One of the most iconic features of the Assassin's Creed universe is the Assassin's clothing. Peaked hoods, hidden blades, a distinct wing - like silhouette - there are many facets that make the Assassins striking and recognizable, no matter the century or culture.
We spoke with Sammy Sheldon Differ, the lead costume designer for the Assassin's Creed Movie about creating the look and feel for Aguilar and Maria, two new Assassins hailing from 15th Century Spain during the Inquisition.
How closely did you reference the designs done in the games? Was there one particular Assassin, era, or culture that appealed to you as reference material?
"When researching for a film I always use the script as my first and main source of reference. Then without question it is meeting with the director and discussing where he sees the whole look of the film going.
This will determine where the next step is in the research process. For this film, once that was established I read the Ubisoft style guide of iconography from the games, to see what could be relevant for our world.
In conjunction with this comes all the period and modern research. As this film is in a time period not referenced in the games, we looked at periods before and after in [Assassin's Creed] 1 and 2 to see how the treatment of the period looks were dealt with.
The main influences we used were the eagle wing shape across the body of the assassins, the shaping of the hems and the angles of detail.
For the Templars we used the straight lines and 90 degree corners seen in various game characters.
The closest reference for the Assassin's world is probably Altair, as this is the nearest time period. We chose not to make our assassins too light in colour as on film that would not work in the story telling.
Instead we used my reference material and influences of the 15th century Spanish multiculturalism in Seville and Granada. Our assassins are heavily influenced by Moorish art and fabrics coming from North Africa and the idea that they are nomadic and tribal."
Could you take us a through the process of designing something like this?
"[In addition to what is stated above], Once we have all our reference for each part of the film, it's like putting together a giant jigsaw, each element of research is considered and put together in a process of personification.
Usually I start drawing with all the reference on the walls around me, trying out elements and shapes until we have something that fits into our world, then we start making toiles to try out the ideas on a body.
Once we have shape that works then it is made in the real fabrics and accessories. This is a very lengthy process as all the costumes for the Assassin period world were hand made. The leather work, beading, embroidery, jewelry and metalwork was handmade by teams of artisans. Also there is a dyeing and breakdown process to give a realistic period depth to the fabric quality.