BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | NOMAD BOOKS

Just a short walk away from Parsons Green you can find the lovely Nomad Books – our September Bookshop of the Month. As you enter the store you will walk into a grown up, warm and inviting space with dark wooden shelves and tables of carefully selected titles asking you to spend some time with them, taking in the beautiful covers and examining the blurbs. This space feels like a literary lounge and it’s just right. As you work your way through the shop there is a corridor full of cards, gifts and stationery leading to the expansive children’s area at the back. In delightful contrast to the front of the store this space is brighter with a large, welcoming sofa – perfect for reading together – and a small table and chairs nestled in the corner for the inquisitive toddler to dive into their favourite book. We especially like the display table dedicated to an array of gorgeous hardback picture books that are wonderful gifts in and of themselves.

 

Nomad Books is a bookshop that you will want to spend time in, browsing the shelves and chatting to the wonderful bookselling team who are so passionate about what they do. We caught up with the store manager Aude, who, alongside Emma (Fiction and Book Club) and Tara (Children’s Books and Admin), answered a few questions for us:

1. Congratulations on winning Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe Nomad Books in three words?
We. Love. Books. It’s the best way to describe Nomad!

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?
The big and amazing children’s section is the best spot in the bookshop (provided there are not too many children in there

3. Where do you like to read?
In the bath (Emma), in bed (Tara) and I love to read on the Tube. Preferably hardbacks!

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be?
Emma would be a luxury hotels tester, Tara a beekeeper and I would be one of Beyoncé’s dancers

5. Excluding Nomad Books – What is your favourite bookshop?
Gosh! Comics in Soho. One of the nicest places on Earth!

Nomad Books can be found at:
781 Fulham Rd, Fulham
London, SW6 5HA

Follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

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Devil & the Bluebird | Chapter Preview

The Devil and the Bluebird

Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass. Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself up to finding family in unexpected places.

In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a captivating depiction of loss and hope.

Dive into this captivating book today, click here to read the first two chapters!

The Steep & Thorny Way | Chapter Preview

“It was a beautiful book. With a beautiful story. I couldn’t have loved it more than I did. The Steep and Thorny Way is one of a kind.” Carina Olsen
“I was completely swept away by this Hamlet-inspired supernatural/historical mashup where the people are scarier than the ghosts. Spectacular.” Kate Ormand

The Steep and Thorny Way

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.

A thrilling re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

Read the first chapter of this thrilling new historical fiction from Cat Winters today: The Steep & Thorny Way 1st Chapter.

99 Things That Bring Me Joy.

99 things

This month Abrams brought us this beautiful journal to collect some of our favourite things in.

*Breaks out into My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music*

And of course, we couldn’t wait to give it ago ourselves! Full of excitement we opened the beautiful foil embellished cover. squealed about the TWO ribbon markers, and got to work on our list of Favourite Books (predictable, we know).

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But with prompts like The Most Useful Thing You Own, Someone Who Makes You Laugh and A Piece of Wisdom Someone Gave You this little journal has us reflecting on the subtle little things that bring us joy. When completed this journal will be a physical reminder of life’s distinct little pleasures.

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Grab your copy now! And let us know your favourite prompt using #99Joys. 

 

Live Colourfully

Live Colourfully.

We don’t know about you, but we are completely obsessed with instagram and aspire to fill our account with warm and colourful pictures. So when this beautiful book; Lartigue: Life In Color, landed at A&CB towers we couldn’t wait to share it. Filled with colour photographs by Jacques Henri Lartique it has us brimming with inspiration.

Lartigue: Life in Color

Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894–1986) was the best-known “amateur” in the history of photography, famously discovered by the art world and given an exhibition at MoMA in New York when he was in his late sixties. He began by recording the pastimes and customs of his wealthy Parisian milieu, indulging his fascination with sports and aviation, and throughout his long life he was never without his camera. His friendships extended to the superstars of French culture, but he also made thousands of photographs of his family, wives and lovers. His work was irresistibly warm and engaging.

