Dr. Lilith Ritter, played by Cate Blanchett. How closely did you work with Cate to create her wardrobe?
LS: I’ve collected a lot of references in hopes of doing a ’30s movie one day. So I had a pair of sketchbooks that I had collected some years ago and we looked through those. There are specific details to that two year period that we both felt was right for the character. I was also lucky to have her in Toronto filming Miss America and we were able to have a preliminary measurement-taking and create a block for her, which was quite instrumental. We created the suits, blouses, and dresses knowing exactly what the fit was, which you don’t often have. You get an actor a few weeks before they go to camera and you’re trying to get it all together very quickly. With this film, we had the luxury to have a bit of time to really refine those lines.
L’O: The fit really is impeccable, and it shows on-screen.
LS: Here’s the thing about Cate. She knows how to wear the clothing. It didn’t wear her, she wore it. And then she moved; I was quite taken in the fitting when she would kind of doing some movement to feel how the clothing felt in the way she would recline, or the way she would sit. And that would inform us about how tight we could go without being too tight or was there gonna be a problem when you foreshorten the front of your body when you sit, so that suit had to sit pretty in a very distinctive way to not buckle up. Those are all things that were really helpful from the standpoint of Cate and I working those things out in the fitting room.