How do movie makers research for costume design? The answer is to read as much history as possible. Film is a unique medium, and the actors’ emotions and bodily shape often change as a result of the period and setting. A movie costume designer must also be knowledgeable about the colors and lighting of the period to create a period-appropriate outfit. Movies are made by a large team of costume designers, and the designers often consult with a variety of people before designing their costumes.
Movie costume designers are famous for their meticulous research. In Bellissima (1951), they asked people to donate their old clothes, which they would later wear as costumes. In Casino (1995), Rita Ryack rummaged through the closets of Brooklyn gangsters. Other designers studied period paintings and African cloth, while Bhanu Athaiya researched the climate of Bhuj to create the perfect Indian costume for the title character.
To create a costume that looks good on screen, movie makers research the fashion history and style of the characters. Research includes historical fashion and colour details, as well as the construction methods of costumes from different periods. In some cases, movie makers consult with the performers to discuss costume ideas. To deliver the final designs, costume designers use sketches, fabric samples, and colour palettes to deliver the idea to the director. And of course, if budget and time permits, costume designers often consult with actors and other professionals involved in the production.