When you see Maleficent you will leave the cinema thinking about Angelina Jolie’s amazing cheekbones, the sweetness of Elle Fanning as Aurora, and the incredible costumes designed by Anna B. Sheppard, who is known for her work on ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘The Pianist,’ both of which earned her Oscar nominations.
I got the chance to chat with Anna B. Sheppard about the costumes, working with Angelina, and the difficulties of designing for an action movie like Maleficent.
Maleficent is one of the most iconic villains in cinematic history – what was it like to take on this project?
Daunting!!! We started the prep for this film 10 weeks before the first day of the shoot and I met Angelina like 8 weeks before and we started from scratch. Everyone expected one costume because everyone remembers the animated character, and we created eight. It was blood, sweat and tears, and I had a lot of help from Team Maleficent – I had my assistant costume designer Jane Clive, and lots of young designers who experimented with our costumes – like with the millinery, the shoes, with our leather elements – they helped me a lot.
The original really stays in your memory, everyone as a child has seen Sleeping Beauty and everyone remembers Maleficent, so that was the challenge of this movie to bring this animated version to life and to keep the magic in the costumes.
What was it like working with Angelina Jolie on the Maleficent costumes?
A bad person never looked so beautiful – she looks absolutely amazing. Angelina really did give herself to this character and think people don’t realise that she is more than just being beautiful, she is also incredibly intelligent. She was 150 percent involved in the creation of the designs.
Were there any challenges involved in Maleficent’s signature costume?
It is practically creating the identical silhouette from the animated movie but the technical details were more difficult because I wanted a more sculptured silhouette, but still very slim. It is like a dress with bat-wings attached with a long train, which needed to be weighted down to make the costume behave like it should. It was made from metres of pleated black fabric and it took weeks to make – day and night. But the results were worth it.
As well as Maleficent there are a host of fabulous costumes for Aurora and Diaval – how did you perfect their look?
With Elle and Aurora, they were very innocent costumes, Aurora is the girl who lives in the forest surrounded by funny fairies, and I thought about her lines with her long hair and it made me think of Ophelia. That was my inspiration to create something like light almost; it needed to be such a contrast to Maleficent’s costume.
For Diaval, I wanted him to look like a rock star. Because Raven is black so his clothes should be black, in the first concept he was supposed to be covered in feathers, but of course that didn’t work, so we didn’t have much time to dress he so we went for a cross between a pirate and a rock star – with high boots, leather trousers, frock coat, and an open black shirt.
Is there a particular sequence that you feel the costumes really shine through?
I think the christening scene is quite impressive, I love that and a lot of work went into it because we had to create the whole ‘court’ of King Stefan and the different types of costumes is great to see.
Were there any challenges making the costumes work for the action scenes?
The last costume, the all-in-one leather costume for the fight, we had to make 25 for that sequence as they were exposed to fires, so they also needed to be fireproof. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the beauty of the costume for the practicality of an action movie.
[Pics: Courtesy of Disney & Anna’s taken by me, Fashionista Barbie]
**Post in collaboration with Disney for the Maleficent hub – for more on the hub visit – maleficentmovie.tumblr.com**