We and our friends over at Fuzzable recently got to have a chat with costume designer Barbara Gregusova who worked with Vanessa Hudgens on the Netflix Christmas hit The Knight Before Christmas, we spoke to Barbara about what it was like working with Vanessa, and the process of creating all the costumes for the movie.
What was your thought process when designing for the characters?
For Sir Cole, I knew we were going to rent the armour from somewhere else in the world, so right away I started researching his 14th-century look. Then with Monika, the director, we choose a look we wanted to aim for. Next step was the search for the pieces.
For Brooke, Vanessa’s character’s wardrobe, I wanted her pieces to be unique and have details which were inspired by chainmail. Wanting there to be subtle connection between her present-day wardrobe and Sir Cole’s suit of armour.
Finally, for the Crone, I knew we were going to build her costume from scratch, after researching medieval costumes I started looking for fabrics. One of her main cape fabrics I found in Nordstrom. It was a couch throw with the most beautiful texture and I knew by painting it I could give it a lot more depth and have the look of the time.
Did the stars of the film have any input into the costumes?
Yes, I talked with Vanessa in advance to discuss her character and how she imagined Brooke, and what she felt she would be wearing. With contemporary films I really like to collaborate with the stars quite a bit as each of them will have their own take. I want the cast to feel comfortable in their wardrobe – unless there’s a scene in the story where they are not supposed to feel comfortable – that’s a different story.
What was it like to work with Vanessa Hudgens, knowing that she has such a big and passionate fanbase?
Wonderful! I worked with a lot of actors over the years and I still get a little star-struck when I work with somebody who has been in the industry for a long time. It’s a combination of me being excited to work with the person and wanting to do the best job I possibly can. I like the challenge of making the cast feel completely comfortable and happy with their wardrobe and look fantastic on camera.
Which outfit from the film is your favourite?
I have a few but the first one which comes to mind is Vanessa’s off-white and blue striped sweater. It’s really cosy and I like how Vanessa was able to take advantage of the long sleeves playing with them. I love it when actors can play with their costumes – even a little bit – like the scene where Josh is trying to tie a tie and it comes across as super sweet. When a costume becomes part of the action it makes it more than just a costume.
Where does your inspiration for the costumes for this movie come from?
For the contemporary aspect of the movie I like to see what’s in all the stores since that part of the show had to be shopped for. I do my own shopping that way I know exactly what is accessible to me and what I can play with. Exploring all my options and resources out there I have an idea of what I want to do and to play off what I discussed with Vanessa and Monika. Then I just put it all together in my brain.
How many fittings did the actors have for the costumes?
Josh had his first fitting for armour in Angels (rental house) in London – it was a three-hour-long fitting over Skype.
Monika was scouting locations for the Ireland shoot there so she was able to be present for the fitting. We choose the pieces we liked and then we had them shipped to Toronto where we did our second fitting with my hands on the armour. It was very exciting when it arrived and the same day we did the main fitting with Vanessa.
For all the other cast we had one fitting each as soon as they were cast. We needed to take care of all the cast in Toronto since we had all the stores close by. Any fittings in Bracebridge meant me or my assistant had to shop in Toronto and than drive items back to set. Set being two to three hours outside of Toronto depending on traffic. During the shoot we did a couple of quick fittings with Josh and Vanessa for the pieces we were still missing.