Sometimes, your closet can reveal more about your personality than your first words do. When we first meet Toni in the new thriller “Devil’s Cove”, which is currently burning up film festivals, we can tell that there is more to her character than she is letting on.
Now being nicknamed “a modern day Bonnie and Clyde”, the fashion from this film is super accessible and easy to steal. I love that many of the pieces can be replicated with finds from your own closet. To get more insight on the thought process behind the film’s fashion, I spoke with costume designer Sabrina Forscutt.
C: How do you use the clothing to tell a story? What is the process like?
S: I don’t think of clothing as telling a story, I think of it as enhancing the story that is portrayed through the actors and their craft. But in that sense, fashion is a huge part of who we are as people. We use our clothes to tell the world about our personalities and our backgrounds. Being a costume designer, you have to get into the mind of the character you are dressing.
When I worked on “Devil’s Cove”, the main character is from a small town, from a low income, and just got out of jail; it wouldn’t have made sense to her character for her to wear $2,000 Louboutin heels. She is wearing leather and clothes that she has most likely had for a long time. The process of creating a character’s wardrobe is a collaborative effort with the whole production team. The screenwriter really creates the character and the costume designer helps bring it to life.
The first step is reading through a script and coming up with ideas, then there are tons of meetings with the production team to get a cohesive idea. Then depending on the budget and story line is where you shop or pull items from. On a TV show like Scandal, the costume designer can go to Studio Services at stores like Top Shop and Bloomingdales to buy clothes for the project. In comparison, on “Devil’s Cove”, I pulled a lot of items from the cast members’ closets, my personal closet and my stalk wardrobe, thrift shops, and cheap stores like Walmart and Target. After everything is created, I worked on set everyday making sure that the costumes fit properly and everything has continuity from scene to scene.
C: When you’re trying to come up with the perfect look, what are some of your influences?
S: The main influences when trying to come up with a look is putting myself in the shoes of the character and thinking about their lifestyle, interests, and body type. Once I have a picture of what the character is like on the inside, I create what the character will look like on the outside. Inspiration can really come from anywhere, but when I am really stuck, I look at other forms of art (and other TV and movies), search Pinterest, and really talk out my ideas with friends who are also in my field. I don’t have a set list of influences, but I truly believe that the world around us provides the best way for us to create and understand the characters we create.
C: Do the actors’ personalities ever inspire the looks you create or do you strictly go off of a set idea?
S: The actors’ personalities don’t always have an influence on their character, but often they do. They have to play the character based on themselves a little bit, so we also have to do that when we bring the character off the page. When I worked on “Devil’s Cove”, I thought of one of the characters, who was a musician, as more of a hipster but based on the actor and his personality and music he made, we shifted his look to a more American country feel.
C: What are some of your favorite looks?
S: If we are talking about of film history, that is exceptionally HARD! I love the TV show “The Bold Type” for its modern influence on fashion, especially on women’s work wear. My favorite movies of [late] are “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Great Gatsby” because the fashion is absolutely impeccable and you can tell [they] had a lot of thought and time put into [them]. While I think that most of the clothing pieces that the women on “Riverdale” wear to school are slightly unrealistic of a high school student, I LOVE the way all of their personalities are portrayed differently, but in a fashion forward way.
But I will say that the most fun I have creatively is every Halloween I create 12 looks for my blog and get to really express my costume designer side.
For “Devil’s Cove” I will say that creating the costumes for Toni was the most fun because she had a glamorous side when we first meet her and the bling is always fun.
C: What kind of pieces do you normally go for, high end or inexpensive pieces? How do you choose?
S: The price range always depends on the budget of the project. For myself, I go for the look I have in my head, and whatever the price is, if it works it works. But on most indie films, the budget is very small and you are often working with what is in all of the actors’ closets, what is in costume closets you can borrow from, and even pulling from my personal wardrobe.
On “Devil’s Cove”, I created almost all of the looks from the actors’ closets, in addition I bought a few items from stores like Target and Walmart. I 100% love going to the Thrift Shop and bargain stores because a good deal is always the best route, [especially] for something that is only going to be worn a couple of times for filming.
C: How do you come up with a color scheme for each character?
S: Oh goodness… I don’t know if I have ever really thought about this in terms of color scheme in the grand scheme of the looks I don’t pick a color scheme before some pieces. I know that when the scenes are dark and have heavy content I want the characters to be in darker colors and when the scene has jokes and a lighter touch I want the characters to be in color. I think this also goes for a character who while being in a very dramatic scene is supposed to bye the comic relief, I want to put them in a colorful palette. I also think that a characters color palette changes with their character [arc].