Last weekend San Diego Comic-Con spotlighted women costume designers and the creations of more than a dozen women designers created for actresses for some of the decade’s biggest genre films. The Costume Designers Guild presented a panel Saturday featuring members Sanja Hays (costume designer, Captain Marvel, Star Trek: Beyond, Star Trek: Insurrection), Amanda Riley (costume designer, Supergirl, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Laura Jean Shannon (costume designer, Iron Man, Titans, Black Lightning, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) who provided highlights and anecdotes about their careers designing costumes for some of the most popular current and recent productions on television and in film. A big high point for attendees was Hayes, whose new Captain Marvel costume will be the next benchmark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to be worn next year by Brie Larson in Captain Marvel–the first Marvel film with a woman in the title role. Hayes commented that she found working on Marvel movies different from past projects in that many details of design and even minor changes require extra levels of approval from Marvel’s continuity side. Each of the designers stated they have arrived at a stage in their careers where they now have the power to cherry pick costumes to personally dive into from their projects and assign other production team members for the rest. They also stressed the value of having close-knit and exceptional artists on their teams that can work together to meet the requirements of production.
At the giant Marvel Studios area on the convention floor, attendees could get up close to several key screen-used superheroine costumes from the past ten years, from Anna B. Sheppard‘s World War II Agent Carter uniform worn by Hayley Atwell from the beginning of the franchise to Evangeline Lilly‘s armor from The Wasp from this summer’s Ant-Man and The Wasp, created by Louise Frogley. Eight other costumes bookended one side of the Marvel stage, including another four costumes opposite them in glass display cases–twelve heroines in all: Lupita Nyong’o‘s Nakia, Danai Gurira‘s Okoye, and Letitia Wright‘s Shuri costumes from Black Panther, created by Ruth E. Carter, Tessa Thompson‘s Valkyrie armor created by Mayes C. Rubeo for Thor: Ragnarok, Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow costume from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Zoe Saldana‘s Gamora costume, Karen Gillan‘s Nebula costume, and Pom Klementieff‘s Mantis costume from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, all created by Judianna Makovsky, Elizabeth Olsen‘s Scarlet Witch costume from Avengers: Age of Ultron, created by Alexandra Byrne, and Jaimie Alexander‘s Sif armor from Thor: The Dark World, created by Wendy Partridge.
A separate giant display elsewhere was created for Karl Urban‘s Skurge armor created by Mayes C. Rubio for Thor: Ragnarok. DC Entertainment displayed Leah Butler‘s Shazam! costumes for Asher Angel‘s Billy Batson and his superhero alter ego, played by Zachary Levi. And Lucasfilm presented David Crossman and Glyn Dillon‘s costumes from Solo: A Star Wars Story (a little more out of reach than the rest, posed high at the top of their exhibit), including screen-used costumes from Alden Ehrenreich‘s Han Solo, Joonas Soutomo‘s Chewbacca, Emilia Clarke‘s Qi’ra, Donald Glover‘s Lando, Erin Kellyman‘s Enfys Nest, and Paul Bettany‘s Dryden Vos. And it wasn’t just about costumes, as many displays included the corresponding screen-used prop weaponry for the character.
The following are photographs of all 22 costumes. The lighting and glass displays limited the clarity of some of the images, and the Star Wars display was too high for our equipment to get any detail. Yet some of the detail is better than you find in many behind the scenes books on the market today showing the costumes of DC, Marvel, or the Star Wars films–nothing beats seeing these close-up. Take a look:
In case you missed it, we published several images from the Star Trek Discovery costumes and props display offsite during Comic-Con last weekend here at borg.com.
The costume design panel was followed by the Production Designers Guild presentation of Scott Chambliss (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Tomorrowland), Howard Cummings (Westworld, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief), and Richard Bridgland (The Commuter, The Nice Guys), with moderator John Muto (Home Alone, Species). As was the theme of the costume design panel, the panelists agreed much of the work of this role is gathering and organizing an army of artists who must render a cohesive design for the big screen. Each of the panelists shared their own horror stories of the job. In answer to a question from the audience, Chambliss clarified that production designers never approach a project look with regard to whether it will ultimately be practically rendered or created with CGI. Cummings shared stories where he was tasked with creating elaborate fantasy designs and then was told he only had budget for one costume and a set he had to shoot at different angles to establish the feel of a much larger area. Working through the reality of budgets and deadlines seemed to be the common experience among each of the production designers.