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Loki Costume Designer Christine Wada Breaks Down The Secrets Of The Show's Wardrobe - Exclusive Interview

Marvel properties tend to excel at costume work, and the Disney+ MCU shows have been especially solid at providing unique outfits for the characters. "Loki" presented extra challenges, since much of the show involved multiple versions of the same people. Christine Wada was the woman who took up that challenge, and she certainly delivered.

Looper spoke with Wada about her time on "Loki." She broke down how much costume work went into the battle of the Lokis, told us more about Sylvie's nursing outfit, and revealed how that Classic Loki costume looks so dirty. We also learned the meaning behind Sylvie's broken horn.

Sophia's nursing costome

Sophia Di Martino, who plays Sylvie, gave you a shoutout a few weeks back about the costume you built specifically for her, so she could pump between takes. Tell me about building that costume.

Sure. Well, I fit Sophia for the first time, just really shortly after her becoming a mother. Obviously, it's taking on a lot, getting this role, a big deal, having to be in America. It's one of those things that's really built into just good costume design — how do you facilitate somebody to function at their best level in your costume so that it doesn't hinder a performance and it just elevates their performance?

So when I came back, it was just one of the first things I thought about, was how to make it easier for her and started getting at it, started designing it and built it underneath the armor, so she could access quickly not have yet another stress in her life.

Was this the first time doing something like this for you?

I mean, it's my first time with the breastfeeding thing, but definitely not comfort. I think it's very much looped into my job. Working as a team, you're always wanting everybody to do their work as successfully as possible. And that's not just the actors, that's everybody involved. You want everybody to be able to bring the most that they can to the table in terms of what they do.

So, I mean, I'm always thinking about things like, "Is this costume going to be too hot for them? Are their feet going to be comfortable? Can they actually kick in this?" I think the more comfortable somebody is in their costume, the more the performance seems natural. And my job is to make the performance feel as believable as possible. It's part of my job.

Battle of the Lokis

The second to last episode saw the big battle of the Lokis. How many Loki costumes did you have to make for that battle of the Lokis?

Oh God, how many was it? I think it was eight. Yeah. Eight or 10 maybe. Little memory glitch there, but it might've been about 10 costumes for that. And they needed, obviously the stunt versions, and there were many parts and pieces scavenged through time and history and all of that. So yeah, that was a big episode.

That was big. I mean, it's a big battle and everybody is the same, but they're also distinct. How do you pull that off where it's uniform, but unique?

Research! [Laughs] I just started finding the characters, by digging through history and the world and seeing where a Loki might have come from, but I just needed to start with inspiration from either a period or a place. And then I kind of worked it into, what would Loki do with this? What would Loki do if he was put in prison?

And speaking of what Loki could do, Tom Hiddleston is obviously the Loki expert. I know he gave everybody little lectures on the history of Loki. How involved was he in the costume design, if at all?

I would say he's an incredible collaborator in that if you give Tom the tools, because he knows that character so well, he will absolutely work those tools into Loki, craft them into Loki and has incredible feedback in terms of what would motivate a Loki decision. I mean, he's extremely collaborative with the process.

Were there any comics in particular you drew inspiration from for the Loki designs?

There was this one image of ... I can't remember what era comic. It's a more modern comic era, where there are a band of Lokis, and there's the wolf Loki and there's sort of like the President Loki and a big ghoulish Loki. There were elements to that I drew from, just in terms of the way that they sort of mash up those costumes. And the obvious classic Loki to those early ones.

The TVA, Sylvie's broken horn, and Loki's simple outfit

So let's talk about the TVA for a second. The TVA is this weird mid-century thing that's a combination prison, DMV, and judicial branch. How do you figure that out? There's so much going on there.

Well, you just said it. I mean, you first start with finding inspiration for the structure, the order of that organization. And then from a visual standpoint, our language was clearly inspired by the mid-century element. But then it's taking those elements and doing the mind game of the TVA and re-imagining the recognizable. So taking things like a color and turning them inside out, or putting numbers in weird places that you haven't seen them before. It's just all those sort of Escher sort of time twister things that I think are a big part of this series that are just mind games. You expect to see things in a certain way. And I think in the series we learned that you can't always go by what you expect visually.

To go back to Sylvie's costume for a second, there's a specific part, which is her a headband with a broken horn. Is there anything that went into the broken horn, any thought process there?

Yeah, because the whole time was just trying to give her a history of feeling that she was this Mad Max, basically a warrior out there and just with the battle scars and the wounds of jumping through time and fighting this fight. You just wanted to feel that she has been fighting her way through these timelines. So yes.

So the main Loki, the main Tom Hiddleston Loki, has all things considered a very simple costume. Is there a reasoning behind that, or is that just what looked best on him?

Total reasoning behind it! Yeah, it's absolutely to strip him of his armor, so that we go on a journey with Tom, that's about his internal journey, not about armor. It's like stripping things away. Right?


And oddly, that sometimes becomes harder to design. It took a long time to figure out what to strip away. So we started big and peeled stuff away.

Classic Loki and favorite designs

So I've got to ask now about Classic Loki, everybody's favorite costume. How do you put that together, and how do you make it look so dirty?

[Laughs] An amazing textile department. Some of the fabric actually was vintage just because I really wanted to have that 1950s comic series vibe. So the fabric is vintage fabric, but then we went in and did some textile art to it, to not have it look sad and pathetic, but to have it look just like he had been sitting in there forever, which I hope came across.

It did! What was your favorite costume to design?

Everybody asked me that, and it's such a hard one for me, because I think every single one of them was so fun. But I would say that the bandits were, as a group, the most fun for me to design. Just the whole process of that was incredibly fun and filled with humor and a fun exercise. A fun exercise, but all of it was pretty great. I mean, I don't think I can narrow it down.

"Loki" is streaming on Disney+.