Zac Posen becomes a costume designer: “It’s not a glamorous film. It’s about gangsters and couture, and it’s new to me”


Talk about the day-to-day of designing the costumes you did for this film.

I worked with co-costumer Sophie O’Neill. She’s based in London and I was doing this from New York, zooming in on this process. It was back and forth of samples and fabrics of vintage ties that were found and hats, and we had to work very quickly. The Huntsman component of this one… Watching an actor come up with their character while the costume was being made was really, really cool; there is a perfection in what they do. I was looking at the back of a suit and wanted to tuck it in, and normally that would be the kind of thing where you have to cut through a whole panel and in a fashion set that probably wouldn’t be done in the studio. And here master cutter Campbell Carey has just recut the piece. It was a great experience to see his instinct confirmed by someone with such mastery in his field.

I’m thinking of the Daniel Day-Lewis film, The Ghost Thread, which was a movie about another master tailor. Hollywood loves fashion and vice versa, but there’s a feeling within our industry that Hollywood rarely gets fashion right.

You know, really good storytelling is all about writing dialogue and scripts, right? There must be a bigger story than the end of the collection. The stakes need to be higher.

The stakes are high here. The clients of Mark Rylance’s character are gangsters.

The movie is set in mid-50s Chicago and I think what’s interesting, what drew me to it, is this idea that it’s kinda right before the ideas of futurism came into the culture. You know, it’s still traditional and it’s a Savile Row tailor working in Chicago in the mid-50s. And really the look of men’s suits at that time is an American look. It was really imagining what a traditional British Savile Row shoulder and armhole would look like from the inside, but interpreted in this era for gangsters and the Mafia.

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