Rudy Mance interview: ‘The Alienist: Angel of Darkness’ costume designer
Rudy Mance received an Emmy nomination in 2018 for designing the costumes for TNT’s “The Alienist” alongside Michael Kaplan, and now he’s the man in charge for the period drama‘s second season, “Angel of Darkness.” “I was very lucky to see Michael in his process firsthand and sort of work with him to develop this world, develop the characters and sort of carve it out together with him,” Mance reveals in Gold Derby’s exclusive TV Costume Designers Panel (watch above). “To get the chance to come back two years later and sort of have the foundation laid out for each of these characters and see and know where they came from, and then to put my own spin on it and push it forward two years, it was sort of a perfect storm.”
“The Alienist: Angel of Darkness” continues the story of psychiatrist Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl), journalist John Moore (Luke Evans) and detective Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning) as they solve grizzly crimes in 1890s New York. The new season aired eight episodes in the summer of 2020 to great fanfare, with much of the acclaim focusing on Mance’s eye-popping wardrobe choices for Fanning’s character.
“There was definitely a femininity to the character that we established in the first season, and so I wanted to keep that femininity,” he explains about Sara’s overall look. “I also think she was very practical in the first season but I wanted to push that a little bit further, especially being she created her own detective agency.” “The Alienist” author Caleb Carr loosely based the popular character on Isabella Goodwin, the first women detective in New York.
Mance continues on, “At that time women were of course all corseted and wore a lot of walking suits, but always dresses and skirts. So I made the decision to put her in pants, some wide-legged culottes, which gave it a little bit of a modern edge, which I thought paired with her being such a modern woman at that time. I never wanted her to look out of place or have her silhouette look wrong when she was walking down the street.” He’s proud of the fact that he brings “some modern flare and some fashion into it,” while still being “somewhat true to the period.”
Also in our exclusive video interview, Mance talks about the “challenge” of designing the costume party, the major differences between Laszlo Kreizler and John Moore’s wardrobes, and how he came up with the “rubberized” materials worn by young scientists Marcus and Lucius.