Open Book, Lartigue
Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture – France / AAJHL

 

Although best known for his black-and-white work, Lartigue loved colour film, experimenting with the Autochrome process in the teens and twenties and embracing Ektachrome in the late 1940s. His colour work, reproduced here for the first time, is astonishingly fresh: the French countryside, the women in his life, famous friends and glimpses from his travels all come alive in this delightful book.

Open Book, Lartigue
Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture – France / AAJHL

 

This divine book has us dreaming of hopping on the Eurostar and filling our Instagram with colour!

Lartigue, open book
Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture – France / AAJHL

 

The many benefits of Colouring.

Colouring Books

It is no secret that the colouring trend is big business these days. Over the past year there have been a multitude of colouring books hitting the market and, alongside this, there has been an influx of expertise as to WHY we should be picking up our pens and pencils and returning to this treasured childhood pastime.

The many benefits of switching off and picking-up your colouring pencils have been long recognised by the mental health industry. True story: Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, even prescribed colouring to his patients to calm them and relieve their anxiety. It is a tool art therapists have long been prescribing to patients and in more recent years, clinical psychologists have concluded that colouring relaxes the fear centre of the brain and allows your mind to get the rest it needs.

Colouring also trains your brain to focus. So not only are you reducing stress you could, in theory, improve your productivity when you put down the pencils and pick-up your e-mails! The theory goes; staying inside the lines takes focus and being able to “live in the moment” is training your brain to put aside distractions. Plus, colouring requires the two hemispheres of your brain to communicate and the activity itself improves your fine motor skills and vision; think of colouring-in as a gateway to your creativity! Start by adding your touch to black and white designs, next step your own masterpiece.

Colour Me In

Even if you think the health benefits are poppycock, what you can’t deny is as the number of hours we work a week get longer and our attention constantly demanded by devices buzzing and beeping we need something to help us unwind. Colouring-in allows us to unplug, to concentrate on filling the page and shut out the world around.

No wifi.
No TV.
No Whatsapp.
Just coloured pencils (or crayons or felt-tip pens!)

There is a colouring book for everyone, checkout the collection we have on our website.

Midsummer’s Day Blackberry Thyme Cake with Honey–Goat Cheese Frosting

Summer means blackberry picking and we’ve got the perfect recipe for you this Midsummer’s Day from Hannah Queen’s Honey & Jam!

© 2015 Hannah Queen
© 2015 Hannah Queen

In late July my sister and I brave the thorny blackberry bushes in our backyard and are rewarded with baskets full of ripe berries. When we’ve had our fill of eating them by the handful, I like to use up whatever is left by making this cake.

Serves 8

For the cake and assembly:

3 cups (300 g) fresh blackberries, plus more for garnishing

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

1 teaspoon thyme leaves, plus more for garnishing

1²⁄³ cups (215 g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk

For the frosting:

4 ounces (115 g) goat cheese, room temperature

4 ounces (115 g) cream cheese, room temperature

¹⁄³ cup (75 ml) honey

About 2 cups (200 g) powdered sugar

To make the cake:

In a small bowl, stir together the blackberries, honey and thyme.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 6-inch (15-cm) round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the mixer bowl, beginning and ending with the flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, and top each with 1 cup of the blackberry mixture.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans before turning the layers out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the goat cheese and cream cheese until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the honey. Reduce the speed and add the powdered sugar ½ cup (50 g) at a time.

To assemble the cake:

Place one cake layer on a plate and spread the top with frosting, then add the remaining blackberry mixture. Set the remaining cake layer on top and cover the outside of the cake with frosting. Top with fresh blackberries and thyme.

Text and Images from Honey & Jam by Hannah Queen published by ABRAMS Stewart Tabori and Chang.

© 2015 Hannah Queen

Recipe for the Weekend: Cheesy Spinach Empanadas

Have you ever had an Empanada?

