Perhaps the mistaken notion would be that dressing the same actress, albeit for different roles, is easy. After all, she is just one petite woman.
But Tatiana Maslany who has played eight clones, some of whom have been killed off, sports very different looks for each character on BBC America’s “Orphan Black” which has its second season finale Saturday, June 21.
“Working with one actress is not easier,” says Darci Cheyne, assistant costume designer. “She is on the floor acting. And getting research in, because she is always on the floor is a bit of a challenge; making one person look so different and we need to get everybody’s ideas (before) going into the stores and then seeing if this is what everybody wanted.”
As Sarah Manning, the street-wise protagonist of the story, she dresses down.
“Sarah was really undercover and trying to not be noticed,” Cheyne says. “She is a bit fashionable with the pleather pants she wore the same clothes for the first four episodes. She was not thinking about herself.”
Her basic uniform is a black hoodie a Brandy Melville jean jacket and Army-inspired ankle boots.
On the other end of the fashion spectrum is Rachel Duncan, the pro clone, who has always known she was a clone. Cheyne describes as having a “really cool, calculating, hard, feminine but not soft,” look.
She’s worn Armani suits and her sleek, tailored suits come from Femme De Carriere in Toronto. Her stilettos are Manolo Blahniks.
Two of the other clones fall somewhere in between these two extremes. There’s Alison, who’s the Stepford Wife of the clones. The silk-screened lilac T-shirt is from her theater group, the hoody and vest were carried over from Season 1 and she pretty much lives in Lululemon yoga pants. She wears sneakers, rehearsal shoes at the theater.
This being a show of intrigue, it’s not surprising that one clone could impersonate another. Here, Sarah is pretending to be Cosima. Though she wears Cosima’s red coat and glasses, she has on Sarah’s pleather pants, giving viewers the visual aid they need to keep track of which clone this really is.
Cosima, a scientist, favors lush reds and burgundies and heels.
Not surprisingly, giving one actress so many different looks all starts with a solid foundation, and that, Cheyne says, comes down to the all-important bra.
“Every time I have a fitting with Tatiana she would want to know who we are fitting,” Cheyne says. “And she would want the undergarments and build from the inside. If it’s Alison, it’s a sports bra or if it’s Cosima, it’s a push-up bra.”
“The fitting experience was really exciting,” Cheyne says. “Tatiana walks into the room and trying on the clothes and starts being the character. When we did Alison she did not look at camera because Alison wouldn’t look at the camera. Watching her get into the clothes and get into the character was really a special experience.”