We call this the rabbit hole project, because the more we analyzed it, the more detail appeared before our very eyes. We did this prior to the movie release which is more challenging since only a select amount of photos were available on the internet to study.
Dr. Strange Costume Cape. Just about as detailed as you can get. Custom clasps, custom embroidery, custom cording work, custom dye work, textures, and a truly complicated custom patterned lining.
Above: In order to study the lining, we took a screen capture of the best available shot to see the design pattern. The pattern is aged and faded with symbols of a bird that are rotated in different directions in every square. There are also color changes and gradients to the coloring plus an overlay of what appears to be "thread bare" sections. To create the lining fabric this was definitely a challenge.
Left: The fabric print we came up with. Layers of aging, texture, rotation of the birds, fading, and gradient coloring. After that we need to check the repeat and make adjustments so that it works as a whole.
Below: Repeat pattern adjusted.
We had about 35 shots varying from behind the scenes clips, promotional photos, and image releases for the upcoming film. In analyzing shots, sometimes an image becomes unhelpful if you don't see a different angle or up close detail. In order to not have to go back to 35 shots to figure things out, we made detailed sketches of the angles with detail captured from our study of the available images. This helped us condense what we were seeing and be able to decide and translate the images into notes and visual shapes.
Now that we had solid line drawings to work from, it was time to search for the perfect fabrics. This was not going to be an easy task. Since the cape utilized several different types of fabrics and yet looked seamless, we needed to find the textures we needed but also match the reds. Sometimes you are lucky - but preparing for the unlucky that we could find all the materials in exactly the right shade, dying becomes essential.
In studying the fabrics, we look very closely at the texture of the fabric, the movement in the images, and take into consideration the story and the character's personality to judge what may have been used. Sadly there is not always a full description on the techniques used in a costume or the fabrics used. Replicating takes an extra skill because if the material you are looking for isn't available or easily accessible to you but it was to the original designer, you have to create it rather than just purchase it off the shelf.
In studying this character we determined that his lining looked almost like an old quilt or blanket possibly made of cotton. This made judging the rest of the cape fabrics a bit easier because it narrowed down the choices of what pairs well with cotton - linens, upholstery fabrics, other cottons, wovens. Nothing shiny or stretchy. It also looks like inspiration came from Japanese influences of kimonos and monk style robes. This also is consistent with dull finishes and comfortable fabrics that move and breathe easily. All and all we set to find nice linens, cottons, and upholstery fabric combinations to tackle this costume for the right look and feel.
Below is a gallery of final images after our study and creation of this costume. Note that due to budget constraints with our client, when creating this piece we could not do a 100% replica to make sure we stayed within budget. Some of the areas where you will see this is in the simplicity of the armbands, no detail on the back of the tunic, and doing boot spats instead of full on boots.