Restoration – Colouring Characters – Make-Up & Costume

Amber and Celeste touching up the cast…

In order for a character to be truly great they have to be ‘coloured’ in a way that speaks to who they are. The make-up and costume are critical elements for this, and sometimes their importance can be over looked. Many actors have said that the right costume and make-up help them to get into their role. For Restoration there were a few interesting challenges in these departments – the period costuming, the sinister guy in the painting, and an artist covered in paint for parts of the film. Celeste, our make-up artist and Amber, our costume designer, give us some insights into creating characters looks.

What interested you about the project? 

Celeste: I have worked with the Director on other projects and like his style. Also it’s one of theDSC_6975 things I have thought about how great it would be… to be able to get into a painting or for something or someone to come out of a painting…. which in retrospect would probably be less great.

Amber: I loved the script, it was haunting and I vividly imagined how it and the characters would look on first reading, it appealed to my aesthetic, classic, traditional and luxurious, particularly the character of Benjamin, I loved that it had an old fahioned timeless feel to it.

How did you break-down your departments requirements for the film?

Celeste: The look for Restoration was dark & moody so there was the colour palette I needed to work with. I always do a break down of all the scenes & characters within those scenes. With a film like this the artist becomes more & more disheveled & frightened as time goes on…so the makeup reflects this.

1G8A3583Amber: Having read the script through a couple of times, I broke it down into days, looks for each character on each day and which location they were in, for instance, when Francis drives to Benjamin’s house unannounced, Benjamin’s attire is more toned down for being at home but nonetheless still smart and put together with his signature neckerchief.

I created moodboards for each character which is always a thrill as you see the look fall together before your eyes and then begin to search out specific items or colours or fabrics, this too is a great thrill, especially when the budget’s tight, that’s when the op-shop Gods seem to smile upon me and the perfect piece turns up and fits the Actor!

With the period elements required for the painting did that take any special considerations?

Celeste: The special considerations I took were first finding out from the Director what era heRestoration_Small_Pic was particularly wanting & from there I looked up specific artist & their portrait paintings so I could get an idea of the style of that time.

Amber: The period aspect of the painting was different in that I knew I would have to hire the components required for each character and of course being period there were many parts, ie: for the Father, trouser/shirt/waistcoat/jacket/shoes/cravat/tophat/pocketwatch/cane -each piece an individual cost, and with the women they required period undergarments as well as their dresses, luckily fittings were able to be done at the Hire company so I only took what I knew I would use and we shot the stills for the painting in one day so I was able to return the garments the next day!

Was there anything you particularly enjoyed or found challenging?

Celeste: Every film has different challenges but this adds to the enjoyment because it is a challenge. I had worked with some of the crew before & enjoyed working with them again. The cast was mostly new to me & it was great to work on & with new faces.

1G8A3628Amber: I enjoyed creating Costumes for ‘Restoration’ because of the aesthetic, the challenge of budget restraints and the story itself. One of the most challenging aspects was creating the paint effect when The Gentleman steps out of the painting, this involved completely covering the Actor in a glycerine solution to give a wet shiny painterly look. We ended up having to reshoot that scene but thankfully my wonderful Assistant Lissy, had cleaned the costume as good as new so it was ready to go another round!

Watch Trailer.

Celeste StreweCeleste Strewe – Make-Up Designer
In 2007 Celeste trained as a makeup artist & spfx makeup artist at The Cut Above Academy in Auckland. She also entered the NZ Body Art Awards for the first time & won Best Emerging Artist in the Weta Fantasy Spfx category.
Celeste has worked on a wide range of productions from live theatre to short films & feature films. She was a finalist in the 2013 NZ Film Awards for best hair & makeup in a feature film for ‘Crackheads’. She also works on TV shows, commercials, fashion photo shoots & fashion parades.
She currently works for Bodyfx an Auckland based company that specialises in body art, face painting & spfx makeup.

AmberAmber Rhodes – Costume Designer
Amber has worked in the New Zealand Film Industry for 16 years and have honed her craft on some incredible films. Most recently she was Design Assistant and Researcher on a 6 part TV series about Sir Edmund Hillary’s life, an incredibly fulfilling opportunity, prior to that I was Action Unit Dresser on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2, an opulent and gloriously costumed film.
The Dark Horse (2013) was another incredible and challenging film in which I was Costume Design Assistant, a role in which I helped to create an authentic looking gang with a limited budget as well as dressing a large cast with mainly op-shop discoveries.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working with visionary Costume Designers on some of the most beautiful films made in New Zealand, among them River Queen, The Way of The Warrior, The Vintner’s Luck as well as incredibly detailed TV shows such as Spartacus, The Legend of the Seeker, and Xena-Warrior Princess.
I have juggled my role as a Mother to two daughters with my work in the Industry and now they are both at school, I take every chance I can to further a career in Costume Design, thus it was a tremendous opportunity to design the Costumes for ‘Restoration’.


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