Exclusive: NarniaWeb Interviews Isis Mussenden

Posted November 24, 2005 10:38 am by Tirian

Philo and Lady Éowyn from the NarniaWeb costume site had the opportunity to interview Isis Mussenden, costume designer for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Below is an excerpt from their exclusive interview:

Isis Mussenden

Isis Mussenden

Q: How much did you interact with the text of the book itself for inspiration? Did you draw upon other books in the Chronicles as well?

A: More than you (or I) can imagine! I can not tell you how many times I have read it. Depending on what area of the story we were working on I constantly referred back to the chapters for clues and inspiration. And yes, the other books were also helpful. Although LWW is the first time in the Chronicles we meet the children, it was helpful to understand where their characters were going.

Q: A lot of symbolism seems to have gone in to her costumes. Can you tell us a little more about this? What went into the construction of her gowns?

A: The fabric we created for her dress is directly related to the ice images I spoke of earlier. The first layer is a velvet dyed with resist areas for a modeled look. The second layer is felted wool and silk. The raw materials were dyed and then felted to fit the shape of each dress. The sheen of the silk is what gave us icy lines and begins to create the depth. The final layer is the lace. This is metallic thread and organza pieces, also dyed, sewn onto a burn out fabric. We would draw the ice crackle from a small scale to a larger scale at the hem of the dress. This gives us the illusion of height, she is a giant. Then a seamstress would machine endless amounts of thread over the lines and finally we would burn out the back. Each panel was made this way for all of the six dresses. Once the lace was ready we would hand sew it on to the felted dress and then and only then the dress would truly come to life. Tilda use to comment on how amazing it was when we would lay on that last layer. It was always a little piece of magic.

Click here to read the entire interview at the NarniaWeb Costume Site.