The Costumes of Hannibal

I have always enjoyed helping an actor dig deeper into his character through their clothing. The group effort between all creative departments to achieve an aesthetic is always very satisfying to me. I really enjoyed conceptualizing the look of Hannibal with its creator and driving force, Bryan Fuller, and also collaborating with our initial director (for the pilot episode 101), David Slade.

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The Costume department is very integrated with Production Design and Cinematography, and of course there is always close collaboration with the director and the actors. And on this series, we are in constant communication with the Special Effects and Prosthetics departments, as well.

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Crafting the looks for the story, and not basing them verbatim on the films, was a lot of fun. Hannibal is a very character-driven show, so all the players are distinct and interesting to develop. After establishing the individual looks for our leads, our job is to dress them and refresh their wardrobe according to the requirements of each episodic script. Every new story line also introduces new characters - some will remain, and others will play only once.

Keeping every character distinct in their silhouette, texture and color palette becomes a challenge as the number of players increases, as well as finding sufficient multiples of a costumes for Special Effects (each take of blood spattering requires a fresh wardrobe change…).

And a particular challenge we have here in Toronto is weather. When shooting outdoors, or having the actors exposed to the elements, we would take each individual piece of clothing and line it with sheepskin (e.g., Hugh’s jacket), or provide the actors with body warmers or hot shots, in order to make it as comfortable as possible for the talent.

 This week’s blog is from Christopher Hargadon, Hannibal’s Costume Designer.

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    Brilliant suits on this show.
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