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    What We Do in the Shadows Costume Designer on Nadja, Doll Looks – The Hollywood Reporter

    Emmy-winning costume designer Laura Montgomery took home gold last year for the third season of FX/Hulu’s What We Do in the Shadows, and had a field day creating looks for the fourth iteration of the comedy’s kooky, vampiric world. In a season packed with impressive looks, one of Montgomery’s main concerns was deciding which one to unpack for THR. Here, she breaks down the process behind creating an outfit for Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) in the season four premiere, which happens to also be an ensemble worn by her corresponding creepy doll-self.


    What We Do in the Shadows

    Courtesy of FX

    1.The first spark of inspiration for Montgomery comes from the script. “What was on the page was that she’s arrived back because she spent the summer in London,” Montgomery says. Working off the English theme, “I was thinking about certain conventions with Victorian traveling clothes. The hemlines are a little bit shorter, just for practicality purposes — in Victorian times people did have a whole closet of these special outfits for travel. These were originally a bit more durable, more comfortable, looser around the waist, which obviously we haven’t done here.”

    2. “I struggled for a while with how to translate the ‘I’ve been in London’ part of it, aside from a tourist T-shirt or wearing a Union Jack,” Montgomery recalls. “I looked at the [Alexander] McQueen Savage Beauty book a lot, thinking about what designers or prints exemplify the U.K.” That led her to draw inspiration from McQueen’s 1995 “Highland Rape” collection in selecting this tartan print.

    3. In constructing the shape of the dress, “I was looking at some Vivienne Westwood, as well,” Montgomery says, “and she has this beautiful V neckline. So it was a little bit of a pastiche of shapes from British designers.”

    4. Montgomery wanted to create a dramatic moment for Nadja’s return and design a look that would work well for when her character falls through floorboards into water at one point in the episode. “That was a consideration with the design of this skirt,” says Montgomery. “I wanted it to kind of bubble out like a jellyfish. I wanted it to look nice sitting on the water.”

    Natasia Demetriou as Nadja in WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

    Natasia Demetriou as Nadja in What We Do in the Shadows.

    Russ Martin: FX

    5. The human look always comes before the doll look, says Montgomery, who notes: “We reverse-engineer and scale the doll based on what we’ve designed for the human, which can mean little things. If there’s a button, the button’s a different size, and with the print, it was realizing the scale of the print is different for this dress.”

    6. In keeping with the flamboyant dramatics of Nadja and the world of What We Do in the Shadows, Montgomery looked for ways to give both her and her doll counterpart a queenly flair: “The sash was an added nod to royalty, or a coronation,” she says.

    7. While the props department handled the sourcing of the parasols, Montgomery provided them with fabric to reupholster the umbrellas “to make it all cohesive,” she explains, instructing the props team to “incorporate the dress fabric on the parasol so that it all looks like it’s meant to be together.”

    8. The trickiest part of bringing this look together was arranging the fabric so the lines of the tartan lined up and intersected with each other properly, Montgomery notes. “It was a lot of pattern matching and figuring out the direction of the stripes, and matching the prints. Fabric has a certain direction. We have lines that are going to flatter her body. I really wanted to chevron [a sewing term for when diagonal lines meet at an angled point] them as much as we could.”

    This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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