No?

Well there is no time like the present! Try your hand at making these Cheesy Spinach Empanadas from Sandra Gutierrez’s book Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America.

Empanadas

Cheesy Spinach Empanadas

* Empanadas de Espinaca y Queso * Argentina *

These plump hand-held pies embellished by ropelike edges are stuffed with a hearty, creamy, and comforting filling. I first ate these empanadas in the Argentinean Embassy in Guatemala back in the 1970s. Years later, riding the subway in Toronto, Canada, I overheard two Argentinean cooks comparing notes on their spinach empanadas. I paid close attention. One lady claimed that adding a lot of onions kept the filling moist, while the other insisted that her secret was to add an abundant amount of cheese. This recipe combines the best of what they each had to offer. My big regret is never having had the chance to thank them for the free cooking lesson.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (120 g) finely chopped white onions
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound (455 g) washed, drained, and chopped fresh spinach or baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 21⁄2 cups (300 g) shredded mozzarella
  • 13⁄4 cups (420 ml) whole milk ricotta
  • 1⁄2 cup (60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 recipe Bread Dough (see below)
  • Egg wash, made with 1 beaten egg and
  • 2 teaspoons water

Makes 28 empanadas

Make the filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet with high sides over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Add the spinach in batches, stirring it in well (it will cook down to fit in the skillet). Cook until there is no liquid left and the spinach is cooked  through, 8 to 10 minutes (the spinach will still be moist). Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove the filling to a bowl and let it cool completely; cover and chill it for 2 hours. Stir in the mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan to combine; chill the filling again, covered, until ready to use.

Assemble the empanadas: After the filling chills, make the dough as directed on page 30 and let it rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 10 minutes at room temperature. Divide the dough into 28 equal pieces (about 2 ounces/55 g each). Roll each piece into a ball, folding the bottom of the dough onto itself so that the ends are at the bottom and the tops are smooth (the way you’d shape rolls). Place them on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover them with a clean towel; let them rest for 10 minutes. On a well-floured surface, press each ball slightly into a disc. Line a tortilla press with a zip-top freezer bag that has been cut open on three sides so that it opens like a book. Place a disc in the middle of the tortilla press and flatten it into a 5-inch (12-cm) round, about 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) thick (or roll it out with a rolling pin). Stack the discs with parchment paper in between to avoid sticking.

Line three baking sheets with parchment paper; set them aside. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling in the centre of each disc. Fold the bottom of the dough to meet the top of the disc, encasing the filling and forming a half-moon, and press the edges together well. Make 1/2-inch (12-mm) edges by pressing the rims between your fingers using the repulgue method (see below). The empanadas can sit at room temperature uncovered for 20 minutes before baking or can be refrigerated for up to 1 hour before baking.

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Bake the empanadas and serve: Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Place the empanadas on the prepared pans and brush them with the egg wash. Bake the empanadas for 28 to 30 minutes, or until golden (rotate the pans in the oven halfway through baking, back to front and top to bottom, to ensure that all of the empanadas bake evenly). Transfer the empanadas to a cooling rack; let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: To freeze these empanadas, cool them to room temperature; set them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them until solid. When solid, transfer them to zip-top bags or freezer boxes and freeze them for up to 4 months. Reheat them in a 350°F (175°C) oven until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Bread Dough recipe

