Each year, the BAFTA TV Craft Awards recognize the behind-the-scenes production talent like writers, editors and costume designers behind the year’s hit shows. In an unprecedented era where the coronavirus pandemic has led to a global lockdown and the cancellation of events, the British Academy Television Craft Awards will go ahead on Friday as a digital-only ceremony, hosted by Stephen Mangan from a socially-distanced studio.
Ahead of the awards show, Variety talked to the nominated costume designers: Caroline McCall (BBC One’s “His Dark Materials”), Michele Clapton (Sky Atlantic/HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) and Odile Dicks-Mireaux (Sky Atlantic/HBO’s “Chernobyl”).
Below, they highlight key costumes from their nominated shows.
ON CREATING FACEMASKS
The first thing the producers and directors were worried about was the fact that actors had facemasks on and we can’t redo dialogue with facemasks on. One of the first things that came up was that it would be distracting for the actors, but it wasn’t in the end.
There’s a great little film in the Chernobyl museum in Kiev and there are some little bits on YouTube that helped inspire the design.
We ended up going to Kiev to look at a real mine. We looked for real ’80s-style Russian costumes and military uniforms, and we bought a lot on eBay. We ended up buying a lot of original uniforms because there was a lot of stock sitting around that you could buy in Poland. We also had to make some because when we washed some, they’d shrink.
With the new costumes, we had to age them. When we were shooting, the whole crew was covered in the black dust, so the actors got really dirty and so did the costumes. It was a huge undertaking. We did medical wear, and all of that had to be made. We also had to make all the costumes worn by the engineers — those we had to do multiples of — for the explosion.
With the helmets, they were slightly different from the hardhat that you’d find on building sites. There are some subtleties there.
On the bio-robot side, those were hard to do. That’s their attempt to protect themselves and I couldn’t use lead. I ended up using aluminum foil and glued them together and treated them so they would look like lead.
“His Dark Materials”
MRS. COULTER’S EVENING DRESS
I had this idea when we were dressing Mrs. Coulter that there weren’t many other women like her. These women needed to be reserved-looking, and have dresses falling below the knee. I wanted Mrs. Coulter to break the rules. When she goes to the Arctic Institute, she doesn’t wear a hat. She’s always breaking the rules.
I wanted her party dress to be provocative in a way. The Hollywood screen sirens have never gone out of fashion. People are always looking back to Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly. What struck me with Ruth (Wilson) and Mrs. Coulter was Hedy Lamarr. She was so smart and she had this incredible power and style. That dress is an homage to Lamarr. It has this peek-a-boo on the shoulders and this plunge in the front.
The palette for her in those first two episodes was blue and green. There’s a scene where Lyra and Mrs. Coulter are both in blue dresses, but at the opposite end of the spectrum, at the end of that scene, she’s in that Emerald Green dress.
“Game of Thrones”
DAENERYS’ FUR COAT
It’s cold, so furs were the natural direction available. We constructed it out of strips of fake fur leather and tape. It was mounted onto a canvas corset to support it. When she first wore this look I felt that there should be a definite shift in her look as she embarks on the mission of aiding Jon’s team, which is trapped north of the Wall. I think it was the first time that she had been to the aid of another individual, without personal gain, and she was putting herself at risk. I wanted her to appear like an angel of mercy. I think Dany liked to make dramatic gestures.
The shoulder shape was inspired by her brother’s costume. It also gave her a strong shape and emphasized her narrow waist so that the coat didn’t overwhelm her small frame yet still looked powerful.
In later versions, I added more red to them. This can be interpreted as more Targaryen, or as reflecting the blood of the many people killed in her search for power. Or both.
Tune in to the British Academy Television Craft Awards on Friday from 7 p.m. BST on the BAFTA YouTube channel and BAFTA’s Facebook page, and join the conversation on Twitter with #BAFTATV and #BAFTAWatchParty.