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netribution > features > interview with ralph hole > page one
Arriving at the set of Large in Birmingham I was introduced to Ralph Holes, the costume designer. He stood before myself and the rest of the crew with a large pink prosthetic penis protruding from his pants. A small poodle appeared to be performing felatio. What better introduction can I give, other than to say he's a very interesting chap who's worked his way up through the BBC to become costume designer for a good set of features, including Martin Clune's Staggered, and the forthcoming Dead Babies. So sit back and enjoy...

| by nic wistreich |
| photos from the film|
| in london |

How did you get into costume design?
I went to St Martins to do fashion and hated it, so I left after a year before completing my degree in theatre design at Wimbledon. On graduating I was offered a job as an assistant in the costume department at the BBC in Birmingham. So I took it, and when I’d been there for a couple of months I heard that they were recruiting for assistants in London. I asked about applying and they said there’s no point in getting my hopes up, but that I should just go for an interview for the experience alone. I got it and found myself as an assistant in London which I did for about two and a half years, and then I found work as a costume designer proper. I then worked on a lot of kids’ dramas, teleplays, light entertainment stuff for about another 2 years.

Have you worked on any other features besides Large?
I did Dead Babies and a film called De Neuve Espast, and then Staggered with Martin Clunes.Do you do drawings before meeting the actor?
Well, I don’t generally do drawings until I know who’s cast. So, if it’s a modern piece for instance, I’ll meet with the director with tear-sheets - taken from magazines. I’ll look at colours, and do colour swatches and things. But you can’t do a character, I don’t think, until you know who’s going to be playing them. After that I’ll do drawings and talk them through them over the phone. Obviously I have fun. You should just have fun, I think, even if you’re playing a serial killer. Go through all the possibilities and what you throw out and get wrong is just as important as what you get right. Its about the journey to finding out what they’re like: how they dress, how they walk, if their shoes are too tight, if they slump in the shoes. It's a bit of a thrill really. The best aspect of the job is working with people, and when somebody says they’ve not noticed the clothes, that’s the biggest compliment for me. If the clothes jump out too much, generally then you haven’t done your job - if people are noticing. And we have a laugh. And of course, the long hours are just wonderful. And working with Liverpudlian sex bitches is great, but I couldn’t get one on this so I got Dee Walsh (the Liverpudlian wardrobe supervisor).

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