This is the classic recipe for dough that produces bread-like empanadas with crispy edges and paper-thin centres. The dough is extremely elastic and gives a lot when filled, allowing copious amounts of scrumptious ingredients to be stuffed inside. You’ll want to start this dough long after the fillings are prepared and chilled, so that the empanadas can be filled shortly after the dough is made. This delicate dough must be cut while still warm. It’s important to add the right amount of water—too little, and the dough will be brittle, but too much and the discs will stick to each other, making them a nightmare to shape. Keep extra flour nearby, and dust each disc after shaping it with a bit of flour so they won’t stick together. I also stack the finished discs between pieces of waxed or parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. If you’re an advanced empanada maker, you may prefer to fill each empanada after shaping each disc. Many South American bakers prefer beef lard or suet (grasa de pella) to pork lard, but it’s easier to find the latter; use either one in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 81⁄2 cups (1.1 kg) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 3⁄4 cup (180 ml) melted pork or beef lard (or vegetable shortening)
  • 21⁄2 cups (600 ml) hot water (140°F/60°C)
  • Parchment paper cut into 28 (5-by-5-inch/12-by-12-cm) squares

Makes 22 to 29 empanadas

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre. Add the lard and 2 cups (480 ml) of the water. Stir well with a spatula, until the dough starts coming together. Switch to your hands and add the remaining ½ cup (120 ml) water, kneading until the dough comes together (it will be soft and sticky). Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 to 2 minutes (adding more flour as needed), until the dough holds together in a ball and no longer sticks to your fingers. Return the dough to the bowl; cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes.

The Repulgue Method

Empanadas are sealed with a variety of methods. Sometimes the edges of the dough are simply pressed together, and sometimes the tines of a fork add decoration, while rustic folds are added to others. The most intricate design is created by the pinch-and-fold method used to seal South American empanadas, which creates rope-like edges. The method is called repulgue, because the thumb (pulgar) does most of the work.

To make the rope edges, you must form a rim (depending on the kind of dough you’re using, you’ll do this by either stretching it or by pressing it together), until it’s about ½ inch (12 mm) wide.

Starting at one end of the empanada and using your right thumb and index finger, lift the dough and roll a small section of dough inward, pressing it into the rim (the index finger will be more like a guide). Repeat by grabbing another small section of dough right next to where you pinched and, using your thumb and index fingers, roll it inward between your fingers and pinch it again into the rim, tightly. Keep doing this all around the edge and soon you’ll see a rope-like design taking shape as you go.

Argentinean cooks say that a true empanada has thirteen repulgues. The smaller the sections you pinch, the more detailed the rope design will be. If your edges look more like crimped pie dough than ropes, don’t worry. That means that you’re leaving too much space between the sections you’re rolling. Instead, I suggest that you let them overlap slightly onto each other as you roll. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be rolling and pinching in no time. For practice, use a napkin until you feel comfortable working with the dough.

This method works best with the Bread Dough and with store-bought hojaldrada empanada discs.

The Hand-held Pies of Latin America

Text copyright c 2015 Sandra A. Gutierrez
Photographs copyright c 2015 Tina Rupp

Five Questions Monday – Jory John

The Terrible Two wonder-prankster extraordinaire Jory John takes on our 5 Question Monday!

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How do you like your eggs in the morning?

I went through a phase where I tried to convince myself that I enjoyed hard-boiled eggs, but it didn’t stick. I’m a scrambled eggs guy, through and through.

What’s your favourite joke?

I like jokes without punchlines. In fact, some people wouldn’t even call them jokes. Some people would call them statements with attitude. This is all a way of saying that I can’t really remember jokes.

What film character are you most like?

I’ll slightly amend this question and say that I’d like to be like the fellow George Clooney plays in Up in the Air. At least the part of him that’s good at travelling. Not the part that’s good at firing people from their jobs.

What’s the first book you ever read?

I want to say Where the Red Fern Grows, but that can’t possibly be right.

Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?

Probably invisible. I already feel on edge, just from my own internal monologue.

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John is the tale of Miles Murphy who is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game. It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.

Published by Abrams Books tomorrow, the 3rd of March 2015! Available here!

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the wes anderson style: an interview with milena canonero

A deserving winner of countless awards this season, The Grand Budapest Hotel has been recognised for their outstanding costumes by the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAG Awards and Costume Designers Guild to name but a few.

