“The Invisible Woman” costume designer Michael O’Connor laments the fact that his compatriot, production designer Maria Djurkovic, did not also receive an Oscar nomination for her work on the film. “They missed a chance,” he says. “The two go hand-in-hand.”
But Djurkovic wasn’t O’Connor’s only collaborator: In order to know how to dress Charles Dickens and his mistress, the designer went straight to the source, pulling ideas from Dickens’ works, a biography on the author and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London — which he toured with director-star Ralph Fiennes.
“He’d see something in there, like a waistcoat, and want that. I’d say, ‘It doesn’t exist – we have to make it, ” recalls O’Connor, who apparently was very convincing: He got his costumes budget increased.
Of course, having a costume movie veteran at his side probably didn’t hurt, either. Notes O’Connor, “Ralph is very familiar with period films.”