San Diego, CA, July 21, 2022 – For this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, excited fans assembled for an in-person conversation with Hollywood’s highly sought-after costume, hair, and makeup designers to discuss bringing characters to life on “Moon Knight,” “Watchmen,” “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, “Pam & Tommy,” as well as its overlap in the fandom and cosplaying communities, for Impact24PR’s Cosplaying Film and TV Characters: Behind The Scenes with Industry Designers panel.
Moderated by actor/content creator Chris Villain and costume designer/cosplayer Chad Hatter, the panel featured costume designers Meghan Kasperlik (Moon Knight, Watchmen) and Bernadette Croft (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds), hair department head Barry Lee Moe (Pam & Tommy, Pose), and makeup designer and makeup department head Carleigh Herbert (Minx, Teen Wolf: The Movie + Series).
The panel started off with a clip reel featuring the creatives’ work, as well as an exclusive clip from Abramorama’s “Cosplay Universe” documentary (IG & TikTok: @cosplayuniversefilm). The film, directed by Jonathan McHugh and Jordan Rennert and starring Yaya Han and Kamui Cosplay, explores the diverse and unique world of cosplay, shining a light on the often misunderstood artform. Then panel then dived into designers’ experiences in designing popular characters from television, while they also gave tips and tricks to cosplayers in the audience to achieve the perfect look.
Starting off the conversation,costume designer Meghan Kasperlik discussed creating the costume for Oscar Isaac’s character on “Moon Knight.” “It was important to me for all the costumes to be comic book accurate and to allow Oscar and his stunt men to move freely in them,” she said. Meghan pointed out that working on superhero costumes also comes their own set of challenges, “We made 47 Mr. Knight suits, because on contrary to the Moon Knight costume, the Mr. Knight suit was white, not gray, and it was getting dirty very easily.” To combat those challenges, Meghan then went on to describe how she combated those challenges, sharing that they “used new technologies like 3D-printing and materials like Euro stretch to make it happen.”
Costume designer Bernadette Croft jumped in to discuss creating costumes fit for action scenes on “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” She too utilized new technology to create her costumes. “We look at what they did back in the 60’s and use our current technologies, techniques, and materials to elevate it to the modern world.” Bernadette also emphasized that technology is not the only thing that changed from when Star Trek was first created. “The audience has changed as well, and they expect the costumes, hair, and makeup to be extremely detailed,” she shared. “I am so grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the Star Trek canon. If we are reimagining these characters, we have to infuse a lot of details. So we built most of these costumes from scratch. We manipulated fabric, used bleach dying, rust dying, hand embroidery, machine embroidery, and more to make it look like it’s from a different world.”
With many cosplayers in the audience, they were itching to know how designers approached their character’s look. Makeup designer Carleigh Herbert went on to speak about her designs on “Teen Wolf” and “American Horror Story: 1984.” “Whenever I start, I start with pop culture of the time,” she explained. “For American Horror Story, we were in 1984 so I looked at the media from that time period. I would look at old makeup manuals and make up books. Then you go into your characters and specifics and that gets you grounded.”
The conversation shifted over to Barry to talk about his work on “Pam & Tommy” and his process for recreating iconic hairstyles for the show. “For the show we started with these gorgeous movie stars and had to figure out how to transform them into these people.” Barry also explained step by step how he transformed Lily James and Sebastian Stan into Pam & Tommy “For Lily, I had a total of 4 custom wigs made and I searched through drug stores to find a perfect shade of blonde. For Sebastian, we colored his own hair, straightened it with a chemical treatment, and then cut it to reassemble Tommy Lee’s hair.”
The panelists also shared the key elements they try to incorporate in their work, as well as working with the actors to create an authentic, comfortable feel. “I ask a lot of questions as part of my process, especially because I do prosthetics, characters, and beauty,” revealed Carleigh. “I ask people how they would want to feel in this character. I ask them questions about their character. Who are they, what would they look like, etc. It is very specific to what the character is.”
Barry concurred with Carleigh, noting “I always make sure these characters are authentic. The most important conversation is the one I have with my actor because they’re the ones bringing our work to life. The look that we create together always leads to the best product.”
As the panel wrapped, the audience was treated to these designers’ best advice for anyone interested in cosplaying. Meghan’s advice was to “Start as simple as possible. I would make the costume and start with muslin. Do it with some basic fabric first to work out those kinks smaller kinks and do not get discouraged if it will take time. The Moon Knight costume was over 803 pieces. The most important thing about cosplaying and creating is to have fun with it and have a great time.” Bernadette also added, “Research the character you want to cosplay and learn the poses and facial expressions. Always go the extra mile. I love when people go for the extra details!”
The panelists gave the audience at San Diego Comic-Con a wealth of information on the “making of” their favorite on-screen characters, feeling inspired with new information and insight for their own design and cosplay pursuits.