Ahead of the Academy Awards we are sharing an exclusive interview with Costume Designer Milena Canonero from the pages of The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel on the work that goes into creating a whimsical, Wes Anderson wardrobe.

The Grand Budapest Hotel published by Abrams Books
The Grand Budapest Hotel published by Abrams Books

Milena Canonero grew up in Genoa, Italy, before moving to England to finish her studies.  Canonero’s film career started with Stanley Kubrick when she designed the costumes for three of his films: A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975, for which she won the first of her three Academy Awards), and The Shining (1980). She has worked with Alan Parker (Midnight Express, 1978), Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire, 1981, for which she won her second Oscar), Francis Ford Coppola (The Cotton Club, 1984; The Godfather: Part III, 1990), Sydney Pollock (Out of Africa, 1985), Louis Malle (Damage, 1992), Warren Beatty (Dick Tracy, 1990; Bulworth, 1998), Julie Taymor (Titus, 1999), Roman Polanski (Carnage, 2011), and Manoel de Oliveira (Belle toujours, 2006). Her work with Sofia Coppola on Marie Antoinette (2006) brought Canonero her third Oscar. She has collaborated with Wes Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).

 

Matt Zoller Seitz: Were you familiar with Wes Anderson’s films before you started work on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou? What did you think of his movies as visual statements? 

Milena Canonero: I had seen his movies and how his work had evolved into a sophisticated, highly personal cinematic style. Wes is not only a film director, but an author. Like a great painter’s, his work is very identifiable, and unique to him. His visionary world is very inspiring; I completely submerge myself into it.

What is it like to work with him on a day-to-day level?

Wes is particular about details, and so am I. He is very specific, and yet he also leaves you a lot of space. He wants input and ideas. The “look” of the characters, when not specified in the script, evolved over the course of much discussion. I have continuous exchanges with Wes via e-mail, his favourite medium lately, but he is also very available in person, even when he’s under the pressure of a film shoot. I work closely with the production designer and the cinematography, so that everything comes together as a whole—especially in the overall colour palette of the movie. Colours have their own music, and Wes cares a lot that they are the right notes.

How did Wes describe the world of this film to you? Did he have any specific or general suggestions for how he wanted the clothes to look?

He told me he wanted to set the movie in an invented northern European Teutonic country, sometime in the 1930s, and for the opening sequence in the 1960s, he wanted Eastern European tones. Most of the story would take place in a luxurious mountain hotel resort and the surrounding area. Of course, this being a Wes Anderson movie, the title had nothing to do with the city of Budapest. Therefore, the look could be inventive, with historical innuendos, but at the same time accurate. This story is told through memories and therefore we could develop the look that was able to freeze the image in your mind. Wes’s references of Austrian and German writers, artists of the pre–Second World War period, were a good guideline, but also I looked at the work of August Sander, a great German photographer of the thirties, as well as at old movies and other sources. Of course, during the creative process, the final look of each character evolved. For instance, at the beginning, Ralph Fiennes’s character, M. Gustave, was supposed to be quite blond, with hair like the dyed blond hair of the very old ladies he goes to bed with. But then it seemed more suitable that he would have more realistic auburn hair, with golden highlights.

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Production sketches by The Grand Budapest Hotel costume department. Early treatment of Dmitri.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Were the clothes entirely original, or did you use some vintage items?

We made most of the clothes in our workshop in Görlitz. Some were made at Theaterkunst in Berlin, and all of the uniforms were made at Krzysztof’s costume workshop, Hero Collection, in Poland. I also rented and bought vintage clothes for the extras in the crowd scenes. One of the vintage shops we used in Berlin is called Mimi. Great shop.

How do you work out ideas for costumes before they’re sewn? Do you draw rough versions of them in a sketchbook and then have somebody do more elaborate illustrations when the ideas have settled a bit?

