An Exclusive Interview With Kasia Walicka-Maimone, Costume Designer Of ‘Moonrise Kingdom’

A still from ’Moonrise Kingdom’
Photo: Movie Web

It’s hard not to play favorites when it comes to the costume design in movies this year, but if there’s one movie we want to steal clothes from it’s Moonrise Kingdom. Aside from offering up a 1960s utopia of pink minidresses, Peter Pan collars, Boy Scout accoutrements, knee-socks, saddle-shoes, and the coolest red wool Pendleton coat ever, the Wes Anderson-helmed teen romance was responsible for the most popular couples costume this past Halloween. (How many Suzy and Sam’s did you see?) Whether it was Sam’s raccoon tail hat or Suzy’s raspberry beret, every inch of this flick was emanating serious cinematic fashion magic. Lucky for us, we got to speak to Moonrise Kingdom’s costume designer, Kasia Walicka-Maimone, all about her Costume Designers Guild Awards nomination (she finds out tonight!), what it’s like working with Wes Anderson, and her thoughts on inspiring a Halloween phenomenon.

An inspiration sketch from ’Moonrise Kingdom’
Photo: Courtesy of Kasia Walicka-Maimone

MTV Style: Congratulations on your Costume Designers Guild Awards nomination! Is this your first nomination?

Thank you so much. It is my second nomination; the first one was Capote.

When did you know you wanted to be a costume designer?

I graduated [from] Warsaw University in English Studies writing a Master Thesis about Polish Jazz Musicians in the USA, and I had no idea what to do after that. I started making clothes when I was five and never even thought that it could be a job, but once I realized, it was the most natural thing to do for me. The rest was easy. I studied at FIT—the first school that ever made sense—and left before completion as I started designing numerous plays in Off-Broadway theatre. The path opened up.

What is working with Wes Anderson like?

Wes has incredible visual clarity of the whole movie before the start. Working with him is like playing an extremely challenging Olympic level game of ping-pong.

Did he have a set idea of what the characters should wear or look like? Did you?

He did. I brought very vast visual research, and that’s where it started.

What inspired the costumes for Suzy and Sam?

Scouts, ’60s, photography, memories, and snapshots.

There’s a wonderful interplay of pinks and yellows. In general, how important is color to characterization?

Massive. Colors are powerful, and we all feel them and experience [them] in very similar ways.

What feeling or mood did you want the clothes to bring out of the characters?

Set in a period but timeless. The costume shapes are finalized during the fittings with actors, but they brought the life of the character into the garments.

As you might already know, Suzy and Sam were the most popular costume for couples this past Halloween. What do you make of that? Is it flattering to see your designs recreated?

It’s really, really fun to see! It is always rewarding to [see] that the project you worked on and believe in resonates with others.

And lastly, because we really want this to come true, have you ever thought about designing your own fashion line?

Most probably.

Our fingers are crossed!

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