Television

Secrets behind Trickster's fashion choices that make the characters pop

Award-winning costume designer discusses her vision and inspiration behind some of Trickster's wardrobe choices and designs.

Award-winning costume designer discusses the show’s look and style

(Gail Maurice as Georgina in the CBC series Trickster.)

Wardrobe is an important part of a series/film that lets the audiences know who the characters are from the moment they appear on screen. But a lot of design and custom work is done in order to give each its own style that uniquely fits into the story.

Creating the look and style for the characters of CBC's thriller series Trickster is Adriana Fulop, Slovakia born, Toronto based costume and fashion designer and co-founder (along with Ryan Webber) of an independent clothing line called Plastik Wrap.

She's designed costumes for Tanya Tagaq and Santee Smith, for Joey Stylez and Jayli Wolf's music videos, four seasons of Derek Miller's APTN series Guilt Free Zone, films such as Angelique's Isle, Fire Song and The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw for which she won an award for Costume Design in Indie Feature at the 2020 CAFTCAD Awards.

Fulop shares her vision and inspiration behind some of Trickster's wardrobe choices and designs.

Defining the look and style

Her process for Trickster began with the breakdown of the script — reading it over and over to establish how many main and supporting characters there were, what season the story was set in, what the characters' social background and their special style characteristics were — followed by conversations with the director and the production designer to discuss how wardrobe can work in unison with the set and the overall colour palette and feel of the series.

"Our production designer, John Dondertman [Kim's Convenience, Being Erica], sent me the [Trickster] art department look-book and all the pictures from the sets that we had. And from then on we would go back and forth making sure that we are all on the same page when it comes to colours, patterns, art and all over feel."

I wanted to make sure that clothing either matched certain sets or it stood out.- Adriana Fulop

Some looks were coordinated between characters based on the scenes they're in and a lot of the pieces, some of which were bought, says Fulop, were altered to fit the look/style of the series.

"Sarah's denim jacket was custom dyed and all the patches were custom designed and commissioned by Indigenous artists. Jared's work uniform was designed to match the interior of the Tasty Bucket. Maggie's Rocker shirts were purchased from the actual bands and altered to fit her style. Crashpad's 'I was told there would be frybread' t-shirt was specifically designed for the party scenes and commissioned by Indigenous clothing line The NTVS.

(Left to right: Anna Lambe as Sarah, Crystle Lightning and Joel Oulette as Maggie and Jared and Nathan Alexis as Crashpad.)

Inspiration behind the characters' wardrobe

You've probably heard many actors say that putting on their character's garb allows them to really get into the zone of fully embodying and becoming that character. And Fulop says that every Trickster look and reasoning behind each was discussed with the actors involved.

"The characters wouldn't be alive without the actors, so it was very important to me that they identify with the costumes and also feel comfortable in them."

But what was the inspiration behind some of those characters that are enveloped by the very talented cast?

Jared

(Joel Oulette as Jared in CBC's Trickster.)

"He is inspired by skater boys, young guys with a simple comfy style. He doesn't have much money to buy clothes so he wears the same things over and over."

Wade

(Kalani Queypo as Wade in CBC's Trickster.)

"This is a very complex character and it was really fun to design him. I wanted him to have a bit of a biker style, but with a modern updated take on it. He has his very distinct style that is a combination of his ancient talismans (accessories) and a bit of a brooding LA rocker at the same time. He is not afraid to shine and stand out of the crowd, but he is also very dark and sinister."

Sarah

(Anna Lambe as Sarah in CBC's Trickster.)

"She is a bit of a punk pixie girl with a very unique ever changing style, I guess the same as her always changing surroundings/home. She was inspired a bit by rave culture, a bit by goth culture and a bit by anarchist/punk culture. And her look had to have a little bit of a DIY feel."

Maggie

(Crystle Lightning as Maggie in CBC's Trickster.)

"She is a drug and alcohol addict but I did not want to portray her in the typical 'trashy addict' way. I wanted her to have her own style. She is a sexy rocker chick with a bit of a vintage flair who likes to party. 

Sophia

(Georgina Lightning as Sophia in CBC's Trickster.)

"Even though Sofia lives in the bush, she has not let herself go. She is an eccentric lady who likes to combine style with function. For example, she likes to wear skirts but layers them over pants, she always carries a medicine pouch. She has a layered look that was actually inspired by some of the director's friends." 

Completing the look

Key part of any outfit is a good accessory which simply pulls the look together while adding an extra dimension to the character. Fulop wanted the accessories in Trickster to appear like the characters have had them forever or that they've been passed down by generations.

"Wade's moon and antler necklaces (that were actually created by me), were aged to look old and worn."

Some accessories were also commissioned from different Indigenous artists. "All of Maggie and Sarah's earrings are beaded by a Métis artist, Natalie Sweeney Wades. The leather key chain and Sofia's medicine pouch were created by Chrys Tabobandung from Wasauksing First Nation.

(Kalani Queypo as Wade, Cryste Lightining as Maggie and Georgina Lightning as Sophia in CBC's Trickster.)
It was very important to me that we incorporated traditional Indigenous styles into the looks of the characters.- Adriana Fulop

Creating the past through wardrobe

The flashback scenes to 400 BC were especially hard because there is very little documentation on what exactly it should have looked like, reflects Fulop. And in order to get the most authentic look for the era, environment and the community, she consulted different Indigenous knowledge keepers, including Trickster's props designer, Kelly Mcquabbie, and CBC journalist, Carla Robinson — who is also, author of Son of a Trickster, Eden Robinson's sister. 

"In the end, I think we did a pretty good job at creating an authentic representation: woven tunics, hats, headbands from cedar strips."

(Gail Maurice as Georgina in CBC's Trickster.)

"We were also lucky enough to be able to work with a local weaver, Tom Cordelia, who was flown in from Kitimat and taught my whole department and even some producers how to weave."

Watch Trickster on CBC Gem now and for behind-the-scenes content, show updates, interviews with the cast and more, follow the official Trickster social media accounts @tricksterCBC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or read more articles at cbc.ca/trickster.

About the Author

Vanja Mutabdzija Jaksic is a producer, journalist and a perpetual optimist who loves a good show/film, breathes music, writes poetry, and dabbles in tech and innovative ways of storytelling (including through XR/VR/AR/MR). You can find her stories at cbc.ca/television and cbc.ca/comedy or follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @neptunes_blues.

now