“It was a much more interesting challenge, perhaps more than another movie,” says Odile Dicks-Mireaux of her work on “Last Night in Soho.” The award-winning costume designer was tasked with creating the wardrobe for a character who is a budding fashion designer in Edgar Wright’s latest film. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
In the Focus Features film, Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is a brilliant designer who has recently been accepted at a prestigious fashion institute in London. The first shot of the character establishes her as a creative force, as she wears a gown made entirely out of newspaper, which she has made herself. “I followed the idea that she was fascinated with the Audrey Hepburn kind of look of the time,” reveals Dicks-Mireaux. Unlike most young women her age, Eloise is inspired by the creative energy of the 1960’s.
When Eliose experiences visions from that bygone era, she becomes obsessed with Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), who guides her through Soho’s past. Eloise then creates a pink dress that becomes a major visual focal point of the film, something Dicks-Mireaux admits intimidated her during her first interview for the job. “It had to inspire Eloise to create a whole fashion show,” the designer explains, “There’s this fashion show which has to be kind of exceptional and we all think she’s made it.” Then she adds with a laugh: “I was a little bit worried about that. I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve never designed a fashion show!’”
Ultimately, Dicks-Mireaux chose a tent shape for the dress and matched it with a chiffon fabric. It’s a design that could play well with the film’s lighting scheme and move well on the character. She notes that Taylor-Joy enjoyed using the flowing chiffon in her scenes. “I normally would approach things visually first,” explains the designer, “then I would think about the character.” So the shape of the dress is purposefully based on something that could have been constructed using paper patterns. It’s a common clothing construction technique of the era which Eloise would have had access to. Mixing specifics of an era with character-based decisions is important for Dicks-Mireaux. “You try and get under the skin of the period,” explains the designer, “and you try to feel it as a human being.”
Dicks-Mireaux won an Emmy for the miniseries “The Lost Prince.” She has an additional nomination for “Chernobyl.” She won a BAFTA Award for the 1999 TV Movie adaptation of “Great Expectations,” and has additional BAFTA nominations for “The Woman in White,” “Gormenghast,” “An Education,” “The Hollow Crown,” and “Brooklyn.”
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