The nominees for the 20th Costume Designers Guild Awards were announced Wednesday. Photo from "Phantom Thread" courtesy of Focus Features.
Photo from “Phantom Thread” courtesy of Focus Features.

After picking up his Oscar for “Phantom Thread,” costume designer Mark Bridges said the movie — about a fashion designer — presented special challenges.

Bridges has worked on several films with director Paul Thomas Anderson and said, “I always am excited when Paul calls. … We’ve done everything from porn stars to oil drilling to hippie detectives.”

There’s always pressure, with questions like “will I be able to do justice to the era?” the costumer designer said.

But with Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role, playing someone who designs couture clothing, Bridges said he was forced to step up his game even further.

Because the clothing choices were so integral to the story, Bridges had to “get into the mindset of somebody else. … It was different and challenging in a cool way for me.”

And the actor had ideas of his own.

Day-Lewis was already well-versed in the world of bespoke clothing and “did an amazing amount of homework, he’s the consummate artist preparing,” Bridges said.

That included Day-Lewis serving as an apprentice with a designer, learning to cut, drape and sew fabric. The actor ultimately re-created a Balenciaga dress on his own.

Bridges had to give up some creative control to the actor.

“We created a closet for him,” Bridges said. “Paul wanted him to choose daily what he would pull from his closet and wear … that was a new one on me.”

But it was all in service of the character.

“As long as Paul felt we were feeding Daniel nourishment for his character it was fine,” the costumer designer said. “That’s why I’m here.”

Bridges previously won an Oscar for his work on “The Artist.”

–City News Service

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