Craig Green On Designing Over 200 Pieces For Alien Covenant open search

Craig Green On Designing Over 200 Pieces For Alien Covenant


Two and a half years ago, 4 Favourite, Craig Green was approached by Hollywood costume designer, Janty Yates to design over 200 pieces for a new Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott. Below the British designer discusses how it all came about, and the differences between designing for a runway and a spaceship.

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Have you seen the movie since?
Craig Green: I saw it on Wednesday night. I took everyone from the studio because they were all the people who were manically hand-sewing all the pieces together for months. So it was important to go with them too.

When you were seeing your costumes in the movie, how did it feel?
It was a very surreal moment. It was like Oh my God, we had that in the studio! Oh my God, we sewed that! So yeah, very surreal. Amazing experience.

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How did you even get involved in such a huge film?
It was two, two and a half years ago when Janty came to me about the project. It actually happened that Janty just turned up at our studio. We were in a university studio building at the time and the person downstairs called up to say there was someone to see me. I came downstairs and she was like “I can’t leave my car because my dog is in the car and I’ve been trying to get a hold of you, and no one calls me back, and I think I’ve got the wrong email because I’ve been emailing your press office and I can’t get through to them!” She had found the address online and driven to the studio. It was very lucky, I guess. (I don’t know what number she was calling because I definitely would have called her back!)

She was like “I’m a real person I promise. I’m doing a film with Ridley Scott and I can’t tell you much more but I really want to work with you on some pieces for it. I promise I’m not a mad person! I’m for real.” Then she had to run off and gave me her card. Then I looked Janty up online and saw she won the Golden Globe for Gladiator and I was like “Oh my God, she just turned up at the studio!” It was really shocking—it was very surreal at the time.

When we met again she told me she had gone to Selfridges and seen our Autumn-Winter 2015 collection. She bought a few pieces and since then she had been trying to get a hold of me. She told me that when she saw the pieces they were exactly what she and Ridley had been talking about for the aesthetic of the Alien film. After that, she borrowed the collection, took it to LA to meet Ridley and show him the pieces. He really liked them so she called me and said “Let’s go for it.”

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So when you finally you accepted Janty as a real person, and this opportunity as a real opportunity, what happened next?
Janty commissioned us to work on different aspects of the costumes. She had reference from Ridley that looked very much like the references we had for the collection six months before. They want this version of the original pieces but in different colors and tone for the camera. We developed on from those Autumn-Winter pieces but they’re instantly recognizable from the show. So we made all of the on-board sleeper wear for the opening scene. We hand twisted skin-tight jersey pieces and we made the full body suits for all for the cast and then we made all of the mercenary explorer gear. Actually, our pieces are featured all the way through the film.

Is it very different to design clothing for a movie than for your own collection?
The most different aspect was the sizing. We had to make these skintight jersey piece we had for nine or ten actors and each was a totally different height and body shape. We made one for a 6’4” massive rugby bodybuilding type guy, and then one for a very petite female form. Each character needed ten to twelve copies of exactly the same thing so we ended up making 180-200 hand sewn jersey bodysuits. It was…pretty full on! But yeah worth it.

I never really realized how many pieces you needed for a film and Janty was like “Yeah you need one for when the blood splats on, and one is for when they do the dying scene, and one is for when they do this and that, etc.,” so each actor needed a lot.

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What was the most challenging part of it?
I think it probably the sizing aspect, trying to find all of those body shapes in people that we knew so that we could fit them to an actual body. Because they’re hand sewn, they’re hard to adjust, so we had to get it right.

Would you do it again?
I’m a massive movie fan and I go to the cinema once a week on my own, it’s like my therapy session. It’s the only time in life these days where you turn off your phone and you’re in the dark and you focus on one thing and I find that calming. I love film. It’s a very therapeutic thing to do when you have a stressful job. All of my first collections directly referenced old films and cinema. There’s definitely a link there.

Craig Green is exclusive to 4.

Shop the Spring Summer 2017 collection here.

Read the full post on GQ

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