The Lighthouse, opening nationwide this weekend, arrives tailor-made for last-minute Halloween costume inspiration.
Expect lazy cinephiles across America to throw a raincoat over a chunky knit, grab an axe, and call themselves Ephraim Winslow. But if you're dressing as a character from a Robert Eggers movie, you better fucking aspire to some level of period authenticity. To that end, we asked his trusted costume designer Linda Muir how you can elevate your Halloween wickie-wear.
The Uniform Look
"Both Robert and Willem's characters have a few key pieces for their uniforms: The United States Lighthouse Establishment three-piece wool suit and overcoat and USLHE navy cap with insignia. For the caps, I sourced them from a company called Kendrick A. Claflin and Son and then re-covered them with the same wool I used to make the three-piece suits. The lighthouse cresting that you see on the front so prominently, I hand-stitched over the contemporary cresting.
"For Halloween, it's unlikely that people want to go to the lengths of building an original three-piece suit. They could certainly go to Salvation Army or thrift shops. Consignment places. Or they could go online and find a three-piece suit for cheap. Folks could do black instead of navy for a 'black and white' effect. As for hats, they could probably contact Claflin and Son. I'm sure they would be delighted to get the business. I suppose if one was wearing uniform dress they could carry a chicken with them. It would be like a seagull."
The Oilskin Look
“The oilskins—sou’westers, bibbed overalls and coats—there's nothing you could buy that would look like those. I used two oilskin fabrics and had them bonded together to make the right weight of fabric. Then, after we cut and sewed the garments, we broke them down, aged them, and then we put wax put on them by hand, which took days. About 16 tins of Filson wax went into the hat, the overalls, and the coat. You have to hand-rub it on, so that the heat of your hand sets it into the cotton fiber. Then hang it in the window so that the heat of the sun sets it. At the first fitting with Robert [Pattinson], before his oilskins were broken down, he was looking in the mirror and saying, ‘This is so chic. I'd wear this on the street. Very Yamamoto!' ”
The Underwear Look
"In the film, Robert [Pattinson] wears a cream long sleeve, Henley-styled cotton underwear top and linen long john-styled bottoms. He also has a sleeveless, short-legged, button-front onesie. Willem's character wears a button-front union suit with a rear buttoned flap in cream cotton. We went to great lengths to devise a three-part stitch that replicates the way that stitching in the period would have been done. I firmly believe that people notice things subconsciously.
"For a really great Willem-inspired costume, someone could get a one-piece union suit, cover themselves in fake mud and then just walk around in that."
The Cable Knit Look
“The sweaters were hand-knit using yarn sourced in the Maritime provinces here in Canada. Actual sweaters from that period truly exemplify utility knitting at its best. You might be able to get one online from Ireland through Aran Sweater Market. But it wouldn't be as detailed.
"I'm not sure this is true of the US or coastal Canada, but in Ireland, women would knit these sweaters for their sons or husbands, and they would have very specific stitches that they would use. If a body was found at sea and wasn't identifiable, at least they could identify the clothing he was wearing. They could return his body to the right place even if they didn't know who it was."