How the ‘Pistol’ Costume Designer Brought the World of Punk Back to Life

Really, the key thing which turned out to be quite scary was that Danny wanted to use real footage from that time. So then, of course, the costumes have to be exactly the same, so it works seamlessly. My first question was, “Do you know what footage we’re going to use, so we know which things we have to replicate?” And they said, “Well, we’re not entirely sure, it depends what we find. It could be anything!” I got all the visual references together, and then we tried to make a timeline of it, because you obviously have to show how everything changed during that period. We tried to find as much original stuff as we could, but most of it wasn’t built to last, unfortunately. Joe Corré [Westwood’s son] lent us some things, which was great. And we had Murray Blewett, who works for Vivienne Westwood, and has worked for her for a long time and has archived a lot of her clothes. He helped us a lot, and he really understands how she thinks. He could say, “Oh, no, she wouldn’t do that,” or “She would have used this textile,” and you can only get that knowledge from someone who’s felt the things in the first place. He was completely invaluable, really.

Vivienne’s clothes are so technically complex—were there any challenges for you in recreating them?

She did a lot of shirts that she painted on, and then she’d write things on them in bleach. Joe told us how she made them, and we had this fantastic man who used to help make them who came in and helped us reproduce them. But the challenge was that you can’t actually buy that kind of bleach now. [Laughs.] So we had to try so many different things. Finally, the only thing that would take the color out of the clothes in the right way was this black mold remover, because bleach isn’t as strong today as it was back then. There were lots of silly things like that.

Source: Vogue

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