Fashion secrets from the most stylish TV show

2017-04-01 20:02

Cape Town - Richard Coyle, Tom Riley, Mamie Gummer and Frances de la Tour star in a gripping new family saga The Collection, an eight-part drama series set in a Parisian fashion house just after the Second World War.

The story centres on an illustrious Paris fashion house, emerging from the dark days of the Occupation, now ushering in a new golden age of design and business.  Centred on two very different brothers, this flagship drama exposes the grit behind the glamour and the treachery beneath the trappings of this empire, and all who work there.

The Collection debuts Sunday 2 April at 21:00 on BBC First (DStv 119)

Watch the trailer here:

The Parisian design duo, Chattoune and Fab, dish on the costumes of the stylish show. 

Creating the costumes

"There are many levels of costumes in this show. First, there is ‘the collection’ which we had to draw like we were fashion designers rather than costume designers and so the inspiration comes from putting ourselves back in time. The process for this began with iconography, which came in the form of over 2,000 documents that we took from a special library in Paris specifically for costume in film. We went through all of the documents of that specific year, 1948, and all of the fashion of that era. We’ve been looking at Dior and Balenciaga and the designers of the time even unknown ones through old Vogue magazines and other documentation we have from that period, "says Chattoune
She continues, 'then we had to digest all of the documentation we had collected and think specifically of the collection itself. The inspiration for it included things such as feathers, birds and even sailors, as it was based on lots of different things that came into the character of Claude Sabine’s life in the drama. We didn’t want to copy any designers, we wanted to have something original, correct period wise but still fresh and new. So we ensured the authenticity of the clothes through the shapes but also made sure it would look great cinematographically by using specific fabrics such as heavyset silks that stand out on camera."

Dressing the cast

‘Then, of course, we had to dress the whole cast. So it’s been a little complicated because we have been fashion designers, creating the House of Sabine’s ‘collection’ and also costume designers at the same time and it is not at all the same work. We custom made suits for Paul (Richard Coyle) and we made Claude’s (Tom Riley) leather biker jacket and trousers. The trousers are motorbike trousers too so he is dressed as a biker from the 1940’s. We also made costumes for main characters such as Helen Sabine (Mamie Gummer), Marjorie Sutter (Sarah Parish) and Nina (Jenna Thiam)… and more. We’ve done a lot!’

How many dresses and outfits?

‘We have made 30 dresses, which is a lot as it is an extremely long process for we have been making haute couture. We have made about 1200 outfits. Every outfit has four or five pieces as they each include accessories, hats, gloves, petticoats and bras etc. So you know, multiply that number again and again really and that’s roughly how many pieces we have made!

See pictures here:

(Photos: BBC)

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