Trish Summerville talks exclusively with The Hollywood Reporter about how she landed the costume designer gig for David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, what she strove for with Lisbeth Salander's (Rooney Mara) wardrobe and the challenges of doing '60s period costumes, edgy street punk garb and Mikael Blomqvist's (Daniel Craig) layered, casual elegance.
Summerville -- whose background includes designing music video, personal appearance and tour costumes for Adam Lambert, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Avril Lavigne and Janet Jackson -- had bought Stieg Larsson's book the week before she got the call about Fincher's film.
"It was a defiinite yes from the beginning," she recalls, in part because she had worked with Fincher many times on commercials: Heineken Beer Run (starring Brad Pitt), Nike's Fate and SoftBank's Brad Pitt, IPhone's 3G and a Stand Up to Cancer call to arms.
She enjoyed the creative freedom and the chance to create a full-scale film wardrobe for so many actors, from contemporary and period costumes, the dusty aristocracy of the Vanger family to Salander's lesbian pierced and tatted punk cohorts in a bar scene.
Summerville explains that there wasn't much in the book about Salander's look except that her clothing is dark and she's a natural redhead (hence the red merkin she wears in the film's nude scenes) who dyes her hair black."It was important for all her clothing to seem very authentic, nothing brand new," the costume designer says. "Like she could disappear into the shadows and didn't call attention to herself."
However, there's one shirt that might get her noticed. One of our favorite costumes is the ripped T Lisbeth wears when Mikael comes to her apartment. It reads (pardon our French) "F--k You, You F--king F--k."
Another difference between films and her past commercial work is having multiple backups in case there's a fight sequence, blood, rips, etc., during the out-of-sequence shooting. Not to mention aging all the multiples to match. "So it's building, making, buying a bit of vintage and real things, then aging and distressing. It takes an incredibly long time."
Summerville is aware that the audience may not realize how much costume work went into the '60s flashbacks in the film. Even the old photos featured actors and extras who had to be dressed.
On the impact of the film's style, she admits, "It was nice to see, right after the W spread came out, how the short fringe and bleached-out eyebrows, which is such a key look for her, how quickly you saw that in other magazines and editorlals."
And of course, in her off minutes, Summerville also designed the Salander-inspired H&M capsule Girl With The Dragon Tattoo collection -- very affordable clunky boots, sneakers, long wool coat, fitted leather jacket, skinny jeans and of course, the ultimate Salandar piece, hoodies to hide under -- that's now in stores.
We just wish H&M offered Salander's hilarious FYYFF ripped T-shirt.