LONDON — “Renée gave all my designs a life, it was fantastic, she gave them all a soul,” said Janey Temime, who created the costumes for BAFTA Award winner Renée Zellweger, the star of the Judy Garland biopic “Judy.”
“I’ve been working for so many years but my collaboration with her on that film was extraordinary,” added Temime during a panel before the awards hosted by Swarovski and BAFTA. Zellweger picked up the award for Leading Actress at the 2020 BAFTAs, which took place Sunday night at Royal Albert Hall.
Creating costumes that fit the film character — and the actress — was a challenge, Temime said.
“Renée has a different physique,” she said, nodding to Garland’s hunched posture. “She came for the first fitting and already started slouching, so we designed the dresses for that posture and every time she put a dress on I was thinking: ‘I hope she doesn’t straighten up and walk, because then the dress is gone.’ But she is such an incredible actress she always walked hunched over,” Temime said.
The designer also spoke about using costumes to help move the story along visually. She also made sure other characters were dressed more subtly, helping Zellweger to stand out.
“I also wanted to show two different personalities. One was the performer, because Judy had always been performing. Then I wanted to show her in her own life. She was completely lost — that we know — so I decided to dress her like the mom she wanted to be. I gave her trousers because she was also an American woman arriving in England,” Temime added.
In one of the scenes Zellweger-as-Garland sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and is wearing a black sleeveless dress. Costume designer Arianne Phillips, who also spoke on the panel, agreed with the “transformative” qualities of dress and said she often called costumes “beam me up suits.”
“They serve two roles, to create the character and to inform the story, but [the costumes] also act as a physical assist for actors who do work that way. If they do, it’s an opportunity for them to ‘beam them’ to that character,” she said.
Phillips was the costume designer for the film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which was nominated for 10 BAFTA awards. On Sunday night, Brad Pitt won Supporting Actor for the movie.
He was unable to attend the awards ceremony and his costar Margot Robbie picked up the award for him. She was dressed in a black Chanel gown that was a far cry from her Sixties dress in the movie, where she portrays the actress Sharon Tate, who was murdered by Charles Manson in 1969.
“Deborah Tate, Sharon’s sister, was a consultant on our film and at the same time, she was preparing — for the first time ever — an auction of some of Sharon’s personal items. I asked if I could borrow some of the jewelry; it was just costume jewelry, but the fact that it belonged to Sharon I thought would be a great touchstone for Margot. In every scene she’s wearing a ring or a pair of earrings that actually belonged to Sharon,” Phillips said.
She also created touchstones for Leonardo DiCaprio’s character and Pitt’s character, too. Pitt’s character Cliff Booth, is a stuntman and, for him, Phillips managed to find a vintage belt with a buckle that said Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures.
On dressing Pitt, Phillips said she started from the feet up. “I knew when I got the job, feet would be prominently featured, you see a lot of feet in the movie so that grounded me.”
“I started with the shoes to encapsulate these main characters and with Cliff, I had the idea of a soft shoe, a moccasin, instead of s–t-kicking big boots for a stuntman. The idea of a soft shoe is even more intimidating and interesting, and Quentin [Tarantino] liked it because the moccasins also hinted at Cliff being a bit more aware of what was happening in the culture in trends and fashion at the time,” Phillips said.