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Costume Design

For costume designer Caroline Harris, it was important for the clothes to reinforce the themes and relationships in the film and to feel true to the period without being harnessed by a need for authenticity.

"We wanted Amy's look to be very simple, to reflect her station in life, but we also wanted the clothes to express the fact that she is a collector of things," says Harris. "She has very little vanity so she only has four costumes, but I put a lot of texture into her outfits so that although they're plain, they have an attractive richness on the screen."

Harris' choices of fabrics were dictated by her characters' positions in society. "I couldn't use silks and satins because those fabrics would have been beyond the means of the characters," she says. "So I incorporated fisherman's oilskins into costumes such as Amy's coat and skirts, which have a wonderful sheen on the screen. I also put shiny panels into her best dress to indicate that she is a keeper of found objects. When we first see her in her cave of treasures, we understand that the fabric could have been something she had collected."

The film's location also played a large part in Harris' wardrobe decisions. In keeping with the sea theme, she avoided brown and beige and instead used colors such as sea green and turquoise to reflect the fact that the sea is such an important element of the story. The result is an understated simplicity in the design of the clothes, but also a richness of texture and color. The costumes achieve the rare feat of having an authentic period feel while also appealing to contemporary fashion sense.

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