On the other two movies I did with Wes, The Life Aquatic and The Darjeeling Limited, I applied traditional sketching methods to design the look of the characters. On this one, our illustrators used both Photoshop and traditional sketching to incorporate Wes’s and my own ideas. With Photoshop we could get very close to the actors’ likenesses, and then easily do variations and send them to Wes via e-mail. The actors were very pleased because they could relate easily to how their character would look. Having worked on two of Wes’s other movies, I had already worked with some of his “ensemble” actors and it was interesting to change them again to these other characters. Wes had decided that all the men in the movie would have moustaches or beards, save for Jopling and the nasty sergeant in the train. I loved this idea, and it is curious that hardly anyone notices this detail—but it gives a style to the men’s looks.

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Production sketches by The Grand Budapest Hotel costume department

What are some of the materials that you used most often when designing the costumes for this film? Were there particular materials that you considered “workhorse” materials—ones that you perhaps used more often than others?

The purple and mauve facecloth, which is a very densely woven wool used for military uniforms. I wanted to avoid being too classical and using typical subdued colours for the hotel uniforms. I showed Wes the purple and mauve facecloth from an old swatch book from a company called Hainsworth in London. Wes was immediately taken by those colours, which worked beautifully with the set. Then the nightmare began, because I could not find the volume of fabric in that shade anymore, and time wasn’t on our side! But just in the nick of time, we discovered a German company, Mehler, who came to our rescue with an identical fabric, as well as so many of the other great colours that I needed for the movie.

What influences did you bring to bear on the hotel staff’s uniforms?

I used the cut and style of real uniforms of that period, and also many photos of high-end luxury hotel staff.

Can you describe the look of Ralph Fiennes’s character, M. Gustave? What did you hope to convey about the character based on his clothing?

M. Gustave, from the top of his hair to the tip of his shoes, had to give us a sense of perfection and control. He had to be able to move with elegance and freedom. Even when the world he knows collapses, he still maintains his sense of style. This is not at all difficult when you’re working with an accomplished actor like Ralph. It was delicious to watch him perform, and he is a great person to work with.

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Production sketches by The Grand Budapest Hotel’s costume department, a mix of illustration and Photoshop
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Production sketches by The Grand Budapest Hotel costume department

What are Tilda Swinton’s clothes made of?

Silk velvet, for both the dress and the coat. Then I had it hand-painted with design patterns inspired by the paintings of Gustav Klimt. Tilda’s character, Madame D., is eighty-four years old. We had to age her, and a great team from London did that beautifully. Wes described her as a great eccentric beauty and an art collector, belonging outside the fashion of her present time. Therefore I designed the clothes in a retro style, like that of the early twenties. Wes liked that. She just went for this look with incredible ease and so much humour. Fendi, with whom we had a relationship, contributed by making Madame D.’s muff for us, as well as the black diamond mink fur trimmings on her cape and hat. Fendi also made the gray Astrakhan fur overcoat I designed for Edward Norton, and they gave us all the furs I wanted for the movie. Nowadays, movies need the generous input of patrons from the fashion world to help with our costume budgets.

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Production sketches by The Grand Budapest Hotel Costume Department Production sketch of Madame D.

 

Can you tell me a little bit about the look of Willem Dafoe’s character, the assassin Jopling?

The design of Jopling’s leather coat was based on the coats of 1930s military dispatch riders. Our tailor made the toile, and we sent it to Prada, who generously manufactured the coat for us. When we got it back from them, we lined it with a red super-fine wool, and constructed the inside of the front lapel to contain the weapons arsenal as Wes had described it in his script. We made gauntlets gloves, but these were never used, as Wes liked to see the beautiful knuckle-dusters that Waris Ahluwalia had designed and made especially for us, with a skeleton head for each finger. Waris, an actor who has appeared in several of Wes’s movies and here plays one of the concierges, is also a terrific jeweller.

How would you describe the director’s own sense of style, as he appears in daily life?

The Wes Anderson style.

Images and Text from The Grand Budapest Hotel © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.