Behind the Scenes

The Clothes

Sarah Arthur
(Costume Designer)

This fifth series has been enormous fun and I think it has more themes than any other series, which means there have been a huge variety of outfits.

This series features a Pride and Prejudice styled wedding, an Egyptian wedding, a pink themed house-warming party, a Parisian fashion shoot plus various themed parties and glamorous wives lunches.

The series also features the arrival of two new characters, Tre and Liberty who each have a very unique style so this has made this series much more diverse, colourful and original. It was fantastic as both Chucky Venice and Phina Oruche, who play these two characters, were both very game to try something different and therefore we were able to put them in some very eye-catching outfits. Chucky's character Tre wears a lot of bright suits and lots of bling whereas Liberty, who Phina plays, tends to wear very short outfits. So we had a lot of fun coming up with their outfits.

In the fifth and sixth episodes we welcomed Joan Collins as a guest role. She plays a wonderful character called Eva De Wolffe - the name alone speaks volumes! Joan and I had a few discussions about what we thought Eva would wear. Joan had some fabulous ideas. As her character Eva is flamboyant, wealthy and very beautifully dressed, we really could go to town. And as with all our Footballers' Wives characters we never see her in the same outfit! We sourced some lovely pieces for her. The character wears wonderful Philip Treacey hats and head pieces. Plus we used the most wonderful fine jewellery from a bespoke London jeweller called Geoffrey Rowlandson who makes the most fantastic one-off pieces. So with the combination of the clothes and the jewels the character of Eva just exudes immense amounts of wealth and power.

Most of the existing characters' styles have remained the same this series. The only exception is Lucy Milligan played by Helen Latham. We gave her a much more glam look this series, as in the storylines Lucy gets back in to her fashion designs so we needed to make sure her clothes were reflective of someone who was designing their own original creations.

Shannon's style has changed enormously since her first series; she has become a lot more refined and tends to wear more labels now. She looks very different from when she first arrived.

Footballers' Wives is such fun to work on and it is becoming renowned for its fashions and looks. The more series of Footballers' Wives we do, the more assistance we get in terms of clothes. Certain designers that perhaps were reluctant originally to provide us with outfits now are very happy to be associated with the program. A company called Gorland have always been extremely helpful - they are distributors for high end labels such as Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Armani and they allow me to buy samples for the next season. Buying samples in advance is extremely handy and we are very grateful as this means when the program goes on television, the cast are dressed in fashions that are current. TK Maxx is also very good, especially for picking up some good quality bargains. I also go to the Harrods sale and buy discounted designer stock.

I do tend to buy outfits rather than hire them. Because of the nature of filming we generally need to hang on to the outfits for a longer time than people are willing to loan them, just so we have them on hand in case we need them again for filming pick ups. If they are samples, they usually want them back quite quickly so they can send them out to someone else. Therefore it is more of a practical decision for us to buy the outfits than anything else.

When a new cast member starts on the show we always have a meeting with them to discuss the character they are playing and discuss what they are likely to be wearing. We get a character breakdown for the role plus we will read the scripts to see what they are like and what they are doing in the storylines.

There is usually a period of time at the beginning of their role on the show when a new cast member might be a little wary of costume suggestions. But once they realise I'm not going to put them in anything that isn't going to make them look good they are fine. Occasionally they may make their own suggestions too.

Sarah Barrand had a lot of her outfits for Shannon fitted with diamantes and stones by a shop called Rohda Rocks who are based in Clifton, Bristol. They incorporate Swarovski crystal stoning into tops / bags / accessories / shoes and this has been very useful considering we do like to have that "bling" look. This shop also made a few of her dresses.

If there is a themed event or party we can make outfits as it is obviously a more specific theme. For example the wedding outfits for both Tre and Liberty's Egyptian themed wedding were made by us, as was an outfit Tanya wears at her Brazilian party.

We did have more themes than usual this series so we did make more of the costumes than we normally would. However, we do try and avoid making outfits where we can as they are very time consuming but sometimes they are necessary if we want to bring the most to a scene.

When we are between series we often have our eyes peeled for good Footballers' Wives styled clothes. It's fun seeing what people are wearing and what is available. We do actually buy a lot outfits in anticipation for a forthcoming series, as I tend to have a fairly good idea of what will be used. So if I see there is a sample sale we tend to make the most of it and buy up, however this does mean there can be quite a few items we don't use as much as we would hope. Also buying for the show can be hard as we don't get all the scripts for the series prior to filming so we have to source outfits as we go along.

The outfits for Bruno and Lucy's Pride and Prejudice styled wedding were mainly hires as it was period-themed - we did this because we didn't have the time or the budget to make these outfits. We used a props hire company and hired outfits we liked and then added things like trimmings and accessories to make them more unique.

Footballers' Wives is a fantastic show to work on. It is very hard work as every episode requires so much and we have to make our budget work very, very hard for us. Amusingly enough, we don't have the luxury of a premier footballer's salary to spend!