Photo Credit: Annapurna Pictures

Photo Credit: Annapurna Pictures

Photo Credit: Annapurna Pictures

Photo Credit: Annapurna Pictures

Photo Credit: Annapurna Pictures

Destroyer

Jan. 10th, 2019

Anna Wyckoff

The stunning transformation of Nicole Kidman into the battered, alcoholic LAPD detective Erin Bell in Karyn Kusama’s gritty noir film Destroyer was a daunting proposal for Costume Designer Audrey Fisher. “As we always do, I started with the words on the page. This character was clearly a broken person,” she explains. “When I heard that Nicole was cast, I thought, ‘Well, how am I going to do that?'”

Pulling off that transformation was a collaboration with Kidman. Fisher found Kidman’s commitment to her craft to be profound. Director Karyn Kusama’s comprehensive understanding of the character supported their efforts. “What was important to Karyn was that clothes are just a necessity. Erin puts on pieces to go out into the world and that’s about it. She often passes out in bed and in the morning she takes off the T-shirt she has on and puts on the one that’s closest to the bed.” Fisher designed a signature article of clothing, a leather jacket, and was completely gratified by how well it encapsulated the character. “I feel like the jacket became her carapace. When she put it on she became Erin, and that was exactly what I had intended for that piece, so that was really satisfying.”

This fealty to reality also permeated the cast. Fisher found working with Tatiana Maslany, who plays Erin’s former friend and gang moll Petra, particularly rewarding. Rounding out Petra’s look meant giving her items which represented a decades-long backstory from her affluent childhood in San Diego followed by a slide into criminal drug culture. Fisher enthuses, “Tatiana really wanted to lean into whatever would enable that person to come out. It’s thrilling to have this simpatico vibe in the fitting room.” Fisher rode the line between fallen princess and meth addict in her costumes, using the color pink contrasted by strategic aging with dirt and stains.

Creating costumes that melt into the drama has a bittersweet element for Fisher. “The biggest compliment is that no one really sees the clothes because they’re just supposed to feel real. I’m sure we all have that, right?” she explains. “But that’s the genius of designing modern costumes— when made perfectly and seamlessly, they seem 100 percent real.”

Destroyer from Annapurna Pictures is in theatres now.

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