So, I am in full swing of my development and making for my final project studying at the University of Huddersfield.
I settled on H. G. Wells’ classic sci-fi script ‘Things to Come'(1935) which was developed from the original ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ and made into a film in 1936 by Cameron Menzies and is still considered a classic today.
The story shows our human race in the far flung future and Wells’ ideas of how it would look and we would live. In 1960, after a 20 year long world war in which deadly gas and air raids take place, a disease called the Wandering Sickness spreads from the gases used and the stagnant pools of water, turning people into zombie-like creatures, harmless enough but infectious. The world is concerned by a Warlord and restrictions effect all walks of life – from doctors, engineers, market stall holders and family life.
John Cabal and his Airmen attempt to clean up the world after the war and create a new civilisation which is fair, equal and scientifically minded. A government based on common sense is created and after years of reconstruction and building, Cabal’s grandson is head of the government. Skipping forward to 2054, they have created a Space Gun which will fire two willing participants into space to loop round the dark side of the moon and come back and report. Cabal’s daughter, Catherine, and her lover, Maurice have been chosen to go – to the dismay of many citizens who think it is a suicide mission and that Cabal is willing to sacrifice everything to progress and science. The reality is these two young people are well qualified and eager to take part.
Theotocopolus represents the anti-progress ideas in this film – he cannot understand why Cabal is making them forever push forward, why can’t they just live in this beautiful new world – they want for nothing so let them enjoy it! He raises up a mob and they are intent on attacking the Space Gun to prevent the mission going ahead. It is a race against time, but the question is, what wold you do given the opportunity? The universe or nothing?
I had to choose six characters to design for and these can be seen below on my initial Cast Line Up – Cabal, Catherine, Maurice, Passworthy, Rowena and Theotocopolus. The designs might change a little bit but this is the base for the Final Designs.
And from those six I needed to pick two to make the costumes for – it was a close call but with the help of my tutors I settled on Cabal and his wife, Rowena. She does not feature heavily in the film but in the original script she has a feisty scene with Cabal, showing she is his real antagonist, and not Theotocopolus, because she is against him in every decision he has ever made and feels betrayed at his proposal to send their daughter on the mission. Emotionally unstable she contrasts with Cabal’s unwavering belief in science.
The inspiration behind my Cast Line Up was two fold – in the directors notes which came with the script Wells said that he wanted a Tudor silhouette to run through the costumes, the typical King Henry VIII slender legs and broad shoulders for the men and long skirts for the women. Cloaks for all. I coupled this research with Japanese fashion and innovative cutting techniques as designers such as Yamamoto and Miyake are at the fore front of our fashion so it made sense to me to take inspiration from them to predict the future. A strange future of Tudor meets Japanese but I am really pleased with the overall effect – the Tudor elements might be a little lost but this can be worked back in when I do my final designs.
More details about the costumes to follow…!