Episode Seventy-Four: Costume Designing for Film
Susan Nininger started out in the field of fine art creating sculpted ceramic pieces and then realized that she liked “sculpting costumes”. Her big break was in the 90′s when she was given the job costuming Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard. Susan talks to us about working on that film and she also shares with us exactly what her union says she’s allowed to do as a costume designer. We also learn about some other tasks of the costume department and about what it takes to organize the clothes for a film.
Susan Nininger- Costume Designer
Susan Nininger was raised in the Northeast ‐ Connecticut, Boston, and New York. She began her studies as a Fine Art Student at Rhode Island School of Design. By the time she received her Masters Degree in Seattle in 1976, her work was incorporating a variety of materials ‐sculpted ceramic pieces, found objects and fabrics‐and she, and others, were wearing her ‘Costume Sculpture’. The body of sculptural work that Susan produced during the late 70′s in Seattle displayed a unique and imaginative use of mixed materials, as well as a strong sense of storytelling. Some of the pieces she produced during this time were not wearable, however, they were always about Costume ‐ evoking her deep rooted interest in not only the physicality of garments chosen as costume, but also in the Storytelling Ideas that go into the development of character through Costume Design. She received Scholarship Awards and Grants during this time from the National Endowment for the Arts and other prestigious organizations. Her work was exhibited in both galleries and museums, nationally.
Susan made the transition from working as a Studio Artist to designing Costumes for Stage and Moving Pictures in the late 70′s. Collaborations with Performance Artists and Choreographers in Seattle, lead to being invited to design costumes for several Stage Productions. Finding that designing costumes fit perfectly with her passion for storytelling, she made the choice to pursue a career as a Costume Designer, and moved to Los Angeles in 1981. Susan’s range of work as a Costume Designer, to date, includes Costume Design for Feature Films, Television, Theatre, and Music Videos. She is perhaps most well known for her Costume Design for The Bodyguard with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. She has designed for, and collaborated with, award winning Commercial Directors, and continues to maintain a high profile as an imaginative and prolific Costume Designer. With a continued interest in Education within the field of Costume Design, Susan is a member of the faculty at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles, where she teaches in the Film & TV Costume Design Program. She is a member of the Costume Designers Guild, and served on the CDG Board of Directors from 2005‐2010.
Susan is based in Los Angeles, where she lives with her son.
If you’re looking for a costume designer for your film, please contact Maril Delly at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Maril’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynda Lopez- Producer
Lynda Lopez started her career in film as a Production Designer working on student films with friends from art school where she was a Graphic Design major. She then went on to assist some very talented Production Designers on studio films while still working in various capacities on short films and indie films. Due to her fascination for all aspects of filmmaking, she has become more involved with the Production side of things working as a Director’s Assistant and Producer.
Lynda is currently working on a charity project for All Hands Volunteers, a non-profit organization that provides hands-on assistance to survivors of natural disasters around the world. For more information about Lynda’s project to help this organization please visit Film Method’s Facebook page.
For more information on All Hands Volunteers visit their website at http://hands.org/
Jenna Edwards- Producer, Film Method Co-Host
For more information about Jenna Edwards please visit the About page.