Creating the detailed, intricate looks for three massive Egyptian gods, a handful of “avatars” of said gods along with two all-new MCU superheroes is no simple job. Meghan Kasperlik, the costume designer on Marvel’s newest limited series “Moon Knight,” was tasked for creating the looks for these new additions to Marvel’s vast universe. To her, the art is in the details.
“I never want a costume in the story, unless it’s high fashion and really has to be in your face, to be in your face,” Kasperlik told Variety. “So everyone, across the board, has little touches on their costumes.”
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Meghan Kasperlik/Marvel Studios
“Moon Knight” stars Oscar Isaac in the titular role of Moon Knight, a new superhero to the MCU that wields the power of Khonshu, the Egyptian god of the moon. The series tracks the god-avatar duo as they attempt to stop Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) from resurrecting the deadly Egyptian goddess of retribution Ammit. With a show so steeped in Ancient Egyptian lore, Kasperlik had to do “a tremendous amount of research,” including visiting the Met Museum in New York.
She also talked extensively to the show’s Egyptian crew members, including director Mohamed Diab and co-star May Calamawy.
According to Kasperlik, Diab always wanted “lots and lots” of Egyptian symbols on the costumes, but the costume designer was wary of going overboard with this.
“May and I spoke at length and she was like, ‘It’s not like you live in America and you wear the American flag every day.’ So it was about having those subtleties but still representing Egyptian culture today and also Ancient Egyptians symbols from the past. It was about how we could bring that symbolism into the costume subtly versus in your face,” Kasperlik explained.
The details are different for each character’s costume, but they are most assuredly there.
“With Layla, I did it mostly in her jewelry,” Kasperlik said. “She has a little snake, which is the serpent that is on her earring. She had some hieroglyphs that were very, very subtle. On Harrow’s bracelet, Ammit’s death prayer was on there. There’s this big long book of death in the Met Museum that has different etchings and images and artwork on it, so I basically mimicked that onto the bracelet.”
Fans also may not have noticed that Layla’s reveal in the show’s finale as Scarlet Scarab was actually teased throughout the show with little details in her costume.
“When she’s in the asylum, there is a little bandaid on her pinky. And there’s a scarlet scarab on it,” Kasperlik pointed out. “And her pants are actually the same print of what we used for when she becomes Scarlet Scarab.”
The costume for the titular character, though, proved to be highly difficult. “Moon Knight” was shot in Budapest, so Kasperlik could barely even work with the full costume in her own hands due to COVID restrictions. Thus, the Moon Knight suit, which consisted of 803 different pieces, was built by FBFX in London, a company specializing in supplying special effects costumes to the entertainment industry.
Kasperlik would receive a package in the mail once or twice a week full of pieces of the costume, which she would then arrange accordingly and add markings to them. The suit for Mr. Knight, Isaac’s kind and courteous alter-ego, was more loyal to the comics, yet it still had its challenges.
“Mr. Knight is a three-piece suit, which was terrifying to me,” Kasperlik explained. “A really important thing was that we didn’t use a flat white fabric like you’d expect. It is a white-on-white textured fabric that then has a silver lame in it. So when the light hits it, it bounces off. I knew we’d be filming a lot at night, so it was about creating this texture in the fabric to make sure that it was not completely getting blown out and it just looked like a white marshmallow running across the screen”
Yet, in the end, Kasperlik is proud of the work she has done on the new character.
“I really felt like this was a great representation of the new transition to the way the MCU will be,” she said.
Gabor Kotschy/Marvel Studios
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