16.1 C
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
HomeEntertainmentHow the 'What We Do in the Shadows' costume designer created two...

How the ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ costume designer created two amazing dresses for Nadja and her doll


Emmy-winning costume designer Laura Montgomery won gold last year for FX/Hulu’s third season What we do in the shadows, and had a field day creating looks for the fourth iteration of comedy’s goofy, vampiric world. In a season full of impressive looks, one of Montgomery’s biggest concerns was deciding which one to go for THR. Here she breaks down the process behind creating an outfit for Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) in the season four premiere, which also happens to be an ensemble worn by her corresponding creepy doll self.

What we do in the shadows

Thanks to FX

1. The initial spark of inspiration for Montgomery comes from the script. “What it said on the page was that she came back because she spent the summer in London,” says Montgomery. Working on the English theme: “I was thinking of certain conventions with Victorian travel clothes. The hemlines are a bit shorter, just for practical purposes – in Victorian times people had a whole closet of these special outfits for travelling. These were originally a bit more durable, more comfortable and looser around the waist, which we obviously didn’t do here.”

2. “I struggled for a while translating the ‘I’ve been to London’ part beyond wearing a touristy T-shirt or wearing a Union Jack,” Montgomery recalls. “I looked at the (Alexander) McQueen Wild beauty book a lot and think about which designers or prints illustrate the UK.” That led her to take inspiration from McQueen’s 1995 “Highland Rape” collection when selecting this tartan print.

3. When constructing the shape of the dress: “I also looked at Vivienne Westwood,” says Montgomery, “and she has this beautiful V-neckline. So it was a bit of a pastiche of shapes from British designers.”

4. Montgomery wanted to create a dramatic moment for Nadja’s return and design a look that would work well when her character falls through floorboards into water at some point in the episode. “That was a consideration when designing this skirt,” says Montgomery. “I wanted it to bubble out like a jellyfish. I wanted it to look nice on the water.”

Natasia Demetriou as Nadja in WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

Natasia Demetriou as Nadja in What we do in the shadows.

Russ Martin: FX

5. The human look always trumps the doll look, says Montgomery, who notes, “We reverse engineer and scale the doll based on what we designed for humans, which can mean little things. If there is a button, the button is a different size, and with the print I realized that the scale of the print is different for this dress.”

6. Matching the flamboyant drama of Nadja and the world of What we do in the shadowsMontgomery looked for ways to give both her and her doll counterpart a regal flair: “The sash was an extra nod to royalty or a coronation,” she says.

7. While the props department handled the procurement of the umbrellas, Montgomery provided them with fabric to reupholster the umbrellas “to make it all cohesive,” she explains, instructing the props team to “put the fabric of the dress on the umbrella to make it all look like it’s meant to be together.

8. The trickiest part of putting this look together was arranging the fabric so that the lines of the tartan lined up and crossed properly, notes Montgomery. “It was a lot of pattern matching and figuring out the direction of the stripes and matching the prints. Fabric has a certain direction. We have lines that are going to flatter her body. I really wanted to make them as much chevron as possible (a sewing term for when diagonal lines meet at an oblique point).

This story first appeared in a standalone August issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories