Trish Summerville Interview: ‘See’ costume designer
Trish Summerville looked six centuries into the past for inspiration and research when designing the original costumes for the new drama “See,” which is set six centuries into the future. She explains in her exclusive interview with Gold Derby about the Apple TV+ series starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard (watch the video above), “I took our time period now and went back 500 to 600 years to look at: How did we live then? What existed then? What forms and habits do we have from then till now that we’ve maintained? What are articles of clothing that we’ve kept? What are different crafts and trades that we’ve kept? So I just took that time frame and went back to what we would have had five hundred years ago and then just pushed that forward for us to make rhyme or reason out of it.”
The other twist of the post-apocalyptic premise is that humanity has been blind for six centuries by the time that the story of “See” begins, regressing to tribal culture. Summerville came “up with all these concepts of what could be around and still left in this world and what they could also make and what they would farm and what they would grow,” having to devise backstories for each material used in the wardrobe that would have been feasible with the limited resources available in the universe of the show. “The scripts were written to be for summer and as we went on, we ended up shooting in late fall through winter,” Summerville says about how she scrapped plans for “a lot of bare skin and nudity” in favor of “layering and wool” for the shoot on location near Vancouver, Canada.
Summerville is a two-time winner at the Costume Designers Guild Awards for her film work and will soon contend with “See” at the Emmys for Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes, having been nominated three years ago for the “Westworld” pilot. She intends to submit either the second or third episode, titled “Message in a Bottle” and “Fresh Blood” for consideration. She notes that the former features one of her favorite creations, an ornate piece worn by Sylvia Hoeks in the role of Queen Kane that is felted with silk cocoon casings. The latter episode introduces several tribes that are not seen again in the first season, so Summerville researched indigenous tribes from around the world, which led to “mind-blowing” discoveries. She explains, “We tried to give each tribe something interesting for what their habitat was and then that could transpire into their clothing or to what they adorn themselves with.”