Our client had a pair of screen used costumes from Mike Flanagan’s chilling Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House, and was looking for a unique way to showcase them. We discussed different display options with the client, eventually striking a similar style to our “What Dreams May Come” costume display, where we created a life-like sculpture in all-white, to give context to the display but allow the costume to have the spotlight.
The beautiful period dresses worn in the film by the characters of Poppy and the Bent Neck Lady were sent to our New York studio for fitting. The creation process was very similar for both. We started with a handful of reference images from photos of the actresses, searching out behind the scenes photos and screen shots. These provided us with references to create custom sculpted busts of each actress. Likeness work is always challenging, but the Bent Neck Lady had the additional twist of her horribly broken neck! For Poppy, we needed to sculpt her 1920’s flapper hair-do with an allowance for the headband worn by the character (the original was not present, Christine Richter created a new headband for this display). Sculptor Ron Tiller created the 1:1 busts of each character, and blended them to the custom mannequins we created.
Once our team and the clients were happy that the clay sculptures captured the look of the characters, Ron created a mold of each, which in turn were cast in resin. From there the resin lifesized busts were mounted to custom mannequins, worked on in our studio by Pierre Briel and Ricky Vitus. Just like costumes are customized to fit each actor, each mannequin needs to be customized to the costume. This helps not only with the aesthetic but also to support the costume and help it maintain its shape over time. It’s a challenging process to get right, and finding the proper fit and drape can take quite a bit of time and skill.
We wanted to also evoke the “moldy” ghost makeup that the actresses have while wearing these costumes. Our design used a white-on-white paint in two different sheens. The busts were based in a flat white paint and the “mold” was hand-painted by Ricky Vitus, Giovanna Taddei and Melissa Ocampo with a satin finish to give it a slight shine.
Where Poppy’s statue had sculpted hair, the Bent Neck Lady’s longer flowing hair was captured with a tinted white wig. To give each of the displays a museum-look, we mounted each upon a simple black laminate display base. The finished ghoulish figures became a stunning way to display a pair of ghastly costumes from the frightening, Haunting series!
Have an original movie or television costume in need of a unique or themed display? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!