“I don’t think it’s a fashionable film at all!” Blade Runner 2049 costume designer Renée April told Vogue of her part in realising the dystopian universe. “I made costumes for the dark, wet, polluted, miserable world that Denis [Villeneuve] created. I had to hold myself back and remove anything too avant-garde or outré because it didn’t help the story. There were no superhero suits because the world needed to be realistic, and the characters needed to be relatable.”
As well as progressing from Ridley Scott’s original neo-noir aesthetic, April looked “literally everywhere” for inspiration. “I started off researching the Sixties and Seventies, but it didn’t feel right, so I dipped in and out of decades, and Eastern and Western cultures.” Did the contemporary catwalk play a part, particularly Raf Simons, whose plastic-flecked Calvin Klein collections have drawn many comparisons to the female characters in Blade Runner, both past and present? “No! Not at all,” she laughed. “I never looked at Calvin Klein. If people see Raf in the costumes then it’s purely coincidence.” Rick Owens – “because his clothes are very dark” – is the only designer she identifies as having parallels to her work.
With a team of 50 on set in Budapest to help her make and then destroy hundreds of coats for apocalyptic authenticity, did April have any standout on-screen moments? Here she discusses the looks that have got Vogue talking…