Christopher Hargadon interview: ‘The Umbrella Academy’ costume designer
“I found the Handler to be really a costume designer’s dream because I was really allowed full rein as I have rarely experienced in the past. I was allowed to do exactly what I wanted with her,” says “The Umbrella Academy” costume designer Christopher Hargadon about his Emmy-nominated work on the Netflix series. “She’s a time-traveling, psychopathic fashionista.” We talked to Hargadon as part of our “Meet the BTL Experts” panel of Emmy-nominated costume designers. Watch our interview above.
“The Umbrella Academy” follows the adventures of a dysfunctional family of superheroes who in season two found themselves stranded in 1960s Dallas in the years leading up to the John F. Kennedy assassination. Hargadon is nominated for Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes for the second episode of the season, “The Frankel Footage,” as the family begins to reunite. But as Hargadon points out, the episode is also distinguished by the Handler (Kate Walsh), the sinister head of the Commission that oversees the space-time continuum.
“Collaborating with Kate Walsh was a huge treat because she’s very much into clothes,” Hargadon explains. “She loves fashion, she loves period fashion, and she’ll do anything for the costumes to look right … and that particular episode in regards to this character really showcased one of her outfits” with its grand black coat, “massive hat,” and striking red suit. “It’s so rare the we as costume designers get that opportunity to actually have every angle of a costume seen, and I thought it was really a gift to me and to Kate as well.”
The series is based on the comic books of the same name, and “I honestly hadn’t heard of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ before I was called about it, but as soon as I bought the graphic novels and looked at them, just the incredibly amazing illustrations by Gabriel Ba and the whole kind of wacky storytelling from Gerard Way, the combination of the two really inspired me.” Emmy voters were clearly inspired as well.