NICOLE COLLINS – Interview with the Costume Designer & Wardrobe Stylist

nicolecollins1
Image via: http://www.krop.com/nicole_collins/

 

1. WHAT MADE YOU STEER AWAY FROM CATWALK FASHION TO COSTUME DESIGNING, STYLING AND WARDROBE SOURCING?

I enjoy clothing and all processes related to it (designing, constructing, styling) but found after spending 3 years in the fashion industry that I wasn’t as suited to it as I had imagined. I got a small taste for costume while still working within bridal wear, and this seemed more natural. It was easy for me to transfer my skills over to costume, and it’s the sort of thing that can be picked up while working if you’ve already got some kind of foundation. I find costume to be more creative in the sense that you’re using you’re knowledge to help communicate a narrative, and there’s always a lot of research to be done into the characters, period, etc… prior to sourcing. You contribute in part to telling a story which requires many different people in different departments all doing what they do and working towards the same result, and work so closely with the actors and the director in an attempt to align everyone’s visions.​

2. HOW WAS IT WORKING ON THE VAN SHE FILM CLIP WITH KROZM, ANOTHER MELBOURNE CREATIVE? ​

Fun times were had by all. I was living with three friends at the time who were also heavily involved in either fashion or costume. The four of us, plus one other friend, made up the costume department. Because of the nature of the concept, this clip was very costume heavy, and it took the five of us at least two weeks of day and night sewing and sourcing to bring it all together. None of us were working out of a studio at the time, so our house was completely taken over by the whole process to the point where it was barely livable. Our lounge room looked like the aftermath of a bomb having exploded in Joseph’s technicolour plastic flower studded dream coat. Krozm conveniently had their office located about a block away and they would often come over to find us buried amongst costume scraps. I think we actually lost Stacy for a few days underneath a pile of styrofoam, but thankfully she was ok. Krozm’s office being so nearby made communication very easy, and allowed them to be quite involved in the process. This clip was definitely one of the most fun and creative projects I’ve worked on. I can’t believe some of the ideas that come out of their heads. It’s like someone has literally pressed record on a twisted acid induced dream, which makes for very interesting costume work. This clip was almost completely character based, there were close to 20 in the end, and Krozm actually made it quite easy for us in the sense that they had a fairly concrete vision for the clip, and the character designs were so well thought through. They came to us with tiny little scribbled (but very descriptive) pencil drawings, and all we really needed to do was make these into things that people could wear.

3. WHAT FASCINATES YOU ABOUT CLOTHING AND THE WAY IT CAN TELL A STORY?

​Clothing tells a story in two ways:

1. It gives information about the wearer. Although I know that many people will instantly disagree, you can make a lot of very accurate assumptions by looking at the way people style themselves. A person will always make a decision (whether conscious or not) on what they buy and wear, and how they wear it. Whether they are slavishly devoted to wearing fashion trends despite the fact that they may look ridiculous because they have chosen to ignore the fact that this clothing doesn’t suit their age/body/colouring etc…, or whether they will only dress in head to toe clearly branded clothing as a way of asserting a high financial status (although sometimes this is an indication of the opposite!). You can also pick up on social clues even smaller than this. For example, I was working on a short film in Brunswick the other day and we were shooting a scene involving two junkies. Ironically, a real junkie came over to us and asked some questions about the Film. One of the crew noted that despite the fact that his clothes were old, dirty and torn, he had tucked his tee shirt into his elastic cotton pants as a way to make himself look more formal and presentable.

2. It’s always fun to hear about specific items of clothing that people have kept, and how these garments have been somehow involved in or relate to certain events or times in people’s lives, in the same way a specific song or a smell does. Like when someone shows you a rip in their jeans and then explains that it happened after they snuck into a music festival in 2001, and then got chased by the security guards and snagged it jumping over the fence. One of my friends had a glow in the dark astronomy tee shirt that he wore almost everyday traveling around Europe for three months, and by the end, not only did it look like a poor excuse for a piece of clothing but you could barely even use if for a rag. He then resurrected it by ordering about 5 more identical tee shirts so at least it lives on in memory.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEDIUM FOR DISPLAYING COSTUMES?

​Definitely music videos, although they generally have a lower budget than film or advertisements, they are usually more interesting and creative, and often involve more sewing and making things from scratch rather than just sourcing clothing to make a person look like a certain type of person.

5. ARE THERE MANY PLACES IN MELBOURNE THAT YOU SOURCE PIECES FROM?

Obviously it depends on what is required for specific projects, but Savers recycle superstores are a gold mine for sourcing. The best one is probably Greensborough, as a general rule the further away from the city you go the less picked over they are, and the more likely you are to find what you need. Warwick’s in Malvern East is great for military uniform and weapon hire.

6. WHAT’S NEXT ON YOUR LIST OF COOL PROJECTS?

I’ve just finished working on a fantastic short film called ‘Punch Drunk’, the brainchild of director Sam Wark, we only finished shooting a couple of days ago so this will now go straight into post production. Some very long days and nights but well worth it! We had a really good crew and everyone put in an amazing amount of time and energy. I’m now going straight into pre production for another short, a period piece set in rural Australia during the 1860’s, and will be shooting a pilot about tradies this week, so lots of blundstone boots, spanners and dirty men.

nicolecollins2
Image via: http://www.krop.com/nicole_collins/

 

QUICK RANDOM ONES

BEST COSTUME IN A MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN?

The costumes designed for Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age by Alexadra Byrne. Particularly the off white gown with large shoulder ruffs and elaborate chiffon attachments at the back

ONE PERSON IN THE WORLD YOU WOULD LOVE TO DRESS?

Upon the invention of time travel, Cleopatra VII.

FAVORITE OUTDOOR SPACE IN MELBOURNE?

The lookout from the Dandenong Ranges, about an hour drive out of Melbourne and you can see the entire city from there.

BEST DRINKING SPOT IN MELBOURNE??

Von Haus off Bourke St, or my friend’s place in Fitzroy (there is still physical evidence there from many a party thrown, with denim stains on the white walls from people being packed like sardines on the dance floor/loungeroom, and dirty handprints on the ceiling… don’t even ask).

FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME?

No way I can answer, that question is just not fair…

 **THIS INTERVIEW CAN ALSO BE VIEWED VIA THE MFD SITE – http://www.mfdirectory.com/interviews.
THANKS TO ANGELIQUE MAX, EDITOR OF MFD, FOR ARRANGING THE INTERVIEW.
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