Interview: 50 Shades of Grey Costume Designer Mark Bridges

To coincide with the DVD release of Fifty Shades of Grey, SHESAID had an amazing opportunity to chat with the costume designer for the film, Mark Bridges. This is the very man who brought Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele to life and who worked exclusively on creating the spectacular wardrobe for the entire cast. Find out some interesting facts about Christian’s ties and how to dress just like Miss Steele.

RELATED: Q&A With Costume Designer Steven Noble

How did you get involved in the film?

The director, Sam Taylor-Johnson looked me up and asked me to read the script. We talked about the film, what we could do with it and we liked each other right away.

Where did you get the inspiration for Christian and Anastasia’s outfits?

I think Christian’s outfits are inspired by international hunks like David Gandy and David Beckham! These guys who have a lot of money and a lot of personal style, but it also seems young and masculine at the same time. That was the initial inspiration for the character of Christian Grey.

For Anastasia, we were trying to tell a story and illustrate what was maybe going on inside of her thoughts. Always trying to keep it young but never too trendy. Just try to show the progression – she starts off looking like a young girl who is waiting for the bus with a toggle coat, skirt and heavy shoes. Then slowly we see the silhouette change as she changes inside.

Interview: 50 Shades of Grey Costume Designer

What were some of your favourite looks in the film?

I was really happy with a couple of the dresses I designed in the film. One of which is the peach dress when Anastasia meets Christian’s parents. A lot of people have asked me about it and where they can get it! Then there was also the dress I made from sari fabric when Christian surprises Anastasia at her mother’s house in Georgia. At that point it’s actually very sexy – it’s a sun dress. I loved the colour on her and I was so happy with how it played out.

Also, the first outfit, which was the Liberty of London blouse, we made the coat and the skirt. I was so happy with the first impression of Anastasia – that she’s quite awkward and very child-like in the spectrum of things. With Christian I loved how his collars fit him, as well as the suits and ties. Also how we told his story and how he changes from very formal to quite soft by the end of the film as his guard comes down.

What were some of the most challenging outfits to create?

Well, I think getting Christian’s tailoring right was because Jamie Dornan came in quite late. So we didn’t really have much time to do all of the bespoke fittings that I would’ve liked to have done. And of course, his body was changing as he came in, so by the time of the second fitting his body had completely changed.

I think making his suits work with that ever-changing body in a short time-span was the biggest challenge in the costumes.

Interview: 50 Shades of Grey Costume Designer

Could you let out readers know of any interesting facts about the costumes?

We only had 6 of the famous neck-ties made! And between props and costumes, we were working with just 6 neck-ties, so that was a bit of a tense moment. That was probably the most tense and interesting thing to tell people.

What are some key trends and silhouettes women should look out for if they want to recreate Anastasia’s look?

Keep it very feminine! Her dresses are always fairly covered up but still quite sexy and pretty at the same time. Always try to play up your eye colour, which we did quite often with Dakota Johnson –she has those beautiful blue eyes and she wore a lot of blue to highlight that. Try to work with your own personal assets, whether it be beautiful eyes, lovely hair or shoulders. And keep it sexy but lady-like – there’s definitely that fine line that keeps people interested by not giving too much away.

Interview: 50 Shades of Grey Costume Designer

Fifty Shades of Grey is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital with UltraViolet.

Q&A With Costume Designer Steven Noble

Costumer designer Steven Noble has worked for a variety of films to create individual looks which not only set the mood, but help the film to come full circle. His most recent work has been on The Two Faces of January, hitting cinemas June 19, which is a beautiful film set in the sun-kissed ruins of 1960s Athens, starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac. SheSaid exclusively chatted with Steven himself about creating looks for the three very different main characters, where he gained inspiration, and how you can incorporate the 1960s trends into your own style.

Firstly, what a fantastic film with intricate details in costume and set design which transported viewers to 1960s Greece! What are some key trends to look out for if women want to recreate this look but still keep a modern influence to their outfit?

Some key silhouettes at the time would have to be the much fuller skirt with the petticoat underneath, or a dress which has been cinched in at the waist which is what I went for with Kirsten’s character (Colette). But I really think it’s about choosing the best silhouette for your body shape, but take those classic 1960’s shapes and mix it up with a modern piece.

We especially loved Colette’s (Kirsten Dunst’s character) dress in the opening scene of the film at the Parthenon. The pastel yellow outfit cinched in waist, also seeing the iconic Chanel 2.55 bag which is still so relevant today. How important was it to create these looks for the big screen, but still remain historically accurate?

The whole world is watching the film, and also my peers as well so it was extremely important to be accurate to the period. But obviously to bring your own point-of-view onto it and your own finger print with it, and hopefully create something that does the job and feels genuine. But also to remain fresh, modern and create something we haven’t seen a million times before in another film or even television.

Is there a particular process you have when coming up with certain outfits for characters? Do you sketch?

You obviously need to read the script first of all, which can offer lots of characterisations in terms of which will give you a little more insight into the personalities we’re dealing with. Then I always like to read the novel as well which can give additional insight, influence and inspiration and after that start looking at footage and fashions of the time. Now with the internet you have instant access to a billion people’s old photographs which is amazing and then start coming up with mood boards for each character and create clippings with additional swatches and sketches. You then take it to show the director and the actors, then head into conversations about it all. If they’re successful, the sketches are then made up in mock-fabrics and followed by fittings. It’s an extremely exciting and organic process that can go into very different directions once you start working with the actors and the clothing itself.

Sounds fantastic. Which character was the most fun to dress up, and where did you gain inspiration from?

It’s hard to say really, because the three main characters have such different elements which were great to work with. With Rydal (Oscar Isaac’s character) he was a bit more put together, travelling through Europe for 1-2 years so his clothes were based on Greek clothing at the time. Then with Chester (Viggo Mortensen’s character) you’ve got someone who had more money so his style was a bit more high-end from that period. I couldn’t actually say I have a favourite, I’m afraid! I liked all three, but for different reasons.

They were great, my favourite was Chester actually. I didn’t expect it to be, but by the end of the film the Panama-style hat’s and beige suits really won me over!

I think that if perhaps I had to make a decision it would have to be Chester as well. It was finding those beautiful finishing touches that really brought it to life; trying to find the right cufflink or the right shape of shoe, the right sock. That was probably the most exciting when he (Chester) came together. Strangely in Viggo’s fitting, I travelled to Barcelona since he couldn’t make it to London; he had no idea what his costumes would actually look like until he put them on that day!

Many thanks to Steven Noble.

Image via StudioCanal

By Felicia Sapountzis