Creating the Costumes for the Charlatans, Hustlers, and Con Artists of Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley’

Bradley Cooper in Nightmare Alley

Photograph: Kerry Hayes

Nightmare Alley is del Toro’s homage to basic movie noir, the place a personality’s alluring facade can masks ulterior motives. Take Dr. Lilith Ritter, a glamorous psychiatrist who makes an attempt to show Stanton as a fraud earlier than getting tangled in his net of deception. Performed by Cate Blanchett in full femme fatale mode, her assortment of trendy robes and velvet capes reveal extra concerning the character than any verbal description.

“Luis designed a actuality along with his costumes that replicate persona and assist inform the story,” del Toro says. “Leather-based, wool, embroidery—all of them outline character and combine visually to a coloration and texture palette, seamlessly.”

Forward of Nightmare Alley’s December 17 premiere in theaters, Sequeira shared a few of his costume sketches with Vogue and spoke about bringing del Toro’s sinister world to life.

Stanton “Stan” Carlisle (Bradley Cooper)

“Stanton goes by way of the largest visible transformation,” Sequeira says of the Nightmare Alley protagonist. Whereas Gresham’s unique novel and the 1947 movie adaptation have been extra evenly centered on the ensemble, del Toro’s take locations Cooper on the heart. “Every part he wears on the carnival is sagging and threadbare. He has a finite wardrobe, so we needed to create a sort of capsule assortment for that first a part of the movie: a few pairs of pants, some shirts, and a jacket. Then once we moved into town, it was all about wanting nouveau riche.”  

Molly (Rooney Mara) 

If there’s a conscience to be discovered among the many Nightmare Alley ensemble, it’s in Molly, a carny who turns into a key a part of Stanton’s con as soon as they transfer their act to New York. Whereas Stanton is out to totally reinvent himself each professionally and aesthetically, Molly is much less positive concerning the sinister new world her paramour has pulled her into. That hesitation is mirrored in her wardrobe, with Sequeira eager to imbue Molly’s seems with a way of youthfulness and naïveté, like a efficiency costume that includes a fluttery butterfly print. 

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