Kate Briscoe and Noriko Watanabe, Memoirs Of A Geisha

There was a lot riding on Kate Briscoe during the shoot of MemoirsOf A Geisha, Rob Marshall's epic adaptation of Arthur Golden's bestseller.

The make-up department head was responsible for executing thevision of make-up designer Noriko Watanabe and preserving the integrity of thefilm's key image - the intricately drawn white visage of the geisha.

'It was a dream for a make-up artist to work on this, butalso very stressful because there was no room for error,' Briscoe says.'I'd done nothing like this [before].'

In August 2004, shortly before the shoot, Watanabe taught Briscoethe application process Briscoe would later pass on to her army of make-upartists.

'It's so different for a Westerner - I've never used angorahair brushes or put hot wax on a face before painting on a water-based whitemake-up, all of which you have to do really quickly. It's nerve-wrackingbecause the application dries so fast and it's hard to replicate with Westernmake-up.'

Using authentic materials from Japan, Briscoe and her team tookcare to inflect the white faces with a peachy-pink colour so the white wouldnot bounce off the film.

The styling for maiko, or apprentice, demanded a differentapplication. 'The face is still white but you leave an inch around thehairline, there's more pink in the colouring and the lips are different,'she explains.

'Showing the skin around the hairline is designed to enticebecause these women don't have their patrons yet, and they become geisha afterundergoing the coming-of-age mizuage ceremony. The experience has definitelymade me a better make-up artist.'


Jenny Beavan, Casanova

When it comes to the awards season, Jenny Beavan knows the score.

The veteran UK costumer shared the Academy Award with John Brightfor A Room With A View and has landed a further seven nominations, most of them- with Bright - for further Merchant Ivory productions.

Her latest adventure, Lasse Hallstrom's Casanova, starring HeathLedger as the 18th century Italian lothario, took her to Venice for five months- an 'ordeal' she thoroughly enjoyed.

She steeped herself in the paintings of 18th century Venetianmasters Canaletto, Tiepolo and Guardi, all of whom explored the domestic worldand so provided a peerless guide for Beavan's designs.

'They're full of life and interest,' she says of thepaintings that inspired her. 'They give a real feeling of day-to-daygoings-on, and the relationship between rich and poor.'

Beavan -who won a BAFTA in 2001 for Gosford Park - says the film waspeerless, in terms of locations and extras. 'There were about 2,000costumes. We had a crowd scene of 650 and then loads of principal costumes. Andthere were hundreds of bloody gondoliers.'

Beavan is candid about the dividing line between anOscar-nominated costume design and one that is not. 'When a film hits thejackpot, we're generally carried along for the ride.'

Particularly, she adds, when the studio decides to back theawards-season campaign. 'I've seen a few beautifully done films thatdidn't get noticed because the distributor couldn't spend the money to back it.The Academy tries to be fair but in the end there are always other factors atplay.'

Jacqueline Durran, Pride & Prejudice

For costume designer Jacqueline Durran, Pride & Prejudice was a significantchange in direction. She came of age on Mike Leigh films, working most recentlyon Vera Drake.

Jane Austen was a giant step backwards in time, and up in scale,and even at the job interview, Durran was not sure it was for her. 'Butwhen I met [director] Joe [Wright],' recalls the 39-year-old philosophygraduate who came late to the craft, 'I was totally inspired. He wanted tobring a gritty realism to it, if that's possible.'

Ideally, Durran likes to 'gather together as much as I canfor each character, work up a colour palette, and then meet the actor. Ibelieve in working closely with the actor so we're all in tune'.

The seductively realistic costume work on Pride & Prejudice isthe result of a 10-week prep and an 11-week shoot, during which someone wasemployed full time to 'break down' the costumes - 'dragging themthrough the muck, dipping them in dye, shading them, muddying the hems,'says Durran. 'We thought of the Bennets as a rural family, and that wasthe way forward. Joe didn't want any pretty chintzy prints, which is a bit of anightmare, because that's what you think of for that period. This is ascruffier version of the Bennets than we've previously seen!'

Challenges included the pivotal Northfield Ball scenes - 'somany white dresses' - and kitting out 280 soldiers when there were notthat many military costumes in existence. 'We worked fast,' saysDurran.

'When you start off, you think, 'Oh my God'. Then before you knowit, you're thinking, 'I could tackle another'.'


Colleen Atwood, Memoirs Of A Geisha

Gabriella Pescucci and Carlo Poggioli, The BrothersGrimm

Janty Yates, Kingdom Of Heaven

John Bright, The White Countess

Terry Ryan, King Kong

Sandy Powell, Mrs Henderson Presents

Anna Shepard, Oliver Twist

Lindy Hemming, Batman Begins

Isis Musenden, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, TheWitch And The Wardrobe

Trisha Biggar and Allan McCosky, Star Wars:Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith

Daniel Orlandi, Cinderella Man

Dien van Straalen, The Libertine

Jacqueline West, The New World

Jose I Fernandez, Fantastic Four

Arianne Phillips, Walk The Line

Louise Frogley, Good Night, And Good Luck

William Ivey Long, The Producers

Joanna Johnston, Munich

Kasia Walicka-Maimone, Capote