Signe Sejlund interview: ‘The Undoing’ costume designer
If there’s a lasting image from HBO’s “The Undoing,” the twisty murder mystery that won over viewers and critics last summer, it’s Nicole Kidman wearing a green coat. But the long jacket that launched countless memes had some very innocent origins, costume designer Signe Sejlund explains in the Gold Derby Meet the Experts: Costume Designers panel.
“When I first read the script I knew Nicole was going to play the lead. She’s so tall and so magically so that was a big first step. Very quickly we decided her hair should be big and red and curly. There you have two major things. I am not afraid to be quite bold so she’s walking around New York constantly, so she needed coats,” Sejlund explains. “Because that’s what you wear when you’re in New York. So it became ‘The Coat Show.’”
In the show from writer David E. Kelley and filmmaker Susanne Bier, Kidman plays Grace, a rich Upper East Side psychiatrist whose life is undone after her husband (played by Hugh Grant) is accused of murder. Throughout “The Undoing,” which shot across winter, spring, and summer, Grace wears a variety of lengthy coats, part of an attempt on Sejlund’s part to infuse the series with a timeless fairy tale quality.
“With her hair and long coat, that’s almost a cape — something she can protect herself with, a shield to the world. It blends in with nature and New York but at the same time it sticks out,” she says.
Of the green coat, Sejlund says the color and furry texture made it feel a part of nature. But she doesn’t think fans would have latched on to her bold sartorial choices if it wasn’t for Kidman herself. “It wouldn’t have stood alone if the character and the story didn’t match,” she says.
Watch the full interview with Sejlund above.