‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Costume Designer on the Telling Details Within Gilead’s Wardrobes

IndieWire | 7/10/2019 | Staff
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Now halfway through its third season, things on Hulu’s nightmarish exploration of existence in a misogynistic, totalitarian state “The Handmaid’s Tale” are as tense as they’ve ever been. Though things continue to be dire inside Gilead, the series has found new storytelling opportunities by expanding the show’s vision, taking the show — literally — on the road to Washington, D.C. and in the process, expanding the scope of the whole of Gilead.

And, most importantly, introducing a ton of fantastic new costumes.

Series - Costume - Designer - Natalie - Bronfman

Series costume designer Natalie Bronfman served as the show’s costume supervisor and buyer through the first two seasons, before taking over as designer this season. Bronfman welcomed IndieWire to the show’s set in April and offered insights into her process and the sheer volume of costumes the season demanded.

For instance, in “Under His Eye,” viewers see Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and his wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) attend a formal ball in D.C. amidst dozens of other commanders and wives. For Bronfman, that meant creating over 50 gala dresses in a variety of shapes and fabrics in a matter of weeks.

Time - Wives - Fabrics - Wear - Strategy

“It’s the first time you’ve seen the wives in different fabrics and in formal wear,” she explained, detailing the strategy between wives who were extras and wives who needed to be dressed to the nines.

“For the background wives, we had three different shapes for gowns. So what we did is build bases, stick them on dummies and then accessorize them all differently, whether it was with little jackets or flowers or whatever,” Bronfman said.

Suffice - Designer - Show - Weapons - Milliner

Suffice it to say, it also meant that the designer leaned heavily on one of the show’s secret weapons: milliner Rebecca Fowler.

“She built all of...
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