‘Christian Grey Was Modelled On David Beckham’: We Speak To The Fifty Shades Costume Designer

EXCLUSIVE: 'Christian Grey Was Modelled On David Beckham'


by Emma Spedding |
Published on

We may as well rename this week Fifty Shades week, as the hotly anticipated film is released on Friday. We chatted to academy-award winning costume designer Mark Bridges to find out more about what we can expect from the on-screen Christian and Anastasia...

Grazia Daily: You didn't read the books - why did you chose to do that?

'I have done a lot of film adaptations of books and it varies from projects to project. I did* Silver Linings Playbook* which was a very popular book and in that case I read the book and fell in love with a lot of aspects of the book and then we never did them in the screen version. In Inherent Vice it was all about 'read the book, because we're going to use the DNA of everything.' I spoke to the director when I first met with her and she felt it wasn't necessary, that we should concentrate on the script at hand and telling that story and trying to keep a fresh eye to it as opposed to having any influence from the book. However the author was there on set all the time and I did receive a couple of emails like 'I think my readers are going to expect this outfit and this outfit.'

**Grazia Daily: **Was the author keen to keep costumes close to in the book?

'Specifically the garments were a grey chiffon graduation dress and a tighter fitting wine coloured dress for negotiations and then she said Christian's red room jeans should probably be 'this colour, and this fit.' It was then up to me to come up with what that grey graduation chiffon dress was, so I felt I was honouring the books and the author's intent, but free to express myself.'

'Jamie's protein drinks were my nemesis!'

**Grazia Daily: **What was Jamie Dornan like to work with?

'Let me put this out there, it's very difficult to make Jamie Dornan look bad. He knows clothes but isn't terribly interested in them, as long as they fit. He let the tailors, the shirt-makers and the tie makers do our thing. He was very co-operative with me and we were both seeing the same thing when making this character. We had a very truncated schedule with him because there had been another actor scheduled for Christian Grey. But once I got him he was always willing to come in for the tailor to get it right. And his body was changing when he got to Vancouver because they were working him out and giving him protein drinks, so that was my nemesis for a while. My tailoring couldn't keep up with his trainer!'

Grazia Daily: Did you have an inspiration for Christian Grey?

'I tried to look at who is the edgiest, well dressed men around and I'd look at David Beckham and David Gandy and these guys you see everywhere and it always looks masculine but stylish and right at the edge of things, not embarrassing and obviously they have money to spend. They were the dropping off point and then you work with the physique.'

Fifty Shades of Grey [Rex]
Fifty Shades of Grey [Rex]

**Grazia Daily: **And how was Dakota to work with?

'Dakota was very co-operative, enthusiastic, always fully engaged when we did our fittings. She's the real deal; a real actress - there's nothing I like better than working with a real actor because we are doing our work in that fitting room working out who it is, and how to approach the character. We probably had four or five fittings at least to get the arch of her wardrobe.'

**Grazia Daily: **How involved was Sam in the fittings process?

'She saw everything, I documented all the fittings and I always try to do my fittings in order of the script so the actors follow me along and then I showed Sam 'we go from this, to this, to this.' Then you get a real sense of the rhythm and the story telling. She was in on all of it.'

'I did receive a couple of emails from the author like 'I think my readers...'

**Grazia Daily: **For the underwear, how did you make it look expensive and not seedy?

'There is not that much underwear - it's either on or off. My goal was to make the best possible reality you could get. It seemed real but it was also as pretty as it could be, so the first time we see Anastasia's underwear, she's a college student. But it doesn't have Thursday written on it! It's very pretty lace and white cotton and seems real. Then when we are in the red room and see her panties they are one of Sam's friends designs - Stella McCartney. I had made a beautiful silk velvet robe, that Christian supplies to Anna after their evening in the red room - it's like the velvet glove he puts on afterwards - and it's the exact colour of the Stella McCartney panties. Sam decided which ones we should chose, and the colour she chose worked beautifully.'

**Grazia Daily: **What labels did you work with?

'I didn't use a lot of labels in this one because I didn't want to take it out of the story. I made a lot of Anna's clothes and most of Jamie's suits and shirts and ties. Some of the key dresses for Anna, even her little toggle coat and floral blouse, which became emblematic of their awkward first meeting we made. They even spoofed it recently on Saturday Night Live, so I was very proud they spoofed my floral blouse! I tried to keep designers out of this one because you don't want to take away from the story and there's an anonymity to the clothes that allowed the readers and fans of the books to imprint their own vision of what they saw in their minds eye on the clothes. I haven't seen any message boards or anything about people commenting on costumes, but I did want to honour the feelings of whatever made it appealing in the first place so I didn't get too specific. That kind of designer, expense and extravagance and name-dropping of labels comes in the subsequent story, maybe version 2 when Christian starts to shower her in things. That's when I think designers will come into play.'

Grazia Daily: How can we expect to see Anna's character change through costume?

'She starts out with a very heavy foot, boots, tights, a toggle coat which I always think of a child waiting for the school bus with toggle coats. Everything starts to become more body conscious and pared down and a little more adult as she interacts more with Christian and as she choses what to borrow from her roommate to see Christian and he provides her with some pieces. It is a metaphor for him becoming into her psyche, we see it physically with her putting on the clothes and taking on Christian. There is a reverse at the end, what he started out in is what she finishes in. Spoiler alert!!'


50 Shades Of Grey Film

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