Costume designer Paco Delgado created jaw-droppingly beautiful costumes for A Wrinkle in Time. Our group had the opportunity to meet him and learn a bit more about his process.
It was so fun to hear what went into each of the costumes. I also loved seeing the renderings of what he imagined.
The Making Of Oprah Winfrey’s Costumes
Paco shared about why Oprah’s dresses were complex to make and how they had to try different techniques to bring the vision to life.
Oprah’s dresses, they were complex, because we were using a lot of materials. Like, a lot of plastics and a lot of reflective, metallic fabrics. And we use glass beads, and a lot of things that I never have used before. But they were fiber optic as well.
We wanted to play, for example, with energy as an idea. Then, you know, we start, like, looking for fiber optic. We find this company in China that they did these amazing fiber optic, and then we imported things from them. Then they came here and they were, like, really basically they didn’t work. That was a difficult process. ‘Cause we were, like, so, like, trying different things, and making a lot of mistakes. All the time. Then, for example, Oprah’s dress that has light, it took ages to make.
I mean, weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks, because we never found the right amount of electricity that it could lead it from inside, and it could be seen in normal conditions. It’s not like working in a really dark room. And then, oh! Wow! We were very over-excited. This is amazing! And the thing is, we went to show it to Ava in a normal room. [It] doesn’t work! How embarrassing.
When it came to this costume, their perseverance paid off.
We were trying to pleat neoprene. And everything was fantastic. And then we left it on the table. We went to have lunch, and we came back everything was flat.
Then we thought, well, okay. Let’s do it again. We pleated the neoprene, and then we start putting threads in fabric, trying to have everything together. It was such a huge work that we thought this is impossible. It’s gonna take forever. It’s gonna cost a fortune. Then we found that if we made the same pleating with like a plastic mesh, and we put it on top of it, it was, like, almost like a cup that it was supporting the pleating and that worked.
The Making Of Mindy Kaling’s Costume
Because she was like this super librarian, I was thinking all her dresses have to have layers of things. Like it looks like book pages. Then I was trying to think, is it possible to make something with paper? Because you see a lot of paperwork in the internet. But will it stay like that the whole movie? And then we were trying to find the right paper that we found these people in south LA that they have this warehouse where they saw Japanese paper, made by hand.
We were trying little things. At the beginning we bought it in at raw stage. Then we tried to have our people who dyed materials try to see if they could dye it different colors. It dissolved. It was trying a lot of different things that we found.
We found paper that it was made by hand as well, but it was from another vendor. And then we put it together. How much did it take to make. It wasn’t actually that much to make it into something, at least three or four weeks. Nothing here took less than four weeks. Some of the dresses took eight weeks.
How Mindy’s Cape Was Made
At the premiere we got to see the costumes up close and I loved how Mindy’s cape was covered in words. I asked Paco about the specific words on Mindy’s cape and he discussed where the idea of covering the cape with words first came from.
You have your T-shirt with prints. But we all live in a society where we work, sometimes we look like walking billboards. You have all these things printed on your body.
She is this woman talking about books. Why is she cannot have that?
And also I was thinking about graffiti. You walk into our streets, and graffiti’s amazing. Graffiti is an amazing expression, artistic expression where you have words, and thinking into it. It’s not just, like, making a drawing of a butterfly. It’s like saying a message. And then I just thought, “this is amazing that she can have all these graffiti on her.”
We all speak English. Well, I speak Spanish. But I speak English as well. We all use the Latin alphabet, but on that, I just thought, she embodies all the culture. She have to have Chinese. She has to have, you know, an invented alphabet. Consistently being in the universe. She speaks a language of a culture that we haven’t encountered yet. Or maybe in 200 years we will encounter them.
Then, you know, I mean, we have to make a sort of like an alphabet to print as well. And then, you know, I thought in the back of the costume is a big mandala.
And I love the idea of mandala because mandala is a western idea. She embodies so much wisdom. She was always so assertive in everything she said.