Friday 18 August 2017

Meet the Kildare woman who helped to create the costumes in Beauty and the Beast

Image: TheCostumeDirectory/Instagram
Image: TheCostumeDirectory/Instagram
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

This is the Irish woman who is behind some of the breathtaking costumes in Beauty and the Beast.

Kildare native Sinead O'Sullivan worked as an assistant costume designer to Jacqueline Durran in a team of 100 people for the multi-million euro remake.

O'Sullivan, who's sister is comedian Aisling Bea, is passionate about ethical fashion and shared on Instagram how some of the most iconic costumes in the film were made.

"As a team, we tried to source ethical, fair-trade and sustainable fabrics wherever possible. For Belle's 'red cape look' in particular, we decided to challenge ourselves to see how difficult it would be to create a costume that was head to toe fair-trade, organic and sustainable, but which didn’t compromise Jacqueline's design. We contacted Eco Age, who provided us with a set of criteria which we could adhere to."

O'Sullivan detailed that the costume required 12 different fabrics, and each was certified organic and fair trade.

"Our dyeing team took on the challenge of using natural and low impact dyes, and printing with traditional wood blocks, which the set carpenters helped make in the construction department, from redundant bits of the set.

"Some of the fabrics and trims used were vintage, including the cape which was made from hand-woven Scottish Jacob’s wool, that was then over-dyed using madder. The fabric for the jacket was made using a hand-woven linen found on E-bay, which was actually a lady in Manchester’s school project from the 1960’s. The rest of the fabrics were sourced from fairtrade co-operatives in India and Nepal."

She also spoke about Belle's bodice, which was "beautifully hand embroidered by artisan brothers Kasam and Juma in Bhuj, Western India."

"They used a technique called 'Aari work' which is a very fine chain stitch traditional to the Kutch area of Gujarat. This style lent itself very nicely to this eighteenth century French floral design."

To take her dedication to ethical fashion even further, Sinead created The Costume Directory, a guide which provides designers with information about sustainability, environmental responsibility and fair trade.

Among Sinead's previous experience as a costume assistant is The Dark Knight Rises, Anna Karenina and Macbeth.

Online Editors

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