From Margot Robbie’s brilliantly crafted ice skating spandex wardrobe in I, Tonya, to Sally Hawkins’ immaculate mid-century outfits in The Shape of Water, getting costume design just right is as important for a production as offering a believable screenplay, even if the story is about a mute woman falling in love with an amphibious creature.

On the eve of the British Academy Awards, HeyUGuys were fortunate enough to attend a Costume Design session at BAFTA with two of the nominees, namely Jennifer Johnson for I, Tonya and Luis Sequeira for The Shape of Water. Chaired by film writer and broadcaster Danny Leigh, the session allowed us to dig deep into the fine intricacies of costume design and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in most productions.jennifer johnson

Talking at great length about her experiences working on I, Tonya, Jennifer Johnson was able to divulge a huge deal about what made Margot Robbie into such a believable Tonya Harding. For Johnson, who only had 5 weeks to prepare for the job at hand, things were made easier for her as soon Robbie started to see herself as her character. Working on a tight budget was also very challenging for the designer as she had to get most things right first time around and avoid wasting too much time and material.

RELATED: Watch the full I, Tonya UK Press Conference

For his part in creating the weird and wonderful world of magic realism in The Shape of Water, Luis Sequeira was at times forced to work on half scales as to not waste any of the very expensive materials he was working with. While his overall budget was, of course, far greater than Jennifer’s, the ethics attached to this meticulously arduous work remain very similar. Both designers had to work very closely with the actors day in day out to get the right look.

bafta sessions costume

Another aspect touched upon by Sequeira was how to achieve a timeless look which one could look at years later and still find it believable and not somehow disjointed or simply not very convincing.

Other nominees in this category are Jacqueline Durran for Beauty and The Beast and Darkest Hour and Mark Bridges for Phantom Thread. Bridges is tipped by most for this particular award for his part in bringing 1950s London glamour to the screen with a huge deal of attention to detail. To find out who will be taking the top prize, make sure you tune in to the awards show which will be aired on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 18th February.