Notes and images
Pablo Picasso was and continues to be one of the most influential, famous and succesful artists of the 20th century. He was forever transforming his art and was masterful in many techniques, painting, ceramics, print making, sculpting. He was a painter, stage writer and a poet. He was an influential figure even in politics, Guernica still remains a symbol of anti-war and his dove is the international symbol of Peace. I delved into intense research as soon as we found out that our next Genius would be Picasso and was to be played by Antonio Banderas. I had to find a way to weave in Picasso's bigger than life essence into the costumes we were going to build for one of the most known and loved actors of our times. Besides reading books, researching archive photographs, I saw hours and hours of documentary on his life and started learning about the man and the artist from the different points of view. Picasso had lived through an entire century almost, he died at the age of 93 and his art and dressing style underwent dramatic changes through the decades. Picasso though being a small man physically had a bold and dominating quality to him. His charisma and strong personality comes across every single photograph. He wore his clothes with ease and nonchalance. So when I started the process of creating costumes for Antonio, I had to keep in mind that Antonio was much taller and leaner than Picasso. Ken Biller, our showrunner asked me to find a way to make Antonio look shorter and broader for the visual impact. Picasso is well known to most people all around the world. Not everyone may know the volume of his art but they certainly recognize the man, the artist. One of the first things I did was have the suits for Antonio made a bit bigger than his actual size and all of his jackets lengthened: I had high waisted trousers made which were baggier and a little bit longer in the hem. The fabrics I used were heavy wools which gave the suits a bulkier feel, making Antonio look broader and shorter. The first time he tried the trousers on at the costume fittings in Paris, he put his hands in the pockets, stood up straight , feet pointed and said "Yes, I feel him." that was all the confirmation I needed to carry on in the direction I had taken. I wanted to make sure that there was a fluid transition and similar aspects to the costumes I had made for the young Pablo played by Alex Rich. We used similar adjusments to all of Alex's costumes too. For the later part of Piacsso's life, I recreated some of his iconic looks, the striped and plaid trousers, the Breton jerseys, the printed shirts he loved, the red chenille polo, the soft ivory cashmere jumpers he was often seen in. I created a wardrobe of bold and eccentric clothing based on the well documented archive photographs. Antonio and Alex both loved all of this. We made some of the jewelry Picasso wore too, a few tie pins and rings. Antonio had seen a documentary of the older Picasso wearing an extra broad gold ring on his thumb, he loved it and showed the foootage to me and I was happy to have it made and incorporated into his wardrobe.
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The Young Pablo