Edward K. Gibbon interview: ‘The Lost Daughter’ costume designer
“Maggie’s writing was really brilliant and concise,” declares costume designer Edward K. Gibbon, who first worked with Maggie Gyllenhaal in 2014 on “The Honourable Woman” and has re-teamed with the actor (and now writer/director) on her feature directorial debut “The Lost Daughter.” “It’s all about surfaces,” he explains when looking back at his brief for the film. “With Leda you see one surface and then you see beneath it as things go a little off kilter and the same with Nina; you see her at a distance that she is the hot girl on the beach and you know is fabulous, and then you get a little closer and things are a little bit less perfect.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“The Lost Daughter” stars Oscar and Emmy winner Olivia Colman as Leda, an academic on holiday in Greece. Her increasingly strained interactions with an obnoxious fellow holidaymakers and her obsession with Nina (Dakota Johnson), a younger woman holidaying with her infant daughter, lead to her confronting uncomfortable truths about her past experiences as a mother, which play out in flashbacks featuring Jessie Buckley as a younger Leda raising two daughters. The ensemble cast also features Ed Harris, Dagmara Domińczyk, Paul Mescal, Jack Farthing, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Peter Sarsgaard.
The film had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival last fall, where Gyllenhaal won the coveted Best Screenplay prize. It is currently in limited release in theaters before bowing on Netflix on December 31.
Gyllenhaal’s nuanced screenplay darts back and forth between the two timelines, offering telling glimpses into the guilt and shame burdening Leda. As described by Gibbon, as the film lingers on the surface, his task was to “create this very measured, controlled look, and then, when we contrast it with the flashbacks we see the slightly messy life of young Leda and that she can’t get it together, because things are too crazy,” he explains. “hat was the intention; to be neutral, not to say too much, but also to give that kind of elegance; she’s a woman who knew what to wear, or she was wearing clothes to appear that she knew what she was wearing.”
As we learn more about Leda’s past and as she starts to unravel, her look changes. “The color coming in was the freeing of herself in a way,” Gibbon reveals, adding that her clothing intentionally signifies for the audience that “she was almost letting herself go.”