Costumier gives Hollywood stars a dressing down

Costumier gives Hollywood stars a dressing down

24th July 2014


A COSTUMIER is giving some of Hollywood’s biggest stars a dressing down after joining the crew of a new British comedy film.

Helen Whiles, of Normanby, Middlesbrough, will be getting up close and personal with big screen legend Burt Reynolds, Coyote Ugly star Adam Garcia and Baywatch beauty Carmen Electra after landing a job as a costume trainee on the set of independent Brit comedy Party Pieces.

Helen, who graduated from Cleveland College of Art & Design, after studying a three year BA Hons Entertainment Design (Production Design for Stage & Screen) degree at the college’s Hartlepool campus, will be responsible for dressing the actors on set and ensuring the continuity of costumes before filming.

“It was quite daunting at first, but I still don’t see this as a job – it’s just one big experience,” said Helen, 21.

“Everyone is really friendly and welcoming and the director and production team are fantastic.

“When I first started I thought I would feel nervous and uncomfortable around such famous actors but you get to know them on the first day and you just get used to it straight away. They’re just normal people going to work like you and I and they are also a good laugh which makes it a very comfortable environment to work in.”

Set in a large country house Party Pieces tells the story of a group of seven old university friends who come together for an extraordinary weekend.

The film, which is currently shooting in Surrey, also stars Martin Kemp (The Krays), Jane March (Colour of Night, Clash of the Titans), Sofya Skya (Assassins Run) and Sean Maguire (Eastenders).

“Before filming began I spent a lot of time running frantically around London with a list of clothes, accessories, fabrics and shoes that I needed to get for the shoot,” said Helen.

“The following week I started working in the costume truck, organising the actors clothing, making sure everything fitted correctly and ensuring that they looked exactly the same every time they went on set.

“I was then asked to go on set, where all the action is, as a stand by. This means that I had to make sure at the beginning of every shot that the costumes look how they did in the previous take and I had to help the actors get dressed and keep them tidy.”

Working 14 hour shifts around the clock filming Helen is set to finish working on the movie at the end of July when she hopes she will be able to use her experience to move on to other costume-based projects.

Helen’s own designs were recently on display at this year’s CCAD Hartlepool campus degree show.

Principal Martin Raby said: “The college aims not only to provide students with the best possible education but also the skills to make them instantly invaluable to the needs of employers.” 

Helen added: “My time at CCAD was amazing and all of the tutors and technicians were incredible. I’ve learnt almost everything I know about this field of work from them.”

For further information on opportunities at CCAD contact (01642) 288888 or log on to

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