From the set of the next Avengers film, costume designer Judianna Makovsky spoke of working in the world of Marvel Studios’ superheroes, with her previous project, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, now in theaters. “If you don’t want to just do contemporary, make fun costumes, and learn all of the new techniques, this is the place to be,” she said of her latest gig in a career that began in the mid-1980s.
Though she is new to the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Makovsky settled easily into her chores on the film, even with a very popular first film to surpass. “The bar gets raised on every one of these films,” she revealed, “sewing and molding — it takes it all to another level — new printing techniques, laser cutting, laser etching. You try and one-up it every time.”
As Makovsky agreed that first Guardians’ costumes were beautifully designed, she had a template from which to work and build, with input from director James Gunn. “He wanted the principals a little more rock star and less sci-fi,” she explained of the returning characters, with new characters to additionally produce. “[Gunn] had his vision that the principals now are the guardians, they are a family.”
Working with a large crew, Makovsky made all of the principal costumes in-house in Los Angeles and at a smaller costume-making facility in Georgia. “For the background [characters], 200 we sent out for the base parts of them, and brought them back to do the detail work; the rest was done in-house,” she detailed. “I had about five-six months to make the costumes,” not enough according to Makovsky, “by the time you get prototypes, sculpting, and molding.”
Before filming began, Makovsky flew back and forth from Georgia to Los Angeles for costume fittings, with actors on various other projects all over the world. She then worked closely with Legacy EFX to fabricate molds for pieces of the costumes. Succeeding that, Makovsky would regularly supervise her manufacturing crew of cutters, seamstresses throughout pre-production, stating, “I have access to the best of the best.”
Once production began in Georgia, Makovsky was routinely on set for both first and second unit, especially, she noted, when a new costume was introduced. “I pull back on the clothes deliberately,” she expressed. “I want you to see the people.”
Having now worked with Gunn and repetitively with directors such as Francis Coppola and Gary Ross, Makovsky stated that her job description does change from project-to-project. “Each director has a vision for that film,” she related. “You need to adapt. James was wonderful — with James, you can go crazy with color. That’s what’s so wonderful about movies; you do something new each time. The minute you start a movie, you are starting from scratch.”