Theaterkunst Talk

Kicki Ilander

The Swedish costume designer Kristina (Kicki) Ilander has been working in the film business since the 1980s, and is known for her work on films such as “The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”, “Britt-Marie Was Here”, “Borg vs. McEnroe” and, most recently, “The King’s Land”, which is opening in German cinemas on 6 June 2024. Kicki Ilander won the European Film Award for “Best Costume Designer” in 2023 and is a three-time winner of the Swedish Guldbagge Award. We sat down and talked with the Stockholm native…

Copyright: European Film Award; Plaion Pictures / Henrik Ohsten – Zentropa


Kicki Ilander

How did you get started with your work as a costume designer for the movie „The Promised Land“?

After reading the script and talking to the director you try to find out where to rent and fabric costumes, how to spend your budget and so on. It turned out to be       quite difficult. There was covid, war in Ucraine, inflation, flight strike and a lot of other films already renting costumes from our period. We where shooting in 3 different countries and ended up renting costumes from 6 different countries so the logistic was a bit demanding.

You won the European Film Award for „Best Costume Design“ with „The Promised Land“. What makes the costumes of this movie outstanding?

Haha…that is of course difficult for me to answer, I was both really surprised and super proud when they told me.

What do you like the most about a costume house? Are there any differences between costume houses in Sweden and costume houses in Germany?

Every costume house kind of specialize in different periods so if you are doing 1700 s you look for houses that have a lot from this period.

In Sweden we have 2 costume houses in Stockholm (one in Göteborg also ) Swedish Television and Independent Kostym. They are both good but if you are doing a film like “The Bastard” with a lot of actors and extras you have to rent somewhere in Europe also.

Usually you do not rent from a lot of different costume houses so you try to find one or two that can provide most of your needs, both regarding time and money.

I do not think that there is a big difference between Swedish and German costume houses . Since I live and work in Sweden most of the time I of course know our costume houses really well and that saves me a lot of time.

Which advice would you provide for costume designers who are at the beginning of their career?

I think everyone working with film can feel that we have some problems finding money for healthy budgets these days so you really have to love your work.

I have done this for a very long time but I still love it and can’t think of a better occupation.

My advice for ” beginners” might be : Do your math, try to get a reasonable budget because this is what will give you freedom to make your own decisions.

What kind of costume do you like the most: historical or contemporary?

I really love doing period costumes, I think it gives you more ” artistic freedom”.

Tack så mycket!

Tack själv Manja : )