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May 26, 2014

So last week I received a cheeky little email inviting me to attend the Chrissie Pegg costume design work shop organised by St.Davids, and boy oh boy was I excited. After a long day at work both myself and Josie rushed into town in the pouring rain quite unsure of what to expect! 

It might help if I tell you a bit more about Chrissie Pegg herself before I go into details about the evening. Pegg is a lovely lady who had studied Fashion and Theatre design and has worked with some of the most respected people within the industry - Twiggy and Tom Jones just to name a few. After much experience in the industry and the opening of her own company Script to Screen, Pegg went on to win the BAFTA CYMRU award for her costume design in Sci-fi movie The Machine. This itself was the movie that the costume design workshop was focused on.

As soon as we reached the destination, we were greeted with a lovely gift bag and copious amounts of wine and nibbles. First impression - I could get used to this! As soon as we took a seat we were sipping on our wine and fiddling with our gift bags full of excitement trying to figure out what was inside of them when we got approached by Pegg herself. She was such a lovely down to earth woman and had a general chit chat with us to get us in the mood for the evening so we knew what to expect!

Promptly after, Pegg took to the centre of the room and talked us through a fabulous presentation that described the process of costume design. Let me just tell you, some of the stuff she was saying had me absolutely gob smacked. She had two weeks to create 100 costumes for this film and had a £40 budget per outfit. With just one assistant on hand, I cannot even begin the amount of stress that this would have caused Pegg. But she herself proclaimed that this was part of the fun, small budget films such as The Machine she argued gives her a challenge which she finds extremely entertaining! This rang many alarm bells in my head, I find it quite shocking how the costume/fashion budget of films seems to be so minimalistic, especially when it does deserve a lot of effort. Lets just hope and pray this will change in the future, and hopefully it will gain more recognition for how much effort is put into it!

This effort is recognisable in the outfit you can see above. It's quite weird looking, right? This was the costume for the main character Ava. This is a costume that represents a fleshy feeling and texture to it, and it was an extremely weird feeling to hold it as it got passed around the room. This itself was a challenge for Pegg to get hold of which I can fully understand. I mean come on, getting hold of a fleshy suit is never that easy! But after a lot of consideration she decided the best place to go was fetish websites. This had us all giggling, especially when she mentioned that it was her son who helped her find it! Poor boy ey! These are extremely expensive costumes though as you can imagine and an enormous struggle when theres only a £40 budget, but with Pegg's persuasion she managed to get this for free and it was made by the same people who worked with the likes of Lady Gaga! The character Ava was definitely my favourite character that Pegg had taken us through. My highlight would be Pegg mentioning how actress Caity Lotz was not keen on the padding up of her body when she was playing a human who to fit the brief needed to be curvy. She herself called the padding "tranny pants" which had grown on Lotz in the end and she had taken them back to LA when she fancied having curves on a night out! Maybe "tranny pants" might take over LA!

As the presentation went on, we began to find out more about Pegg as a person. She admitted that her house was taken over by the costume design, and how much it does take over your life when you start getting into it. All of this however just seems to be part of the fun, and she seems extremely committed to her job so I can understand the importance of dedicating so much of her time to it. She has always had a creative imagination, and believes that this has stemmed from her father reading her stories from a young age. The advice she gave was extremely helpful, don't give up and be passionate by grabbing onto every single opportunity that is given to you. I guess she is more than right here, whatever you want to do with your life, you never know who that person is in front of you so have a chat with them because they might just help you out! The one thing that stood out to me whilst I was listening was that she was very bold when she stated that you will always be learning. Wise words Pegg, wise words!

Once the presentation had finished, we decided it was time to network a tiny little bit. We had a lovely little chat with some fellow bloggers and then went on to chat a bit more to Pegg. She took us through some of the costumes as you can see from the movie and explained how crazy the process sometimes can be. For example, standing there with a cheese grater and burning some clothes sounds pretty wild!

Overall, Pegg is a very inspiring lady and I look forward to seeing more work that she has on the cards. The main lesson that I had learnt from this workshop is to begin to take more notice of the textiles and fashions on the big screen, and appreciate how much work on such a low budget is put into it!

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