×

‘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.

Popular on Variety

More Artisans

  • MCC theater presents 'Alice By Heart'

    Steven Sater On Adapting 'Alice By Heart' From a Musical to a Book

    When producers approached lyricist Steven Sater (“Spring Awakening”) to adapt Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” into a musical, his initial reaction was to recoil. His initial thought was that the book didn’t have a beginning, middle and an ending. But Sater pulled it off with his production of “Alice By Heart.” After an off-Broadway [...]

  • Debbie Allen Gracie Awards

    Black History Month: Celebrating African American Choreographers and Dancers

    When you think of famous choreographers, one of the first people who probably comes to mind is Debbie Allen. Also a dancer, a director and an actress, she has done it all. Allen made her Broadway debut in “Purlie,” but gained recognition as Lydia Grant in both the TV and film versions of “Fame.” She [...]

  • The Call of the Wild

    'Call of the Wild' Composer on How Music Became Protagonist Dog's Voice

    Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild” ranks as one of the most famous books about a canine ever written. So director Chris Sanders knew that the composer of his film adaptation simply had to be a dog lover. Luckily, Sanders’ “How to Train Your Dragon” composer, John Powell, has two standard poodles. And when [...]

  • rest of us

    Aisling Chin-Yee on Her Directorial Feature Debut 'The Rest of Us'

    Aisling Chin-Yee had been working as a producer on documentaries and shorts for 15 years, telling stories that focused on women and marginalized groups, before taking the filmmaking reins herself. “That’s where my creative desires needed to be explored,” Chin-Yee said of her ambitions to write and direct more. Her big break behind the camera [...]

  • Shaun the sheep

    How '80s Sci-Fi Films Inspired 'Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon'

    Shaun, everyone’s favorite sheep, is back, and this time he’s facing aliens and robots in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.” Directors Will Becher and Richard Phelan teamed together on this film for their first full-length collaboration. While the two have been working at Aardman Studios, Phelan’s background was as a story artist and Becher’s [...]

  • Emma Movie 2020

    Opulence and Frugality Inform the Look of the Latest Take on Jane Austen's 'Emma'

    Jane Austen’s “Emma” is a world of elegance and refinement; its story centers on class distinction and the power of vanity, and how those cause tension between friends and lovers. The challenge for costumer Alexandra Byrne and production designer Kave Quinn to help director Autumn de Wilde deliver her vision of the classic, which hits [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content