‘Penny Dreadful’ Costume Designer on Setting the Show’s Gothic Mood

Showtime supernatural saga “Penny Dreadful” kicked off season two on May 3, and continues to be a series that prizes design work. The key to the look of the show, set in 1890s London, is costumer designer Gabriella Pescucci, who’s worked with Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Martin Scorsese and Federico Fellini.

Shot at Ireland’s Ardmore Studios, the horror series introduces new characters, including a coven of witches, each with long, curly hair tumbling over Medieval-looking dresses heavy with embroidery and embellishments. “I was inspired by the store Liberty & Co. and the pre-Raphaelite painters,” says Pescucci, adding that she decided on a style different from that of the show’s other characters.

But the star of the series remains the tormented upper-class beauty Vanessa (Eva Green), whose somber clothes are given rich detail with jet beading and an abundance of lace. Pescucci explains that in season 2, Vanessa’s costumes evolved into more severely tailored ensembles as the character is constantly trying to gain control of the demons terrorizing her.

“The color palette is very important for me to communicate to the audience the mood of the characters,” she says.

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