costume

A New Word

I’ve invented a new adjective. And I’m using it.

suttirat (soo’-tir-at) adj
1. Passionately concerned with details. I’m getting all suttirat about my photos.
2. Methodical in one’s approach. I need to be more suttirat in order to do it.
3. Generally just cool. That’s just so suttirat.

Suttirat Anne Larlarb is the Costume Designer on ‘Sunshine’. She’s in charge of everything that the actors wear- clothes, shoes, spacesuits, accessories, comms units.

Suttirat’s office walls are completely full of reference images- photos of astronauts, space suits from various eras, samurai warriors, club wear and bizarre dresses that even Isabella Blow would think were outrageous. There are even two pictures of lizards. Not sure what they are there for. She has several books filled with sketches of uniform, spacesuit and comms unit ideas, though my very favourite thing in one of her books is the flow chart showing what each character is wearing in every single scene. I want a large colour copy of it to frame and put on my wall. The writing is tiny and neat, and from far away it looks almost like a circuit board design. It’s beautiful.

ANewWord1

The comms units are a cool and geeky bit of kit. Suttirat got her inspiration for them from her Mac laptop, iPods and Army dog tags, which is evident when looking at them- two separate, but virtually identical sections with a ‘breathing’ blue light and rounded corners. They aren’t, however, just bits of plastic on string- they are actual, working communications units. The actors speak to each other through them instead of just ‘pretending’ or having someone just standing off-camera reading lines. For example in one scene, Mace in the Flight Deck might ask a question of Corazon in the Oxygen Garden. When they are filming in the Flight Deck and Chris Evans is on-camera, he asks his question then Michelle Yeoh, who may be sitting off-camera, will reply and her voice will come out of Chris’ comms unit. Though Suttirat designed them, they were made to work by the sound department.

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Suttirat had the characters’ uniforms made in a factory rather than have them made in-house. She wanted them to have an industrial feel to give the impression that they are space-agency-issued rather than film-costume-designer-designed. She said that there are little flaws in the stitching that she would have never done had they been made in-house, but, to her, the flaws give the uniforms a much more realistic look.

ANewWord3

The costume department is filled with racks of costumes. Each character has their own section which is divided into different stages of the film. As films are shot out of sequence, one needs to be fiercely organised in order to make sure the whole thing runs smoothly. Wanna know how just organised the costume department are? They sew little bits of embroidery floss into the different characters’ socks in order to tell them apart. They are *that* organised.

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I love that.