“The Glass Castle”

August 25, 2017

Anna Wyckoff

For a Costume Designer researching an autobiographic film, there’s nothing quite like rummaging through the real world closet of the principal character. While interviewing author Jeanette Walls for the Lionsgate’s adaptation of The Glass Castle, Mirren Gordon-Crozier was able to do just that. Walls shared a closet full of clothes from the past, which Gordon-Crozier used as a touchstone for her looks for Brie Larson. For authenticity, she selected two actual garments to mix in with the film costumes.

The story of a young girl growing up in an impoverished, eccentric, dysfunctional family presented particular challenges. With three sets of actors per character, Gordon-Crozier needed to define each one individually, while portraying the characters’ evolution to create a sense of continuity throughout the movie.

“We put Jeanette mostly in skirts with sweaters, making sure that all of the colors reflected the mood of the film,” she explains. Gordon-Crozier wanted the costumes to evoke the time periods, which ranged from the 60s through the 80s with out being jarring or seem false. To achieve this feeling, she muted her color palette to reflect not just the era, but the development of the characters as they move around the country. “We decided for all the 60s and 70s that we would use Kodachrome colors. When Jeanette arrives in New York City as an adult, we see her only in cream and white because as a child she was never able to wear clean, white clothes.” This color shift influences all the characters, and the hues become more monochromatic and serious as the story develops.

Having previously worked with director Destin Daniel Cretton made for a strong, detail-oriented creative process. “He cares so much about the character,” says Gordon-Crozier. This focus on character made for many discussions of the garments and how these characters were going to evolve and grow. “With him nothing is left unanalyzed,” she adds, “just as it should be.”

The Glass Castle is in theatres now.

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