The FX series What We Do in the Shadows follows a group of vampire housemates living in the modern world. With her deadpan humor and silliness, it makes sense that costume designer Laura Montgomery would want to keep things in place throughout the FX series. Along with set designer Kate Bunch, Montgomery creates the backdrop for this wild and spooky spectacle.
What We Do in the Shadows is based on a movie of the same name
The FX series What We Do in the Shadows is based on a 2014 mockumentary of the same name. The film follows four vampire housemates living in a flat in present-day Wellington. The vampires, Deacon, Viago, Vladislav and Petyr grant a film crew access to their home to create a documentary.
The TV series follows a similar premise with an all-new team of vampires. This time around, the roommates live in Staten Island, NY. The series expanded on the world of film, created by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. He introduced “energy vampires” such as Colin Robinson, who drain emotional energy rather than blood. The series also exposed vampires’ feud with werewolves.
Laura Montgomery creates a “grounded” costume for the FX series
Costume designer Laura Montgomery joined the team to work on FX’s What We Do in the Shadows. “I was a huge fan of the movie, so I was really excited to join the show,” Montgomery told Variety.
“I think the most important thing for me because it’s such a fantastical setting is that the costumes are grounded in truth. The tone of the show finds its humor in everyday things.
Each vampire also has their own unique background, which Montgomery took into account when dressing the characters. Nandor the Relentless is over 750 years old and once served as a soldier in the Ottoman Empire. Laszlo was an English noble and Nadja is a Romani vampire.
“The research is my absolute favorite part, and this show is great because you don’t have to be perfect about it. It starts with the conceit that you know these vampires somehow got stuck in the period where they were human,” Montgomery told The Art of Costume.
Although the series is set in modern times, Montogomery is able to play with pieces from different eras. “We have the freedom to use elements from the 80s – they’ve been through all the decades. We can say, oh, they picked up this piece when they were clubbing in the 90s, or they picked up something, you know they’ve got all these pieces collected.
‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Costumes Change With Each Character
According to Variety, vampires can even sometimes be seen wearing a garment of their last victims. Montgomery also adapts each character’s costumes over the seasons. The character of Harvey Guillén Guillermo de la Cruz in particular tells a story through the wardrobe. Guillermo, the familiar human, starts the series off with a few chunky sweaters, but transitions into a bolder look as the character grows more confident.
“[Laura Montgomery] and I’m talking about the color palette,” Guillén told Variety. “We talk about how my character’s clothes all started out with earth tones and browns and then moved to little bits of teal.”
What we do in the shadows returns with new episodes on July 12.
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