Renfield’: How David Bowie Inspired Nicolas Cage’s Dracula Wardrobe

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Costume designers have not overlooked count Dracula’s brazen extravagance, but “Renfield’s” Lisa Lovaas sought to give Nicolas Cage’s portrayal of the Prince of Darkness a little of a “rockstar flare.”

Although Lovaas aspired for a “contemporary yet timeless” look for the renowned vampire, she drew influence from David Bowie and historic Dracula incarnations.

Lovaas wanted to pay respect to previous portrayals of the vampire as the film finishes and Renfield pursues his revenge on Dracula. The last time audiences saw the horror legend, he was dressed to the nines in an ultra-luxurious deep burgundy velvet suit.

Lovaas said that there was “some David Bowie influence” in this final suit. “I adored the monotone design of that legendary red outfit of his from the late ’80s,” she told Variety. I think Nic looked great in this strong and powerful style. It was just a big theatrical flourish at the conclusion.

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“The character has evolved through time, and there is a consistency to the style that has been formed,” Lovaas remarked. “It was crucial to me to keep that continuity and, hopefully, improve on it while respecting its past.”

While Nicholas Hoult plays the lead role, Cage’s Dracula inspired his character’s clothes. “Individual outfit choices were heavily influenced by what worked best for Nic in every scenario,” Lovaas explained.

“I had all kinds of stuff for Nic to try on—fur-lined capes and bejewelled capes—and Nic Cage was 100% game for all of it,” the costume designer continued. “The silk, brocade, velvet, shiny leather, all bring a kind of elegant richness that we wanted to portray for Dracula, a man of wealth, taste and elegance.”

Lovaas tinkered with Renfield’s clothes, precisely how to enhance the subservient servant’s expectation—and hope—for a life of freedom. Renfield examines his identity as a 21st-century independent man as he gradually frees himself from the restraints. Renfield abandoned his customary black-and-white outfit in favour of colourful yellows, oranges, reds, and pinks.

“There’s a naivete and innocence there that link into his character and the feeling of hope he has for the future,” Lovaas added. “And nothing brings it all together like patchwork pastels.”

Lovaas opted to retrace both characters’ beginnings as the film comes to a climax, with Dracula wearing another red costume and Renfield wearing his black-and-white suit.

“Renfield’s life narrative comes full circle, and I wanted the outfit to represent that,” Lovaas explained. “It felt like adding aspects of his previous life in at the end emphasised the notion that he’s starting again.”

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